Meeting, meetings, meetings, … and koffiekoeken!

Friday, September 13, 2019

A while ago I took on a new challenge so to say. I recently followed a scrum master training and completed the certification successfully (thank you very much!). As fate has it, a scrum master position opened up on our scrum team since the current scrum master decided to explore different horizons and become self employed. This seemed like a good shot to test my newly acquired skills and see if it would suit me! I admit, not many people have this kind of opportunities thrown at them, but I went for it, head on.


I had the major advantage of knowing the team for a while. They knew me and I sensed that they would be ok with me being the new scrum master. I also had the necessary technical knowledge since I was a developer in that team for a while. I thought I was prepared and ready for it…

But I quickly learned that nothing can prepare you for a change of this magnitude! All of a sudden everybody in my team was looking at me when they had all sorts of questions! Budget negotiations were suddenly my priority. I appeared to be the single point of contact for all the projects that my team was working on. To be honest I didn’t even know what most of the projects were about! I had so many meetings to attend (not to mention the flood of emails that occurred). That was almost all I did for the better half of my first sprint. As a developer I could sit back, relax and do my work. Nothing was that urgent and if I had a question, the scrum master could help me. Now I had to run around to find the person to turn to whenever someone was stuck, while doing my own work as a developer. Needless to say, the relaxing times were over.

And the planning! I had to plan weeks in advance. How is this possible? I don’t even know what I’ll eat tomorrow! There are regular projects to plan and you have the urgent 'oops-did-I-forget-to-mention-that' very urgent projects. Add to that the constraint of certain developers being able to do that certain thing only (read HR data for example) and factor in every one’s preferences, you’ve got quite a puzzle to solve! 

But there’s an upside to being a scrum master as well. I often still want to do some technical tasks, so I create an analysis task for a certain story for somebody else to pick up. That leaves me with some margin to do something new. A real bonus is that I get to add my own rules and consequences! By the time of writing, I only have 2; if you’re late for the stand-up or if you drop a table on the production environment; you have to bring koffiekoeken!

And to be honest, scrum definitions aren’t written in stone, so they can be bent. A perfect sprint doesn’t exist, we have to work with what we’ve got. The definition of ready can be broad, while the definition of done needs to be well understood in the team. The story points per sprint should be fixed when the sprint starts, but hey, the success or failure of certain stories aren’t always in our hands. There’s always the next sprint!