The Stages of Scrum Mastery
Stage 1: Information Dispenser
The Information Dispenser
This is one of the earliest stages of Scrum Mastery, and I call it “Information Dispensing.” This stage of Scrum Mastery is quite volatile. At this stage, one is unaware of the necessary skills and lack of proficiency in playing the role. A couple of my personal experiences, in particular, helped me to call out this “Stage” under Unconscious Incompetence. As you may see, I would like to place the Information Dispenser under the “Unconscious Incompetence” quadrant. As a result, one may be unaware of the repercussions that will have on the teams. When I had an opportunity to work as a Scrum Master in 2012 for one of the financial organizations, a third-party product was purchased from a vendor, and a new team setup was done even before I joined. Team members often come up with “We should inspect if we need to continue using this product” in their retrospectives. On the other side, I get a lot of instructions from management. I carry information from management like:
- What should be the Sprint cadence?
- Who estimates the story?
- What are the expectations of each Sprint?
I collect a lot of information from both sides and pass it back and forth. As information dispensing Scrum Master, my focus was to collect all the information and put it in a commonplace. When I do so, I think my job is done instead of identifying patterns, making meaningful implications of data, and using the data to provide inspect and adapt opportunities to create an environment for continuous improvement. When someone asks me, I simply point people to the information source. In other words, I do not know the degree of my incompetence. I didn’t make any conscious efforts to explore what other Scrum Masters are doing in the industry, how else I could be a better Scrum Master? Fortunately, many Scrum Masters seem to evolve past this stage on their own. Yet, a considerable percentage of Scrum Masters are operating from this mindset. If you find that the only way to be an effective Scrum Master is to dispense information to your teams explicitly about what to do and then ride herd on them until they do it, there’s a good chance you’re stuck at the Information Dispenser stage. You are unlikely to create a meaningful impact on your teams. Once this happens, there is even greater pressure on estimated project timescales, which only exacerbates the problem.
• You always pass information to your teams.
• You are unaware of other skills (Facilitation, Teaching, Coaching) required to be an effective Scrum Master.
• You never thought of bringing people together to improve collaboration.
- You are unaware of what you are lacking.
• Take some formal training (For example, first-level Scrum Master workshops, preferably Professional Scrum Master™ (PSM) from Scrum.org)
- Increase your awareness levels through self-directed learning and community meetups.
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