PSM I Professional Scrum Master Topic: Advanced (What You Must Know) (PSM II) Part 1
December 19, 2022

1. Intro

Welcome to the advanced section of this course. Let’s take a look at our roadmap. Here we will expand the concepts you already know and, of course, add new ones. I would like to say a few words about what to expect. First of all, the biggest learning enemy is the sentence. I know that the moment we say it, we close our brain to absorbing new information. I’m saying that because many of the concepts that follow you already know. The advanced section of the course is not about revealing a secret, new accountabilities, new events, or new artifacts. No. It is about going deeper into scrum concepts. As for the structure, I keep it almost the same. You still have the recaps after each lecture. You will still have the general recap after four, three, or four lectures. I never pass up an opportunity to give you an example, but this one is unique to me. You will notice that some lectures go into action items just before the recap. I say the action item for this video is to read this blog post, or maybe to read this white paper or article. It is critically important that you do not skip these action items.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching, and what I recommend you read outside this course will help you on your PSM II exam. The materials are written by professionals, including trainers whom I very much respect. So we can trust them. As usual, go over the recaps more than once, but at the same time, do not be hard on yourself. The information is a lot. This section is going to be intense. The more you are exposed to the recaps, the more likely it is that the information will be transferred to your long-term memory. But you do that over a period of time. For example, wash the recaps now and do it again after a day or two. Then wait for a few more days. Wash them. What I’m saying is to give yourself time for the information to sink in. This is how we will succeed. I’ve uploaded the PDF file with the action items to this lecture as well. Feel free to download it in the next video. We will talk about empiricism. Thank you for your patience, and please stay focused. 

2. Empiricism

For the advanced section of this course. I believe the best topic to start with is empiricism. You know that Scrum is founded on empiricism. and lean thinking. In previous versions of the Scrum guide, you could see the empirical process control theory. But, in a nutshell, we call it empiricism. You remember that? Empiricism is about making decisions based on what is known. Making decisions based on evidence, facts, and logic The events in Scrum are designed to enable transparency of the artefacts and subsequent inspection and adaptation towards a goal. For example, in our daily scrum, we inspect progress towards the spring goal and then adapt our direction. The developers are asking the question, “What is the best thing to do now to move us closer to the sprint goal?” For the Sprint review, where we get feedback from key stakeholders And based on it, we adapt the product backlog.

I want to give you another example. One of the things the developers consider during the Sprint planning event is their past performance. They’re making decisions based on what’s known. They know how much work they got done during the last sprint. They know their velocity, so to speak. But for empiricism to work, we need clear goals. And in the context of Scrum, this is the sprint goal and the product goal. We want to adapt toward these goals. Let me tell you a quick story that illustrates recent empiricism recently. I sold my old car. It was for focus. And the last problem I had with this car was that the coolant temperature sensor broke down and was sending information constantly to the computer of the car. Because the coolant fluid is -27 degrees celsius at faraday height, which is -16.6 degrees, the sensor was feeding the car’s computer incorrect data, and as a result, the car’s behaviour was a nightmare. Strange noises, car hiccups, and so on from an empirical point of view. We had a problem with transparency, which led to incorrect inspection and adaptation. The data of -27 degrees was not correct, but it was sent to the computer and inspected. And we can say the goal is not to reach more than 90 degrees Celsius. And this is the optimal engine temperature.

Of course, it could be any angle, but let’s say 90 degrees. And the computer started adapting in the wrong way. So I hope this makes sense. So to embrace empiricism, we need goals to move toward. And we also need transparency. And now, how is this going to help you on the PSM II exam? And of course, in real life, if you pursue a career as a scrum master, or maybe you are one already, Well, I like asking myself, “How does this support empiricism?” How does this support empiricism? What do I mean by that? On the exam, you will be given situations. Scenarios, questions. Most of the time, they will be quite long. First, you need to read carefully and understand the situations, and then read the answers. Sometimes it will be quite obvious to you what the correct options are. For example, if you see changes to the sprint goal during the sprint, game over. You know that this is false. The sprint goal does not change during the sprint.

But sometimes you will not be 100% sure. And this is when you ask the question: How does this answer support empiricism? Do we make decisions based on what is known? Does this action increase or decrease transparency? Does this action reduce the frequency of inspection and adaptation? Let me give you an example. The screen team thinks they’re too good and there isn’t any room for improvement. So they decided to skip the sprint retrospective. Of course, this is an easy question for you because you know the events are mandatory. But let’s look deeper. What happens when we skip this event? We lose the opportunity to inspect how the last sprint went and adapt. Because besides finding improvements, the event is also about discussing what went well during the sprint. We want to do more of what works. Another mindset is that there is always room for improvement. In Agile, we believe in continuous improvement. This is the Kaizen philosophy and spirit. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means improvement.

But in business, Kaizen refers to continuous improvement. Typically, it refers to small, incremental changes. Now, a quick note. If you want to learn more about Kaiser, I recommend you read about the Toyota Production System and their management approach. You can easily find articles on Wikipedia. On the one hand, there are two major areas for continuous improvement: on the other hand, respectful people. Of course, this is not mandatory for the PSM II exam. Now let me get back to the Sprint retrospective. On the exam, you will not see an option. Sprint retrospective is mandatory. You choose it, and you move on. Now, this is a question for PSM One. For PSM 2, the correct answer might be related to shortening the duration of the event but not skipping it. The correct answer might be related to coaching the team on the purpose of the event. You are a scrum master. You’re not a Scrum police officer.

You do not say, “This is the event.” It is in the Scrum guide. Do it. Period. You have to lead them. You have to lead the team. You have to coach them. Asking the right questions can help them understand why something is the way it is. I’d like to quote the old Scrum guide from 2017. The Scrum Master’s job is to work with the Scrum team and the organisation to increase the transparency of the artifacts. Keep in mind that this is still the case. To make decisions based on what is known, you need transparency in the information. And this is not just about the artifacts. I’ll give you an example. In a moment, when you have this mindset, you will see how many exam questions revolve around the concept of empiricism. You have unhappy stakeholders, customers, or whatever. What might be the reason? Okay, now wait a second. Had the stakeholders been attending this pre-view to inspect the progress using the keyword inspect? How about the frequency of communication between the product only and the stakeholders? This is during the sprint. Of course. If they do not communicate frequently, what happens to the transparency? The stakeholders get feedback from the marketplace. They do not share that feedback with the product owner. And the product owner orders the backlog based on other assumptions that have a lower likelihood of being true. And then what happens? The developers create something that isn’t a good fit for the market. The stakeholders are unhappy as a result. And it all started with transparency. Scrum relies on transparency. Remember what happens when you use raw data to make decisions? Is it really -27 degrees? Let’s do a quick recap. The screw. Master supports and promotes empiricism.

When analyzing PSM, there are two questions and two answers. Ask yourself, how does this support empiricism? Look for the three pillars as keywords in the answers: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. The entire Scrum team supports empiricism. For empiricism to work, we need clear goals—the spring goal and the product goal. The scrum master’s injury ensures transparency. With no transparency, the chance of making wrong decisions increases. Kaizen is the Japanese word for improvement. In the next video, we will talk about the Scrum values, and I’ll share with you one of my favourite quotes. Thank you for your patience, and please stay focused. 

3. Scrum Values – Deep Dive

Values. By now, you should know them by heart. commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect. When I talk about Scrum values, I always think of JuntaVerhane and what he wrote in one of his blog posts. Here you go. Scrum is more about behavior than it is about the process. By the way, you have to read or listen to his book, The Strong Pocket Guide. In my opinion, it is mandatory for PSM II preparation. You will find a link to his videos in the Resources and Recommendations lecture at the end of the course. And, when you think about it, what are values? Well, values are about behavior. Values drive behavior. For example, a new developer joins the team. The other developers consider his or her point of view when thinking about how to solve a problem.

What values do we have here? First, respect. We respect each other as professionals. I respect your opinion. I might disagree, but I respect it. Second, openness. This means we are willing to speak and to listen. Openness. openness to new ideas. Openness to new points of view Third, courage. courage to speak. The new developer just joined a well-established Chrome team. What would other members think about my ideas? Should they speak at all? These might be questions going through the new developer’s mind. So it takes a bit of courage to share your point of view, specifically in this situation. And if you remember from PSM One, questions about values are usually mixed with Scrum pillars.

So if they ask you about strong values, choose only among the five values. As I mentioned in the PSM Onesection, one of the most common misconceptions concerns the value of commitment. As a scrum team, what do we commit to? What do the developers commit to during the sprint? Of course, there is more than one correct answer here. But the idea is about committing to do our best as professionals. The developers commit to the sprint goal and not to the sprint backlog or individual PBIS. Why? Because quite often, not all of the PBIS that the developers work on during the sprint will be related to the sprint goal, Chances are the initial Sprint plan will change. We might skip PBIS. We may introduce new PBIS. So the developers do not commit to the sprint backlog; they commit to the sprint goal. Your example should draw attention to this person. For example, the product owner is not happy because the developers could not complete all PBIS from the Sprint backlog. The product owner asks you what you think about this. You’re the scrum master? Of course. So what do you do? Are you going to do a team-building exercise to increase motivation? Are you going to tell the developers they didn’t do a good job? Or maybe you are going to suggest the developers work over time next spring so this doesn’t happen again.

Or maybe you’re going to teach the product trainer the difference between commitment and forecast and that the main objective is the spring goal. Not all PBIs were selected for development during sprint planning. Sprint’s backlog is a forecast. Think about the 80% chance it is going to rain today. What is this? It is a forecast. It may happen. Yes, the chance is high, but there is also a 20% chance it may not rain today. Whereas commitment refers to doing our best to make progress and achieve the spring goal. Does that mean we will always achieve our spring goals? No, sometimes we won’t. This is unpredictable, complex work. but we do our best. We commit. We are obligated and hope This clarifies the value of commitment. Scrum teams must adhere to the Scrum values in order to achieve excellence. But they also need an environment of trust. By the way, the absence of trust is one of the five dysfunctions of a team. There is a great book with the same name by Patrick Lancing.

As a scrum master, how do you notice the absence of trust? People are not willing to admit their own mistakes. They do not admit their witnesses or the fact that they need help. These are some indicators that you should be paying attention to. And as a true leader, what do you do? You lead by example. Admit your own witnesses. Show vulnerability. Ask the other members for help. Trust is an extremely important topic because if there is no trust, empiricism is broken, values are broken, and as a result, we do not take advantage of all that Scrum has to offer. Now this lecture goes with an action item. Read the blog post “There is value in the Scrum Values” by Junker. It is a quick read, but in my opinion, it is the best explanation of the Scrum values out there. Let’s do a quick recap. Scrum values drive behavior. The developers commit to the spring goal. They do not commit to the spring backlog or individual PVIs. Scrum teams must adhere to the Scrum values in order to achieve excellence. They also need an environment of trust. In the following video, we will discuss some of the squirrel master’s unanswered questions. Thank you for your patience, and please stay focused. 

4. Misunderstandings of the Scrum Master (Behaviours To Avoid)

There is a wonderful paper called The Eight Stances of His Grandmaster. Barry overrode that and wrote it. It is around 30 pages. What I like about it is that Barry suggests eight good and eight bad stances for his Grandmaster. So here are some misunderstandings or mistakes. Stoosh the Scrum Master as a scribe. Scrum police secretary The administrator is the team leader. The Chairman, a superhero, and a coffee clerk Now, I encourage you, of course, to read the paper, but in this video, I want to give you an idea of what these misunderstandings are all about. This will help you spot incorrect behavior on your exam. For example, the Scrum Master acts as a scribe. That means the Scrum Master’s primary responsibility is to take notes during Scrum events. Second Secretary: this is about booking rooms for events or setting up meetings with other teams, for example, and so on.

Scrum police are up next. I already gave you an example, but basically, this is about following the Scrum Guide, following the rules word for word, no matter what. But at the end of the day, we’re dealing with human beings, and we should consider the context and the circumstances. Next, the boss of the team This is the opposite of servant leadership. You tell people what to do. You can either accept or reject decisions. This is not how the Scrum Master leads. So this bad stance is more about a command and control mindset. It is a mindset that comes from industrial management. Next is the administrator. Let me give you an example. In our company, we use Jira for issue tracking. This stance is about the Scrum Master setting up all the workflows, filters, reports, boards, and so on. The chairman. Okay, this is when the developers update the Scrum Master during the daily Scrum event. And then, based on that, the scrum master writes reports to, say, apartment management, for example.

Now, let me make a quick note. Here in Scrum, we do not use reports. Instead, we use the transparency of the artefacts in the process. For example, if someone from the organisation wants to know what the team will be working on for the next sprint or maybe this print, they can take a look at the product backlog or the spring backlog. When the artefacts are up-to-date, they’re transparent. The information is there. So, on your example, if you see options like, for example, a Scrum role, you should write a report and pass it on to somebody else. Most likely, this is incorrect. We do not do reports in Scrum.

Next, a superhero When a Scrum Master acts as a superhero, they resolve all obstacles. And now you might be thinking, “But Vladimir, what is the problem?” The Scrum aster is an obstruction remover. And for me, this was the hardest part when I was preparing for the exam. It is called self-organization. The newsroom guide now calls it self-management. What do I mean? There are numerous definitions of the word impediment. I ask you to remember this one. An impediment is something that goes beyond the self-organization of the developers or the Scrum team. In other words, if you see an impediment that can be resolved by the developers, you let them do it. If they see the impediment and do nothing about it, then you intervene. You can do that by simply asking a question.

What would be the result of that? Okay? Or maybe, what are we trying to achieve here? What could go wrong? Or maybe you pointed this out during the Sprint retrospective. But do not try to resolve the impediment. You need to give the developers a chance to solve the impediment themselves. Your mindset should be on asking the right questions. Point their attention in the right direction. in the right direction. But, most importantly, refrain from solving. By the way, on the PSM Two Exam, I made only one mistake. And when I checked the military archives, it was related to self-management. This is why I say that it was the hardest part for me. On the PSM One exam, again, I made very few mistakes, all related to self-management. Maybe the reason is that I come from traditional project management. I don’t know. But we will talk about removing impediments a bit later. The coffee clerk is the final bad guy. I don’t need to explain here. Maybe some people remember only the word “servant” from the phrase “servant leadership.” There is nothing wrong with making a cup of coffee for your teammates. It is a nice gesture.

But if all a person does is bring in coffee, right? Who knows? That person is not a true Scrum Master if they book rooms during meetings. The action item for this lecture is to download the paper, “The Eight Stances of a Scrum Master.” Go to page four and read the eight misunderstood stances of a scrum master. Also read the blog post, “Scrum Master Antipater’s: 20 Signs Your Scrum Master Needs Help.” Quick recap. The Scrum Master should avoid the following behaviors. The primary responsibility of the scribe is to take notes during the scrum events. The secretary’s primary responsibility is to book rooms and deal with schedules. Scrum police follow the Scrum guide word for word, with no empathy or regard for context. The boss is using commanding control leadership instead of servant leadership. The administrator’s primary responsibility is fixing any issues with tools. For example, Jira the chairman. The developers report progress to the scrum master during the daily scrum. The superhero. The scrum master resolves all obstacles. This hurts self-management. The coffee clerk primary responsibility is getting coffee. Now that we’ve learned about the best scrum master stances, it’s time to learn about the good stances. We will talk about them in the next video. Thank you for your patience, and please stay focused. 

5. The Scrum Master Advanced – Part 1

Let’s talk about the good traits of a scrum master. According to the paper by Barry Over Ream, the Scrum Master should be able to take the following stances depending on the context: leader, coach, facilitator, teacher, mentor, manager, impediment, removal, and change agent. Now, my view on the topic is just a little bit different. Regarding the first answer, servant leadership In my opinion, it is not about the Scrum Master deciding when to apply servant leadership, scrum masters, or servant leaders. It is not like, “Okay, in this situation, I have to be a servant leader.” No, on the other hand, you might be in a situation and say, “Okay, here, I think I have to coach the product owner.” I have to teach the product owner how to manage the product backlog. I have to teach the organisation about the benefits of self-management. I have to facilitate this conflict. I hope you can see the difference I’m talking about here. Let’s move on. Servant leadership in the PSM In one section of the course, I’ve pointed your attention toward the change in the Scrum Guide. The Scrum Master is a leader, ranging from a servant leader to a true leader who serves.

Now, I think this change confuses many people. Is the scrum master still a servant leader? The answer is yes. Servant leadership is still the backbone of the scrum master. The founders of Scrum did not want to change the leadership style, but they wanted to remove the word “servant” because, in their opinion, this causes some misunderstandings. Remember the bad scrum master accountability stances? What is servant leadership all about? I’ll put it simply for you without going into definitions. Servant leadership is about serving others, not yourself. It is about developing and bringing out the best in people, unleashing their potential. As a servant leader, you lead by example. You want to create an environment of trust. Remember when we spoke about that? Show you are vulnerable, ask for help, ask for an opinion, and so on. People choose to follow you. You do not lead with authority or a command and control mindset.

Next, facilitator. From what we know from the Scrum Guide, the scrum master facilitates scrum events as requested if needed. I’ve shared one definition with you. facilitate means to make an action or a process possible or easier. This is great, but we need to look deeper. Here is what a Wikipedia article says: a A facilitator is a person who helps a group of people work together better, understand their common objectives, and plan how to achieve these objectives during meetings or discussions. In doing so, the facilitator remains neutral, meaning they do not take a particular position in the discussion. Now, the biggest takeaway from this definition is that the facilitator remains neutral. If you keep this in mind, you will see questions on your exam where the Scrum Master has to facilitate a conflict, for example, and some of the answers will be about accepting or rejecting a decision. The scrum master doesn’t do that. The scrum master helps the team make a decision. How? Well, one technique you are already familiar with is asking questions until the team identifies the root cause of the problem.

Once the cause is identified, the self-managing team decides what’s best. What’s the result of that? The team feels ownership of the solution. Can you see the difference? A traditional project manager would decide for the team, whereas a scrum master would facilitate and help the team make the decision themselves. Once again, restrain yourself from solving. Next, a teacher. The Scrum Master teaches the members of the Scrum team and the organisation how Scrum works, both in theory and in practice. Let me give you examples. A new product owner is assigned to the Scrum team. But the product owner doesn’t have much experience with scrum. He or she asks you for help. What do you do? Of course. You’re the scrum master. So you educate. You teach the product owner about ordering from the backlog. The most valuable items go on top. The product owner should consider risk. He or she should consider dependencies, return on investment, and value flow. This should be the primary focus because scrum is about value delivery. Now, what are you doing? You’re instructing the product owner.

Another example. The product owner wants to participate in daily Scrum. He or she wants to receive status updates. However, you know that the daily scrum is not a status meeting. The purpose is different. It is about inspecting and adapting toward the spring goal. The developers feel uneasy. What do you do? You educate the members of the team on what the purpose of the event is, and then you give them a chance to deal with it. The developers do daily scrums, but they do not focus on the progress toward the sprint goal. What do you do? You educate the developers on what the purpose of the event is. Next, a mentor. What does it mean to be a mentor? And before I answer this, I want to share with you that when I was studying for PSMTwo, I saw a lot of overlap between the stances, which confused me a little bit. Isn’t the mentor a teacher as well? Isn’t the mentor a coach as well? Isn’t the coach a teacher as well? In reality, there is overlap. But I try to keep it very simple in my head, and this is what I want to share with you. Now, a teacher teaches you something—maybe a skill, maybe how an event is done, et cetera. A mentor is someone who advises and helps someone who doesn’t have much experience. But there are two distinct characteristics when we talk about a mentor. First, a mentor has a lot of knowledge and experience. And second, usually a mentor helps someone over a period of time. It is not a one-time thing, as it could be with teaching. For example, let me teach you something.

I teach you how something is done, and we just go home. Okay? one-time thing. Now, the next one is Coach. The easiest way to explain coaching is to ask you to think about sports. Basketball, football. Think about your favourite sport. You know how the teams have coaches. Consider LeBron James, a professional basketball player who is at the top of his game and extremely skilled. He does things as if the law of gravity and the law of physics don’t apply to him. That’s why LeBron needs a teacher to teach him how to throw the ball or to teach him the rules of the game. Of course not. However, LeBron needs a coach. A coach that would point out any blind spots A coach would help you achieve peak performance. A coach would ensure that your mindset is on track. On the level it needs to be But the best analogy I’ve heard is that a coach is holding a mirror to help them see themselves and make decisions. So it is more about supporting the person you coach and helping them make a decision. Do you see? This is beautiful. Do you see how this fits quite well with the self-management concept and servant leadership going back to the Scrum Master? Who does the Scrum Master coach? The answer is the individual members of the scrum team, the team as a whole, and the organization. So these are three levels. Lastly, being a coach does not require you to have as much experience as a mentor. For example, let’s see a few examples to make it even clearer. The Scrum Master coaches the team in self-management and cross-functionality. The scrum master coaches the organisation in its scrum adoption.

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