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My first year as a Scrum Master

Part 1

AGILE MINDSET: “Mindset” – is this a buzz word or is this truly possible? 

Scrum master that is good adopts the responsibilities of the role/ great scrum master adopts the mindset and skills.

One of the big buzzwords in the Agile world, is adopting an “Agile mindset”. It doesn’t help to just DO agile, you need to BE Agile.

But what does that really mean? 

In my first few months as a Scrum master, I was pulling out all the stops. I thought it was my obligation to make the team do new things all the time, to experiment constantly. To immediately fix things and have tangible results. 

I was overly attached to my suggestions and ideas, and used to take it as a personal defeat and offence when the team did not do as I wanted them to do. I am not naturally creative. I studied law, and I still have untidy and skew hand-writing. I remember making my first Kanban board by taking what was on Trello. The team members just didn’t move the cards… I was crushed. All my “handy-work” wasted.

But as time went by, I realised that I needed to start letting things go. I needed to start being agile in my own way of thinking and dealing with the team. They had been at the organisation for a lot longer than I had, having more understanding of the processes that had worked (or not worked) for them. It was therefore necessary to scrap the idea of applying the “Scrum framework” strictly. There is no objective and right way of adopting Agile.

I had to go back to the drawing board (not literally – I had abandoned my ideas of creative Kanban boards). I had to spend time learning, observing, understanding, asking questions, developing trust. This was not a quick fix. This took time and energy into the non-tangible: individuals and interactions over processes and tools. 

I wanted to introduce new processes and tools to my team to feel like I had “accomplished something”. But I had gotten it all wrong. My real celebration was the relationships with the individuals and the interactions that I helped manifest through creating safe spaces. 

How does one know when an Agile mindset has been adopted? In my point of view, you don’t. But that was the answer in itself. There is no tick-box exercise to reach Agility. Instead, there is the understanding that there is ALWAYS room for improvement, always ways to work together better, and ALWAYS the need for healthy and genuine interactions with individuals within your team. How you do that under the Agile umbrella, is up to the team, and not the scrum master.