Tips for Building a Scrum Master Community of Practice

Is your company implementing or planning to implement an agile transformation?

Do you want to create a truly agile culture inside your team?

If your answer is YES, we recommend you build a Scrum Master Community now.

You will receive a remarkable and healthy return on investment in the long run. We would like to share this with you in detail.

Why building a Scrum Master Community is important?

Whether we start with getting external Agile consulting services or hiring full-time Agile coaches, the resources and capacity of consultants or coaches will become limited when working with more teams during the process.

Therefore, we need a community to share our knowledge with others. Scrum Masters, coaches, product owners, software developers or other employees involved in the complete process of developing a software product need to get together. We can use the word “Community” to describe this group of people.

As the old saying goes: if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. This “Community” is essential to embrace Scrum and achieve a successful transformation.

What is the key to a successful Scrum Master Community?

Motivating every community member to take his role is the most important strategy.

As a matter of fact, most Agile coaches in the community are employees from different roles, e.g., project management, product management, IT, or software development.

So when we are building this community, make sure coaches and scrum masters are highly motivated and energized to accept new responsibilities for which they are well-suited.

6 steps to build the community

Requirement gathering

Understand the needs and expectations of potential members, and capture team feedback on the current agile projects.

❷ Momentum building

Design catchy slogans that address participants’ pain points based on surveys and feedback, in order to attract potential colleagues to join.

❸ Voluntary participation

Just like the early stage of a PLG (Product-led Growth) SaaS company, the willingness and feedback of early adopters and active members should be highly valued.

❹ Co-creation and commitment

Run a series of workshops to define a shared mission, vision, and core values as well as to agree on daily operations in the community. For instance, all members agree to bring an Agile mindset to teamwork and daily collaboration.

❺ Align backlog with goals

More specifically, we suggest that members should adopt agile methodologies in writing product backlog goals or planning quarterly objectives, so as to accelerate agile development.

❻ Continuous management and improvement

After you launch your community, some fluctuations in members’ emotions and work motivation might occur during different stages of transformation. We suggest that every team could refer to the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which is a four-step model for carrying out continuous changes and improvement.

Tips on organizing the first workshop in the community

The first workshop is very critical and even becomes a decisive factor for your community’s future.

Therefore, we suggest you set the following five objectives to run this workshop.

No.1: Complete a face-to-face conversation.

No.2: Understand each other’s characteristics and specialties.

No.3: Set mutual goals as a team.

No.4: Define functions and services of the “Core group” in the community.

No.5: Establish operating mechanisms of this “Core group”.

Tips on organizing the first workshop in the community

From our past experience, the most common motives for masters to join include the following:

  • Achieve personal skill development and grow with the team at the same time.
  • Leverage teamwork and collaboration to promote agile transformation as a whole company.
  • Create a habit of continuous learning.
  • Facilitate efficient and effective teamwork and collaboration.
  • Mutual encouragement and support between masters or members.

The above motives could be used to attract other colleagues to join your community.

What activities to organize for your community?

An engaged and active community can’t live without well-organized and high-quality activities.

There are three types of community activity:

  • Sharing: both successful experiences of transformation and lessons learned are encouraged to be openly shared among all members.
  • Team building: Plan some fun and effective team building events occasionally to let members know each other quickly.
  • Co-creation: build a shared knowledge base for independent learning and seeking help in the community effectively.

Certainly, activities should not be limited to the categories above. You can design more creative activities and events according to your own needs and the size of your community.

In conclusion, building an effective Scrum Master community is very critical to a successful agile transformation. It takes both good digital tools and systematic approaches. If you find this article helpful, please feel free to share with your team or people who might be interested.

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