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Thursday, November 30 • 10:30am - 11:15am
Leading a Scrum Master Evolution

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At Capital One, we took a look at what made some of our Agile Leaders (Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, and Kanban Leads) more successful than others. Among the patterns of differentiation, one factor clearly stood out beyond the others. We found a direct correlation between the technical abilities of the Agile leader on a team and the happiness of the team. The more technical our Agile Leaders were, the happier their teams were. In large part, the same teams were able to deliver more often and with a higher code quality.

Change is hard - just ask the Tasmanian Tiger and the Passenger Pigeon. When your environment shifts even a small amount, you need to adapt to the change. When a work environment shifts to be 1000% more technically focused over 18 months, some people sink and others learn to swim.

Many of the Agilists at Capital One were as surprised as others to learn about this pattern, but it made sense. The more that our Agile Leads understand about the work being done, the more effective they are at helping teams deliver on that work. We will take a look at three case studies from our organization and how they evolved along with their teams and how this inherently made a positive impact on their teams and themselves. The three cases that we will discuss are examples where a non-technical Scrum Master evolved his/her role and influence to help the team focus on streamlining their work to be able to focus and deliver faster.

We will also take a look at ways to make sure that you are staying on top of change in your environment and how you can quickly adapt to it.

* Case1: A former Java developer wanted to join the Agile side of things and become a Scrum Master. How he made the transition and how his technical capabilities help him better the teams ability to deliver.

* Case 2: A finance guru turned Product Owner turned DevOps team Scrum Master. How he ramped up quickly on the tech the team was using and never looked back. This team had the highest survey ratings out of any team we measured.

* Case 3: A Political Science Major who listened to his teams pains and responded by trying to better understand them himself by learning a bit more about the tech stack the team is using, and eventually helping alleviate some of the pain for the team.

Overall, none of these Scrum Masters are coding, but by being more technical these three Scrum Masters were able to help the team organize their time to manage the WIP and reduce task switching. Other residual benefits followed, and overall, these are the healthiest teams that we measured. Information for Program Team: The experience will be mostly a presentation format with a little interaction from the audience. I will be including a very brief (ten second) live audience poll twice during the session.

Session Agenda (will be modified to fit time slot):

* 10 Minutes: Introduction and background on general Capital One information
* 05 Minutes: How we measured our teams
* 10 Minutes: 3 Case studies
* 05 Minutes: Outcomes of the measurement and case studies
* 05 Minutes: Changes and how we influenced change in the Scrum Master community at Capital One
* 05 Minutes: How to keep up with your team's technology (or other changing aspect of your teams)
* 05 Minutes: Audience Poll and review of poll results
* 02 Minutes: Review and recap
* 10 minutes: Q&A

Prerequisite Knowledge: A bit of Agile Knowledge would be beneficial. Some base understanding of Agile Metrics is advised.

Learning Outcomes:
* Evolving with your organization is vital to the health and well being of the team.
* Managing WIP is vital to a teams happiness
* How being more technical will give you more "street cred" with your engineers
* Being more technical does not mean that you stop Coaching and Facilitating. Being more technical will only enhance your ability to Coach and Facilitate effectively
* Your ability to probe the team for Risk Avoidance will be greatly improvedPresentation History: Scrum Master Summit 2016 (gave presentation twice). The attached pdf is from that session. This presentation will take that session and expand it with more details, background, and audience

avatar for Robert English

Robert English

Agile Practice Leader, Capital One
Robert English is a former software engineer turned Agile Enthusiast. He has been working in the technical world for about 15 years and has seen a variety of organizations in motion. Robert is currently an Agile Practice Leader for about 20 teams at Capital One. He is passionate about... Read More →

Thursday November 30, 2017 10:30am - 11:15am EST
Richardson Ballroom