My story from Designer to Scrum Master


My story from Designer to Scrum Master

I have been working on a project from last 2 years in multiple diverse roles such as product designer, project manager, design sprint facilitator and finally scrum master.

You may be thinking how a product designer and design sprint facilitator can become a scrum master and project manager? the answer is why not??

If you have a firm grasp of servant leadership and facilitation then surely you can become a scrum master.

for a designer like me, I felt scrum seems like another collaborative framework like google design sprint (but here we deal more development and project management.

Here I am going to share the things which i have learned from scrum master role.

It was bit confusing and challenging to convince the team and management for adapting agile scrum framework, following collaborative work culture and changing performance KPI.

Due to lack of clarity on the product vision and features, I just tweaked the over all process by combining agile scrum with Google design sprint method. It helps to validate all the ideas and features coming from product owner.

I must say it worked well!

Google design sprint made them more creative, collaborative and understanding the business and user requirements clearly. Scrum made entire team cross functional to achieve sprint goal.

Starting days of product development, we were not at all cross-functional when it comes to collaboration. Each one of our team members was busy with their own individual tasks rather than collective product increment which give value to the entire project. Even they were directly communicating with the product owner and sharing their status of work and impediments. But it was not directly helped for the project delivery and quality. The project always got delayed and it was not good enough to show to beta users.

Finally, I took that initiative to make the team more collaborative and cross-functional. The first thing which I did was, educating the team about google design sprint and the Scrum framework.

What I learned:

I started listening more rather than asking the status. Our sprint whiteboard become a one-stop place for reviewing the progress of the current sprint.

We daily conduct standup meeting not only for a status update but to know each one's availability and overall progress towards sprint goal. Eventually, scrum becomes a part of our company work culture and collaboratively value generating framework.

I focused more on creating a successful team with strong skills which drive for continuous improvement by combining design sprint and scrum.

I supported Product Owner in visualizing progress, creating a transparent Product Backlog and maximizing the value of the product by running LDJ and design sprint. Applications like Trello, RealtimeBoard, zeplin, and Google meet makes the process super easy to manage.

When it comes to designer, digital marketing and content writer collaboration, scrum played a vital role in our project. it clear all the ambiguities between designer and content writer. we were able to track the progress and quality of our work with the help of integrating Adobe xd, trello and zeplin.

Adobe xd's trello plugin allows designer to add layout designs direclty to trello sprint board (user story- i call it as content story. content writer used trello card's description section (it supports googe doc also)to write the content and do the revision on the same.

Real problem

Sometimes developer's behaviors patterns affect overall project completion. Even the small team makes internal conflict by saying developers giving the build without completing functionality and testers are not testing properly. This complain culture exists almost all the companies. The reason behind this is an approach we used for finding the productivity and performance of individual resource.

Management and HR team treat individual work for productivity metrics and measuring of their KPI. But when it comes to agile its all about team KPI and achieving sprint goal by the help of a cross-functional team

Almost all the organization struggling with scrum at least in a team level. Why scrum is so much difficult to follow!?

In order to achieve that level of collaborative teamwork, the scrum master needs to convince the management by showing the impact of value-generating product increment by team collaboration.

The scrum master has a vital role to change the way team and management think about project and process in a conventional way to agile. Convincing Management about KPIs of individual developers productivity to team one and transition to agile are the most important responsibilities of scrum master.

In a conventional style, we treat developers only to code and testers to test the product. Due to this mindset, scrum master will be facing difficulties to make team as cross-functional and aligning towards a common sprint goal. I never felt scrum as a process, it actually a collection of values and framework for cross-functional team collaboration. That's the beauty of Scrum.

Most of the scrum masters and the team think daily standup meeting is to just to update the status of each one work. But that is totally wrong . Instead of simply asking 3 main questions

  • What did I do yesterday?
  • What will I do today?
  • Do I see any impediment?

Daily stand meeting its not just status meeting! When done wrong, daily standups become another time-wasting process. Instead of sharing the status of the work, treat standup meetings as an opportunity to fully use the power of collaboration.

Solution which i tried

scrum master should make team align towards sprint goal, by changing the way we ask status updates,and frame the question which gives full clarity to the team about sprint goal fully and helps each one to work collaboratively.

Let your team know the business objectives and the sprint goal clearly. Scrum is not just standup meeting or burn down charts, it actually all about team collaboration and achieving sprint goal. I just enhanced the overall process by combining the DS and scrum.

Product definition canvas + Google design sprint +prototype + user test = validated features and user stories for sprint product backlog.

Design sprint made team more creative and part of ideation and Scrum made the entire team more collaborative and cross-functional to achieve the sprint goal. Team used DS to turn all the problems into opportunities.

Initially they were struggling to adapt new way of validating idea by DS and running sprint. They all were hardly trying out this new process by making few mistakes. I took that as a advantage for team learning experience. I could have helped them and prevent them for making those mistakes. Later I have given detailed presentation about scrum and deisgn sprint to the team.

Another important artifact of scrum is user story and product backlog. A user story helps the team understand their users by clearly explaining a specific need. we first come up with main epic story then we split that to multiple related user stories.

Each user story has conditions of satisfaction to help the team know when the story is done.

User stories are important for empathizing for each category of users. Our team used story points and velocity to estimate how many stories they can include in each sprint.

Scrum master needs to ensure that the PO taking the right decision when it comes to feature prioritization, change requests.

Last thoughts

At a high-level, Agile scrum looks very fancy and easy to follow the framework. but it's not. practicing scrum and following values of the scrum will take time. it is an incremental and iterative process.

Scrum need tweaks in planning, standup meeting, acceptance criteria depends on the process, organization, and team.

Building a cross-functional team takes time but it will bring the best teamwork ever. Understanding and incorporating five scrum values (Courage, commitment, respect, focus, and openness ) in to project will make the team more cross-functional and effective.

The team need to focus on understanding the main sprint goal and value-based product increment rather than individual tasks completion.

Many tools available help in executing Agile practices, but it all depends on your ease of use. I use Trello, Google sheets, and real-time board.

Let me know what you do to make team more cross functional and collabroative for a sprint by leaving your comments below.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed my scrum journey or have any feedback, Id love to hear from you. You can give your response on below this post or email me at