1st time Scrum Master struggles & the Scrum Shadow Initiative

1st time Scrum Master struggles & the Scrum Shadow Initiative

We all want to grow.

Over the past few years I have encountered numerous individuals who are really interested in becoming scrum masters. They have fallen in love with a role they didn’t know existed, nor knew that it had a name. They are in passionate pursuit, but finding it to be one knock back after another because they don’t have the experience/exposure of being a scrum master (or even a related role).

I personally found it very hard to secure my first scrum master role. I had no prior experience, but I did have ‘transferable skills’. Few hiring managers could map those to what the scrum master role requires, so I had a long wait before eventually getting hired as one.

Taking on a ‘shadow’ – my own experience

Back in 2014 I had the chance to have one aspiring first time scrum master ‘shadow’ me. She came in several times a week over the course of 3 months and it was a wonderful and invaluable experience for both of us. At the start, I didn’t know how it was going to work out and there was no real plan other than us both going in with an open mind, as well as understanding my shadows goals to help make the opportunity useful.

I was a lone scrum master at the time, so to have someone so passionate and enthusiastic to talk agile with was very welcome. I received unexpected observational feedback too which was insightful, and throughout it all I was inspiring someone just by doing what us SM’s do. Being a ‘fly on the wall’ allowed this individual to explore the SM role and understand more about what it could involve, day to day. It also allowed her to demonstrate her own understanding and to deepen it through the conversations we were having. The questions she would ask really pushed my own thinking as well as hers.

It felt like a short 3 months for me, and in the end I had made an unexpected new friend. During our time together, many a joint retrospective was planned, team issues and perspectives discussed, and deep conversations had about the challenges and rewards of the role. It helped me as it much as I understand it to have helped her.

‘Scrum Shadow’ – For first time scrum masters; our future scrum masters

I’ve remained a mentor and friend to this lady to this day, and having had the experience of shadowing, she was able to make the decision that being a scrum master is what she absolutely wanted to pursue as her next role as soon as circumstances allowed. Since then she’s been self studying, undertaken an immersive CSM with Tobias Mayer, and continues to try out what she’s learned in her non scrum master role at work. The time for her is now. It’s also that time for many others who are keen to break into their first scrum master role. This is why my good friend Kelvin Lawrance and I have set up ‘Scrum Shadow‘. There are no strings attached. It’s free.

Having recently attended the London scrum master clinic and presented with an opportunity to provide a coaching session to, you guessed it, someone who is eager to become a scrum master, I realised it was time we finished setting up this initiative to help first time scrum masters.

Scrum Shadow is an experiment. We have no idea if it will work, but we want to try and kick start it with your help if you’re open to helping, too. Here’s some more info: https://agile-coach.uk/scrum-shadow/

Can you help?

Can you help create shadowing opportunities at your organisation? Or find out if they could be offered? If you can, we’d love you to provide details in the form here: https://agile-coach.uk/scrum-shadow/ We’ll be working out a way to make the opportunities available to first time scrum masters.

For any first time scrum masters who might be reading this, we want to hear from you too, but first things first, we need to see if we can get any willing organisations on board. For updates on whether this initiative is a total flop, or not, please follow us https://www.linkedin.com/company/agilecoach/ We’ll be creating a form later this week where you can express your interest in shadowing, too.

I hope as a reader you will share/like this post so we have better chances of finding host organisations willing to take on ‘scrum shadows’ and helping to break that vicious cycle of

No experience : No chance.

We all want to grow. We sometimes need the opportunity to do so.

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