The goal of my blog series is to show ways how the Agile Kata can be used to improve your Scrum. But the Agile Kata could do much more than working in the context of Scrum. It could be used for many other use cases as well, but that is outside of this blog post series. In part I, we took a look at the Agile Kata and how it could serve as process to implement improvement ideas that stem for example from a Sprint Retrospective. Especially the ones that require organizational support, from outside the Scrum team, are ideal candidates for the Agile Kata.
In part II, let’s take a closer look at the role of the Scrum Master. This use case can be very powerful if your organization has a several Scrum Masters, something a major financial client in NYC is currently using the Agile Kata for. If you would like read more about the Agile Kata, I would recommend to start with the whitepaper at www.agilekata.org.
Use Case 2: Agile Kata to facilitate the Professional Development of a Scrum Master
Scrum Masters like to improve and they are often looking for better ways to improve themselves. It is part of our DNA to learn more about our role and share with others. Based on the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team, the Product Owner and the Organization. There are a few themes of skills that span across all 3 areas, for example teaching, facilitating or coaching. The actual approach and type of engagement will vary, depending on if a Scrum Master is working with a developers, leaders or other stakeholders. Therefore you might find yourself in a situation where you feel more comfortable than in others. For example working within a Scrum Team vs. working with leaders or executives. Similar to triathletes that are very often asked what their favorite discipline is.
As a matter of fact, the Scrum Guide lists only a few examples how Scrum Masters serve and engage. The sky is the limit when Scrum Masters begin navigating the organization and the rubber meets the road. Instead of staying in the comfort zone and improving something that is already more advanced compared to the others, the Agile Kata can take a Scrum Master into unchartered territory. Truly offering a path through the unknown of professional development outside the comfort zone.
In situations like this, the Agile Kata supports Scrum Masters in creating a strategy for learning and professional improvement. Eventually we might feel similarly comfortable in all areas. I myself have been focusing on visuals to support my facilitation and ran several interesting experiments. If a Scrum Master has for example focused more on a single Scrum Team in the past, the Agile Kata could provide the pattern to expand into other areas. Learning, mixed with practical application on-the-job, does not only benefit the Scrum Master, but the organization as well. Expanding into all areas can demonstrate the importance of the Scrum Master but also help spread Scrum in every corner of the organization. Aligning professional development goals with the Agile Kata is therefore a great use case for any Scrum Master.
If you are not the only Scrum Master in your organization, the Agile Kata can also be a process for expanding the role collectively with your fellow colleagues. This could be a community of practice, guild, or other knowledge exchange program among Scrum Masters. Instead of working in isolation, the Agile Kata can support the forum by creating focus around specific challenges and common learning goals within the guild.
This blog series is all about the synergies of the Agile Kata and Scrum. If you are looking for learning aids or would like to share the ideas, you can grab the “Agile Kata + Scrum Poster Kit“, a bundle to make it easier to get started with the Agile Kata for your Scrum Team. Please use “1stOrder” during checkout to get even free shipping on your first order.