A Word to The Scrum Master: Tips to Optimize the Scrum Model of Communication

by Chris McLean, on Jun 2, 2023 12:00:00 PM

Here at Accelare, we know how necessary strong communication skills are to business transformation. To optimize communications, businesses can follow the Scrum Model of Communication. The Scrum framework includes three pillars: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. These three pillars are set upon a foundation of trust and are surrounded by the values of courage, focus, commitment, respect, and openness. So, how can leaders, a.k.a Scrum Masters, operationalize the Scrum Model of Communication? 

Being a Scrum Master is no easy task; having the right skills makes the job much easier. Facilitating good communication among team members is a key ingredient to success. The ability to listen to others while speaking honestly about any expectations helps build team cooperation. In this guide, we share our advice on ways to use good communication skills to cultivate transparency, create understanding, and remove barriers to success.

How to Use Good Communication Skills to Build Transparency

Your team must remain transparent and honest with each other. And to be frank, it is tough to do. When team members are not open with each other, distrust often sets in. BEWARE – when your own teammates do not trust each other, this will become your biggest impediment! To make sure everyone remains transparent with each other, here are some helpful tips for you to consider:

  1. During the sprint retrospective, ensure there is a time for every team member to honestly express their thoughts on what is not working within the team.
  2. Clearly explain any outside impediments that may affect the team and discuss how to overcome them.
  3. Having transparent discussions between the product owner and the Scrum team during the sprint planning meetings about what is expected and what can realistically get done will lead to a more efficient sprint.

How to Use Good Communication to Create Understanding Within The

TeamCreating an atmosphere where every member of the Scrum team and the product owner has a common understanding of the goals and priorities is the fundamental responsibility of the Scrum Master. Constant communication does not equal good communication. Instead, aim for genuine comprehension of what each other is saying. You can improve these skills using specific techniques:

  1. As a Scrum Master, you want to communicate with the product owner daily to ensure the priority list is current and that any changes are clearly understood.
  2. Don’t just know what action items/stories need to be done – know why they must be done!
  3. During the daily stand-up meeting, make sure that everyone on the Scrum team understands what everyone else is working on, why they are working on it, and how others can help resolve any impediments. It is good practice to give your team time to ask each other and answer any questions regarding the work to be done.

How to Use Good Communication Skills to Remove Barriers to Success

Have you ever found that your Scrum team’s velocity is declining due to uncontrollable impediments? This is not unique and largely stems from communication problems within the team. To overcome these issues and keep the team working efficiently, you may have to do more than you initially bargained for:

  • Sometimes you must act as a therapist - literally. Some team members may not see eye-to-eye with others and need someone to hear their concerns. Be willing to listen to your co-workers so you can help them resolve their issues.
  • External impediments may often force you to learn new systems and policies or even move you to take on an additional role. Ensure you can effectively communicate to your team any new skills, systems, or methodologies you might need to learn – your team may be able to work together to overcome the learning curve.

Comprehensive team discussions will remove and lessen the threat of issues. These are some great ways to minimize the impacts of impediments through the use of excellent communication skills:

  1. Meet weekly with your team to identify any risks that someone may forsee. Discuss the potential problems along with any possible resolutions. Good preparation will go a long way!
  2. Make sure the entire team understands the impediments. A good group conversation on the different solutions could convey a wide range of options for solving them. The more options to choose from, the better. You never know if someone on your team has experience with a similar problem and has dealt with it inventively.
  3. As a post-project activity, share your experience with any impediments you had with the leadership team so they can know what to expect next time – and then can gain an idea of how to solve those problems.
Good communication skills are a necessity for a Scrum Master in keeping your team effective and efficient. Inevitable issues during a project can often bring about distrust and a lack of cooperation in your Scrum team. The best defense to these problems will be comprehensive team discussions - your most valuable role as a Scrum Master is to facilitate these discussions. Yet the need for this ability also applies to leadership roles such as project manager, business architect, or program manager. 

For more insight and tips for transformative communication and growth in your organization, contact Accelare today.


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