Scrum Master plays a special role in an Agile team. He or she makes sure that the team is progressing in the right direction while having minimum intrusion into their daily work. It is a very delicate and tricky job. Let’s discuss some facilitation strategies that can be used by a Scrum Master.
Here is a simple facilitation framework and we will call it GRAT.
GRAT framework is simple but effective with a focus on facilitation rather than management. It provides a set of maxims for the Scrum Master to mindfully focus on the job in hand and never go below or beyond
GRAT framework for Agile helps Scrum Masters become Pro Facilitators Click To Tweet
G = Goals
Firstly, a Scrum Master must help the Agile team set their Goals. Goals are determined by the Product Owner based on the priority and urgency. Scrum Master helps the team with the following:
- Realizing their capacity to deliver, taking into account various factors like Risks, Issues, Uncertainties etc.
- Understanding the goals or expectations set by Product Owners and Development Managers
- Setting themselves realistic goals to be achieved in a given time frame
- Communicate the goals to other stakeholders and making sure everyone is on the same page
R = Rules
Next, a Scrum Master makes sure that the ground rules are set, followed and amended as needed. Flexibility in Agile is achieved as a result of solid ground rules, not from the lack of them. Here is the responsibility of Scrum Master with rules:
- Setting ground rules for the team taking into consideration opinions and feedback from all members
- Making sure everyone in the team has an unambiguous understanding of the rules
- Taking responsibility to ensure that the rules are followed in their true sense
- Enforcing corrective actions when the team deviate from the rules
A = Assistance
The next facilitation step comes in the form of assistance to the team. Being the one who interacts with the team on a daily basis, the Scrum Master is the best person to assist the team in their journey towards their goals. Here are some forms of assistance that may be provided:
- Constantly look out for issues and blockers that hamper the team progress and help to resolve them
- In case of conflicts, take a neutral stand and resolve them in a constructive manner
- Act as an interface between the team and external dependencies like other teams, management etc.
- Assist the team to derive benefits from various ceremonies like Planning, Refinement, Review and Retrospetives
- Be available to the team as a coach and mentor whenever they need
T = Timing
The last aspect is to protect the team’s time and enable them to focus on their goals.
- Guard the time by making sure the external disturbances are kept to a minimum
- Make sure that the time is rightly spent on productive activities
- Watch out for the trend in time usage by the team and make adjustments in a timely manner
- Scrum Master is the ultimate facilitator that any Agile team depend on
- By using the GRAT framework, the focus can be retained on the facilitation role
- Reasonable Goals are set and it is made sure that everyone agrees with them
- Rules are put in place and ensured that they are followed
- Assistance is provided as required
- Team’s valuable time is guarded and utilized in a productive manner
What else do you think are some facilitation techniques a Scrum Master could use? Please share your thoughts with us…