Even for the most experienced Scrum Master, overseeing a team can be challenging. The professionals who work together on any given project have their own unique backgrounds, working at their own pace with their own goals in mind. For Scrum Masters, this means finding a way to manage all the team dynamics, while ensuring that projects stay on track to completion.
If you’re a Scrum Master, you likely spend most of your time communicating with project stakeholders and your own team. Your goal is to do everything possible to minimize distractions and ensure your team has what it needs to do the best job. But each team member has strengths and weaknesses that can either push the project forward or delay its completion. Here are a few ways you can use those strengths while also keeping any weaknesses at bay.
Develop a Skills Composite
The first step in managing the strengths and weaknesses of your team is to identify each member’s strengths and weaknesses. Once you’ve done that, document them. If you can’t list their strengths and weaknesses outright, take time interview each team member and ask what they feel they should work on. You’ll likely find that strengths and weaknesses of your team will come out as you’re interviewing them.
Listen to Your Team Members
Your team members likely are more than willing to share the aspects of their job that they enjoy most. Listen carefully to these and make note of them. Tasks an employee enjoys are also tasks that are likely to align with their strengths.
You’ll enjoy a better quality of work that will come at a much quicker pace than assigned work they don’t like doing. As a bonus, you may find that a task one employee enjoys is one that another team member dreads, allowing you to shift duties for improved results.
Rearrange Tasks as Needed
After you’ve assessed each member’s strengths and weaknesses, take a look at the tasks that fall under each person’s responsibilities. Although good Scrum Masters avoid assigning tasks, it may be necessary to point out to team members that certain duties aren’t within their self-acknowledged strengths. When there is a task that no one on the team wants to do, pull everyone together to come up with a creative way to get the work done — while still keeping team morale high.
Offer Positive Feedback Often
Feedback is an important part of Scrum projects, but this begins within your own team. Make sure you’re acknowledging positive performance during the retrospective. For things that went wrong, you should work together as a team to determine what can be done in the future to ensure that it goes smoother next time. This process will increase the odds that with each retrospective, the team clearly recognizes its strengths and weaknesses and learns how to use their strengths in solving any challenges they face in the future.
Hire Based on Strengths
Once you’ve identified your team’s strengths, incorporate what you’ve learned into your hiring processes. If you don’t handle the hiring for projects, make sure you communicate what you’re looking for with the appropriate hiring manager.
Search specifically for additions who bring strengths that fill in the gaps within your current team. If you have a team that is strong in development, but weak in regards to support and operations, search specifically for candidates who not only have strengths in that area but enjoy those parts of the project process.
Scrum Masters play an important role in pulling teams together and ensuring they stay on task. However, each organization and its projects have its own unique dynamics. By monitoring their teams closely and honing in on those strengths and weaknesses, Scrum Masters can improve their projects and ensure they stay on the track to success.
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