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Raluca Mitan 4 articles
Residence: DE Munich Area
Agile Coach | Trainer | Inventor | Remote Enthusiast | Forever Learner

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The Unified Project Management Dictionary


A program is defined as a group of related projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities managed in a coordinated manner to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.

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How to Unlock Your Inner Scrum Master.(Raluca)

When I think about the unlocking your inner SM my thoughts fly to the Hairy Shoe and the Conscious Competence model, as evolutionary models. For Scrum Masters I have a similar model, which I call the Agile Inside/Out Model and the purpose of this model is to help you understand your journey to unlock your inner beliefs/wishes/mindset and move from a good Scrum Master to a great one.

There are three stages of the Agile Inside-Out model and it shows how you, as a beginner, climb up the ladder to unlock your inner SM. If you start from scratch, without any experience in Agile or even technical, but you get somehow inspired, this is the magic that happens in your evolutionary journey:

1.    Inside (Do Agile) - Out (Do Agile)

2. Inside (Be Agile) - Out (Do Agile)

3.    Inside (Be Agile) - Out (Be Agile)

  1. The DO/DO stage is when you start as a Scrum Master, learning and working in the same time, while observing the high amount of complexity and knowledge you need to bring value. You spend a lot of time on improving your basics, to be stable on the standard information. You read Agile Retrospectives from Esther Derby or Agile Estimation and Planning from Michael Cohen or the Agile Product Management with Scrum by Roman Pichler. At this moment your Scrum Guide is lively colored, underlined and has many signs showing the intense study on it. The goal is to understand the WHY behind every meeting and clearly articulate it to the teams.

Most of the people learn thanks to their colleagues. There will always be more experienced colleagues that sometimes take over your duty (when it comes to facilitation, conflict management or moderating decision making) and you thank them deep in your heart for their add-ins, right on time. You need these buddies at the beginning, even if they are not SM/AC, but other developers, architects, testers or business people. They help you

This stage takes normally about an year, more or less, and can be very frustrating for many SMs that do not have the patience to take it step by step. This is an agile approach, but we do not realize at the beginning, we go one step after another, we ask for help, we listen to understand, we teach other people while learning ourselves, we follow our goals. Many people give up or stay in this stage for longer time until they get to the next stage. Many go through the Impostor Syndrome, you think you should not be there with those people, you think you are no good, they are Agile and you are the least one. It is however a great opportunity to realize your gaps and helps you know where you should start learning.

I call this stage the Roller-Coaster Stage because your sprints look like a roller coaster - no time to breath, to break, going from one sprint to another, continually serving the team, constantly preparing the ceremonies, taking the time to do it.

2. One day you realize something changes. You are more confident on your power, your skills are improving and you don't need so much time to prepare things and suddenly you start EXPERIMENTING. We move to the BE/DO stage usually when you start testing something else than the basics, you are curious to see not only team's reactions, but your reactions more importantly and to correct it. You hear a little voice in your head telling you did the right thing, or you made a mistake. It is the time when you shape your own mindset and your beliefs, you know better why and how things should be done, as well as the benefits or threats in case things are overlooked. You start understanding better your complex role of a SM and the misunderstandings around it, you shape your mindset and go towards being and living Agile. It is the moment when you start applying Agile in your everyday life and you realize it is older than time.

You move from basic learning to deeper learning, broader and full of 'Aha' moments. You read/listen about one topic and afterwards you experiment it with teams and see the results. Lots of questions will pop up and it is useful to share this with other Scrum Masters. It is the best moment to re-read some books, as you will understand them better and be able to inspire other people as they inspire you. I call this the Experimentation Stage.

At this moment, you start unlocking your inner Scrum Master and question/challenge the Doing of Agile towards Being Agile. However at this stage you mainly acknowledge everything inside, you know a secret and would like to share it with everybody. You understand how teams work and what drives them, you understand that the Leaders set up the limit in a company and are the ones who influence the adoption of Agility. You understand that you need to think a strategy when it comes to reinventing an organization while bringing in more agility. You understand that Agile is not the goal, but a mean to an organizational goal.

BUT….you are still afraid, you still report to a manager who does not understand the same, you do not know how can you bring this amazing way of working to everybody. This is why at this stage you transform to Agile on the inside, but outside the fears and challenges keep you from transforming on the outside.

3. And suddenly something magical happens. You finally understand one of the core values of Scrum: COURAGE.  My AHA Moment happen when I joined one presentation from Gitte Klitgaard on Courage. At that moment I realized what kept me from being Agile on both inside and outside and how important this is in the journey as a Scrum Master. So courage is the secret ingredient that takes us from BE/DO to BE/BE. I call this the Super Hero Stage.

At this stage, you start saying NO and clearly articulate the reasons behind. Sometimes, because your reasons are being challenged, you learn about the non-negotiables. You continue experimenting, but rather guiding your team through the dark and understanding the limits of experimentation, keeping it under control. You start inspiring other people, become a storyteller to share experience and results, you help people grow as human beings.

You visit conferences, meet with other Scrum masters, create alliances, X-change groups, inspire from their actions, be heard. You start innovating and have ideas on how to improve team works, bring in new formats and test new approaches to things that were never changed before. You bend rules and bring value.

At this stage, the outcomes of your learning/experimenting come to light and instead of inviting people, you start being invited by team members for coaching and support, as well as the managers/leaders approach you for discussions.

This is the moment when you unlock your inner Scrum Master, you breathe agility and inspire other people. And this is where the fun part begins...


Photo by Jon Moore on Unsplash

Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Raluca Mitan