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LGSS Digital Blog

Service design for local government

Josie Lewis-Warren
Scrum Master

Jack of all trades, master of scrum

Joining the LGSS Digital team as a scrum master took a lot of explanation… NO… I was not running off to join the local Northampton Saints Rugby team and YES it is an actual career choice (honest Dad).

It’s been a whirlwind first couple of months with so much to learn but I’m loving every second of it.

In this post, I’ll be taking you through what a scrum master does with some tips that I’ve picked up along the way…

So what do I actually do?

Good question… according to innolution.com a scrum master is defined as:

“The coach, facilitator, impediment remover, and servant leader of the Scrum team…”

I think this is where the jack of all trades bit comes in. My list of tasks is ever growing and developing as I find my feet in this role, but a snapshot includes…

  • Removing ‘blockers’ for the team
  • Keeping the time / scope / budget in mind at all times
  • Ensuring what gets built meets the project’s ultimate goal
  • Motivating, coaching and leading the team to be a high performing one that is continuously improving
  • Making sure the team embodies agile values
  • Risk management throughout the project’s build

At LGSS Digital, I’m involved all the way through the project, but once it moves to the delivery stage – where the product is built – this is where you can really add the most value …

“I am grateful for all the feeling out of my depth moments … and there have been a few.”

Josie Lewis-Warren

 

 

What have I learnt so far?

 

1. Get the basics right first before you try and conquer the world

I’m a bit of a perfectionist but thankfully in the agile culture – it is ok to fail. Fail fast and improve as a team so you don’t make the same mistake twice.

I certainly tested the boundaries of this during my first project. We were halfway through our first sprint and I was still sorting out the sprint backlog – basically being the blocker to my own team. Hangs head in shame.

2. Make sure you know what you’re building before you start

Sounds like an obvious one right? It is… but when you are looking at building something that relies on technology that has not been used within your team, it’s easy to get carried away. Being told anything is possible as long as…

  • It adds value
  • You’ve got the budget
  • And the time required to build it…

WE GOT EXCITED! Top Tip: don’t be working out the fundamental part of the whole project during your first sprint in delivery… thankfully it all worked out in the end – but it is definitely not worth the nail-biting few days of anxiety. Lesson learnt.

3. Simple Design – definitely not simple

My introduction to wireframe prototyping…I had the right tools for the job, I knew the process, at a click of a button I was a designer, easy… well that’s what I thought for maybe a split second. I must say for my first attempt I was quite pleased – however compare my version to our designer’s final mock-up and well lets just say it’s a definite art that I have not yet mastered.

I have learnt that when it comes to design that you have to take it step by step – look at the detail not just the whole thing. Concentrate on one area at a time and eventually it will evolve into something pretty darn cool.

How would I sum up my first few months?

Fun, exciting, terrifying, inspiring … I am grateful for all the feeling out of my depth moments (and there have been a few). I’ve had brain ache at the end of a long day, but still walk away with a smile on my face – because it means that I am learning and pushing myself to do better.

***DISCLAIMER*** I would like to note for the record that I do not currently believe I am a “Master of Scrum” as the title may lead you to believe … but give me a few more months and I might just earn my stripes 😉

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