She was about to quit her new Scrum Master job! šŸŽ™ The Agile Audit Podcast Episode 1

Welcome to the very first episode of The Agile Audit: Real-life Strategies for Career Success – a podcast where I’m interviewing Agile professionals working with teams about their real-life challenges and professional stories that led them to where they are now. It’s about bringing listeners into the real world of Agile implementations through the lens of people working with teams day-to-day.

This time I’m talking with Zahava, one of the members of my mentorship program.

Zahava is a mom of two. She’s originally from Israel, now living in Miami. She switched her career from an accountant to a Scrum Master.

Zahava is very passionate about this role as it gives her the opportunity to work with amazing people and learn continuously. 

In this episode, I’m sitting down with Zahava to talk about the hidden struggles of Scrum Masters. Join us as we delve into the challenges that make Scrum Masters want to quit, offering invaluable insights, expert advice, and inspiring stories of resilience.

Zahava is a former accountant turned Scrum Master, who faced overwhelming challenges and contemplated quitting her new role. Less than a year later since she started my mentorship program, I’m extremely happy to see Zahava feeling more confident than ever, not only crushing it in her job but also enjoying the ride.

Let’s hear her transformational story.

Transcript

Daria:

Hi Zahava. Very nice to be able to speak with you today. And I know that we met already kind of getting ready for this for this call and to talk really about your journey as a scrum master and how did you get where you are. And I know you brought some good questions for me, so let’s jump in.

Zahava:

I always love these coaching sessions with you. So I do have a couple of questions for you. One of them is – I’ve been already working with a team for, as you know, it’s been almost seven months. And now I got to have… Now I was assigned to another team and it feels a little bit overwhelming because team, this team, the one that I was assigned to is very new to the Scrum framework.

They had before me two other Scrum Masters. So this team has been going through a lot and I already see a lot of things that can be improved, but maybe I would like your guidance on how to do it correctly, not, not to just jump in and start. Improving because I feel like there are so many. I already have a vision of what we could have improved.

So what do you think about that?

Daria:

The kind of situation you’re in is you have a lot of ideas of what you can change. And now you’re like “Where do you actually start exactly to not overwhelm the team, right?”

Zahava:

I wanna be more supportive to them, you know, and, and do these changes together, right?

Make them feel like we’re doing this together. Bring up these issues that I observe and I see that can be improved and together and kinda work on this together. But Maybe we’re still new to each other, so I’m still giving this time to get to know each other and build that trust between us. What would be your, from your experience, recommendation to do it correctly?

You know, to start actually to start implementing these changes? Yeah. Yeah.

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Daria:

Well, generally I think you know, people don’t like change that we, we know they’re kind of getting used to being there, in the comfort, comfort zone, even if it’s maybe not the best situation. And I think the best is kind of to go a bit with the flow of what the team needs right now.

I mean, obviously, I’m pretty sure you see some kind of red flags in there, and you want to jump in and change that. But sometimes maybe if the team doesn’t feel that there is such a big issue if you do change it, it actually kind of goes they, they’re starting to get a bit scared thinking that, well we’re gonna change everything.

There are some things that maybe I like how, how they work. And I think what people really want, especially for people like us who are coming in or kind of observing. What they really want from us is someone who can understand really what is going on with their teams. And someone who doesn’t just jump in and tries to apply an approach like, you know, kind of a bandaid that you would apply to everything, but instead, someone who is coming in and tries to really understand mm-hmm.

How they work, and why they work that way. And when you understand this, then it’ll be easier to, to make changes because people will know that you’re not just making changes for the sake of changes. But for them, right?

Zahava:

That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. So any recommendations on what questions I can I’m sure some, I’ve done already one-on-one with a couple of the team members, but, I would like to continue having a one-on-one with everyone in the team.

What are some questions that you’d recommend that are very necessary to ask? For the one-on-ones?

Daria:

Well, what have you asked so far?

Zahava:

So I like to first get to know them. Right? Ask even just personally about a family where you are from, right?

Just to go. They just, you know, to have that connection first. And then I’m just asking about the history of what do you know about Scrum. Who, who, how, what do you like even about your previous Commes maybe I’m giving them some ideas about what I think about the team. Anything from your side that you think are very important questions to ask?

Daria:

Yeah, I think, well there are a few things. Obviously, you want to create the connection, so that’s great that you’re going with those questions kind of, Hey, I’m here. Just tell me about yourself. Right? Yeah, yeah. But I think the next would be a good, good question that I really like to ask because people like to talk about themselves.

What do you do on the scene? Kind of what is your role? Why like, what is, the value that you’re bringing, tell me more about what you know, your expertise. What kind of questions they can come to you with, you know? Mm-hmm. Just to understand how they see their role as well. Right. Yeah, because more might happen is that someone thinks that, oh, I am the person who makes decisions on this part, and then you talk to other people and they have a different vision, so you can immediately see Sure.

Like some disconnects, right? That’s, and then that can help, help you with that. So

Zahava:

You’re suggesting to ask them what, what’s their role in the, in the team?

What they think about themselves. What, what’s their value in the team? What value? That’s, that’s a good approach.

Right? So that’s mainly it. As I said, I feel like there’s so much to work with the team. But I wanna take it slow. I already have that I feel like there’s some pressure from the, from management, from leadership Yeah. That they’re expecting you to, come in, and they know that there’s so much to fix with this team.

They, they’re telling me, Ava, you’re gonna be in this team, and, and this is like a whole mess. Yeah. So I’m also, I have that little fear that they’re looking at me and expecting me to fix everything, but Yeah. They need to understand that. We’re gonna take it slow and, and it’s it takes time to improve and, and change.

Right.

Daria:

And I think you raise a really good point, right? Kind of the man management sees the problems and they’re like, okay, we know that. Like we can bring in the scrum master to help us. And then they have, like, they have the expectation Yeah. That you will magically fix everything in like two weeks.

Zahava:

So it doesn’t work like that. It takes time, right? Yeah. That’s what so to this point, I also wanna ask you, when it comes to me as a Scrum Master, I think it’s very important to have performance metrics because that gives me and the team, and also management and I idea where we stand, how we’re progressing.

Right now, we’re employing. So from your experience, what would be the best metrics that you use on a daily, or even by end of the sprint, to see the progress of the team? Right, in terms. There’re different metrics. Yeah. Which one are your favorite ones that help you?

Daria:

Yeah, that’s when it comes to performance.

Yeah. That’s such a kind of a hard metric because for me, the best. Like the best metrics are actually very qualitative, so I cannot really like, put a number on it and say, Hey, we are improving. Right. Yeah. And, and, and it’s, it’s sometimes hard because how do you actually like show to your managers that you’re doing a good job?

Like the easiest one is usually like velocity. Velocity. Where we, we don’t like that outside of the team. But I think it’s there’s some things around the team morale. I think that’s something that you can definitely at least see yourself, kind of how does the team feel, right?

Mm-hmm. If they have been maybe demotivated and after you have been working with them, they feel. A bit more like, you know, enjoying what they’re doing on the team, so, right. You can collect some of the, have you ever tried collecting on any of the, like the happiness metrics and things like that with the team?

Zahava:

So this is something that we have discussed, but I, I haven’t started it yet. This is something that I. I would like to bring into the, to the new team have these metrics that you’ve mentioned. So, so tell me about it again.

Daria: How to, to how to do this? Yeah. Let’s say you use it in retros usually. Well, retros is, I guess, a first thing that you can start with, right?

But that would then be very connected to the end of the sprint. So it will be like, Whatever happened on the last day of the sprint, this is how people will actually vote. Right. You know, maybe the whole sprint was. Great. And then on last day, maybe they were not able to deliver. So that will impact kind of the whole thing.

But you want to see the progress throughout the whole day. And so there’s this tool that’s called Nico, Nico Calendar. Okay. Yeah. And what you do, what, doesn’t matter how it’s called. Right. What you can is actually. Just every day collect, like from one to five the mood from, from the team. Like, how are you feeling today?

Like every day you, everybody gets like puts a number or a smiley face. Mm-hmm. And so that actually shows you the, the flow. Of how the team feels every day. And so if you maybe see that the team is doing fine, fine. And then there is like a dip on, I don’t know, middle of the sprint for some, everybody’s not really feeling that great all of a sudden.

So yeah, you will be able to see it during the sprint as well.

Zahava:

Yeah. Right. And, and it’s actually gonna be very helpful cuz we can know what’s, how the team feels if there is something that is coming from management that they didn’t f. They didn’t like the way someone, you know, treated them as a team.

Right. Yeah. So they can speak up, we can talk about it. So this can be a starting a conversation so they can Yeah. Speak up about, speak

Daria:

up about how they feel. Yeah. Okay. You working like mostly online with your team or are you, I know that you’re in the office today. Yes.

Zahava:

So I, it’s hybrid, but my old team, they’re all working online.

From online. Okay. Yes. Yeah, they’re, yeah. So they’re all over the place.

Daria:

All over the place. Yeah. Yeah. I remember when we were talking about like, I think one of the challenges, right? That you had to. I deal with, and I dunno if still the, the, the challenge that you’re dealing with right now is that the team is so spread out, so it was hard to even find the right time to have meetings.

Zahava:

Yes, yes. That was one of the things. So when it was nighttime for some of the team members, it was morning for the others. And, and it was hard to, to, you know, put. The, the end of the spring ceremonies because there is frequency that we need to have the ceremonies right. First it’s important to have the spring review cuz we are analyzing together with the stakeholders and with the team what has happened during the spring.

After that, we should have our retrospective right to, to give our Just between the team to, to, to speak up about how it went, what went wrong, right. Yeah. And then when we completely finalized the sprint, then we started New Spring in the planning. Yeah. So it was hard to put all these meetings in in the morning, right.

To accommodate everyone. But. Just recently, after like seven months, we were able to finally, and we kept going back and forth, moving the meetings from, yeah, different days, different times. And finally the team agreed to have them early in the morning and have all three meetings and that sequence.

First we’re gonna have the review, close the sprint, then have the right show to talk about how the sprint went. And then finally start a new sprint in the planning. Yeah. So, yeah. And so you are right now doing it like in one day, kind of in Yeah, in the early morning. Okay. Yeah. Yes, because I remember that you had to like put the review at a different day and it was like 24 hours away, right?

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Zahava:

And, and the team was saying, we don’t see any value. Why, why we, even the sprinter finish, why we need to have that sprint review

this time Doesn’t make sense. Yeah. So it really made sense when me, as a ski master, I, I, I really understood the, the value of that meeting for the team.

I told them, team, we must have that. Before we close this frame so we can discuss with the stakeholders. All our dependencies, all the blockers, any issues that we have, it should be before we close the sprint and then have a retro between us to discuss Right. More personal. So the team agreed and they saw more value in it, and yeah.

Daria:

It worked out. So how is it going right now? Do they like everybody’s enjoying this so far? Yes. At least. Yes. Well, actually it

Zahava:

just started last week, so I also told the team, team, it’s still not consistent, but it’s gonna happen. We still weren’t sure how to do the sprint review with the stakeholders. It was new for everyone.

But we actually got a good feedback from the stakeholders. They came and, and it was very transparent. We opened Jira, we still had a couple of carryovers and, and we just, Just discussed everything as, as we were discussed with the team. We also discussed it with the stakeholders and they were very happy, how transparent and we were.

Yeah. And, and there were a couple of decisions that we made right there that the stakeholders helped us, right. With their, you know feedback. And the team did live demonstration of what we have built during the sprint, and it was very actual. We, the team liked that a lot. They, they, nice. Yeah.

It was a good Value for them.

Daria:

Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that’s great. That’s a good story and I guess motivation for other Scrum masters who are like right now struggling with having sprint reviews. Yeah,

Zahava:

yeah, because the team didn’t have sprint reviews, but the team didn’t even have a scru master before for that team that I have working already for seven months already.

They didn’t have a scru master before. It was a new team that was built and the product owner was doing both roles. The team was very small. But now that work has started escalating, they brought me the scoutmaster and the team has grown new team members. The team’s now big so. Having a sprint review is very, was very helpful for the team, right?

Yeah. To stop our work and, and review, analyze, right? Mm-hmm. What was done during the sprint. So that was something that I’m proud that as a team we’ve accomplished, but now I have a lot of work to do with the other team.

Daria:

Yeah. So, Did you already do like a review, an assessment of what’s going on in this other team that you’re working with?

Zahava:

Not yet. This is what actually you I would like to do to sit down and actually write, right. This is what you mean to, yeah. To have that assessment of where the team stands and where we should, yeah. So tell me some about this. How, how long do I need to have that assessment? When should I. Start seeing improvements?

Do I need to have reports for myself? Where are we improving? Like from your experience, how do you use this assessment

Daria:

report? Yeah, so I generally like to spend at least like. From two weeks to a month to really look into, into how the team is working, at least one full sprint that you want to go over and just observe.

Instead of maybe jumping into a sprint retrospective and facilitating it, you just let them do, do it, and observe what’s going on. So I’d say a a few weeks. Honestly, I think that that’s a reasonable amount of time because obviously you want to see how they work. You want to meet with everyone on the team, kind of to chat with them, to figure out what’s going on, what kind of problems they’re facing, right?

And then, okay, this assessment, I use it not only for myself, but actually as something that I can then talk. About with Z, right? So I’ll have like a presentation and I will do a quick presentation to the team saying, here are a few things that I have noted. You know, do you agree? Do you disagree? Here are maybe the biggest challenges that I have identified that I want us to, that actually like the way to put it, that I want to help you resolve, right?

Because that’s what really is happening. That’s why you’re there. Yeah. And often that actually also creates trust with the team because it shows to them that you have understood really what the challenges they’re facing because you will most likely highlight all of the things they’re already aware of.

Zahava:

Yeah. And, and I feel this team in particular really appreciates when I really trying to, to help or understands them right. That we, we build a connection like that. They they really thankful. They’re like, oh, good, now is the team together, we’re gonna work. Cuz they feel they’re, there are problems that needs to be resolved.

Mm-hmm. And they feel like I’m, I’m this external. Personnel coming in. And, and I’m not against them. I’m not trying, I’m not managing them or anything. I’m, I’m just like a friend, you know, a team member. We’re working together, you know, to improve. So, so I see, I, I think we’re gonna have a good collaboration and if I’m gonna have that assessment together, we can, you know, you know, analyze these issues that they’re having and work on them.

So, yeah.

Daria:

Yeah. And mm-hmm. And I think that that will help you identify, I guess, where to start as well. As you say, well it can get very overwhelming at the beginning. There’s so many things that you see. Exactly. And so when you put it on paper, it kind of lays it out. Right, exactly. Gives you some structure.

Zahava:

Yeah. And you’re not overwhelmed all over the place where to start. So this is a good point. Thank you Daria. I’ll definitely do that. I started with them, with this team just. Two weeks and there’s just so much going on in the, in the company right now that I still didn’t get the chance to sit down and, and write down these things that we would like to improve as a team.

Daria:

Yeah. So that’s gonna be a good starting point. Yeah, definitely.

Zahava:

Definitely. Do you have any other questions on?

Daria:

Yeah, actually I did because last time we talked, I, I think we had a really good conversation around getting ready, like preparing for this talk here today. And one of the things you mentioned at the time, you were saying that there is one important point is that when you’re coming into the company, right, you’re hired, well, you were hired as a scrum master.

Specifically for the role of a Scrum master, but once you join, there’s much more that actually was needed. Right. And then you’re talking about how every company has a different set of kind of requests and expectations that come with the role as well, and that you quickly had to jump on so many other different things and kind of start putting on other hats.

As a scrum master Yes. To help not only just one team, but the company as a whole. So I’d like you to kind of talk a bit more about that, what your experience was this.

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Zahava:

Okay. Yeah, so from my previous experience, I felt like a scrum master as some responsibilities. And then when I joined this new company it was so overwhelming because they had.

So many other expectations that I, I didn’t expect, right? Mm-hmm. And it was very scary to me. I, I couldn’t perform very good. I thought there was something that I’m doing. Maybe I’m not a good scrum master, right? I kept comparing myself that in the company there’s. Maybe better school masters. So it was a little bit too much for me.

And I even thought about quitting. I said this, I, I don’t want this. I said, I want I can find myself a different job that will have less, less requirements for me. Right. I don’t need to, to do what they’re asking me. I can go to another company and. Have and just do my four ceremonies, the daily mm-hmm.

The, the planning, the review in the retro and it’s gonna be less stressful. But then I, then I told myself, let me, let me even analyze myself. I took a break and then I said, how can I improve? To be a better scrum master and, and accept their, their expectations for me, right? Mm-hmm. So I, I started having meetings with, with leadership, with with directors.

And I, and I, I took the initiative to come up to them first and asked them, what is your expectations for me, me as a scrum master, I know I. I just work with my team, right? I, I work with them as a coach, right? As a guide. We’re working together and improving reaching our sprinkles. This is my, my responsibility as Scrum master.

Be transparent with me. I ask the directors, the leadership to be transparent with me. What are their expectations? Because they started firing Scrum masters here. Mm-hmm. Saying you’re, you don’t do your job. Right. So before someone came up to me and, and fired me, I said, I came up to them first and I told them, tell me what are you expecting from me?

Right? Mm-hmm. As a scrum master here in Thiss Company, and I’m willing to, to take your requirements and expectations and work on them and be it right. I don’t wanna quit. Yeah. I wanna, I wanna do it. So part of the things that they asked me was first of all, I, I, I was. Supposed to coordinate releases, right?

Something that usually Scrum master don’t do. Mm-hmm. Was supposed to work more like a project manager, be more involved in And the technical issues. Right? Yeah. And, and get teams together where this is something that scam master do, but they expected me to be a little bit more, more involved into.

Mm-hmm. Cause from my previous experience, you a scar master doesn’t really need to know the technical things the developers have, you know, having their issues. They should work these issues between themselves, between the developers, and And so it was new to me that I was, so now I needed to learn all these technical words to, to show them that I’m, you know, I know what they’re talking about, right?

Yeah. To be more involved. So it was something new to me. I, so I took it up upon myself to to work together with leadership and, and meet their expectations and, and grow my skills right to, yeah. So, right. So one of the things that I needed to work on myself was public speaking here in this company, they’re expecting from the Scrum Masters to facilitate everything everyone is sitting, you know, with their hands like that.

And expecting the Scrum Masters to host all the meetings and, and lead all these, you know, conversations. So that was also a little bit Maybe personally for me, it was new to me. Yeah. So I had to work on my public speaking skills on communication. Right. Yeah. I, I was supposed to come to meetings and lead.

I understood that I’m, I’m the one that’s leading this conversation. Right. So that was another thing for me, leading the, and also coaching, coaching the team. I understood for the team to listen to me and, and and respect me. Yeah. I needed to come with confidence and believe in what I say. Right.

Because if you believe in yourself and, and you know what you’re talking about, your team will respect you. And, and you know, you’re gonna have mutual respect and you’re gonna together work on on any issues or discrepancies that we have. So these are the couple of things that I needed to work on to succeed in this role, in this company.

Mm-hmm. So this is from a little bit from my experience. Yeah. Yeah.

Daria:

Oh, there are a lot of those extra, I guess, skills that come up and that maybe we don’t really think about. I originally, when we think about the role of the scrum master, right,

Zahava:

so from your experience, what are your you working as a scrum master, what are your roles that you usually do on a daily for your team?

Daria:

Well, now that you’re talking about that kind of public speaking part, that definitely Kind of like a little bulb for me as well. Maybe not necessarily like public speaking as an in front of a, you know, like a audience, A TEDx speaker. Yeah. Yeah. Yes. But it’s more about really be able, like be present.

And that’s true that right now I’m working with the team and they, they are really, are looking to me to help them. Really facilitate those meetings, like be productive in the meetings. So you have to put yourself out there, you have to kind of stand in sometimes and, you know, be the one to sometimes ask questions and just be able to lead.

And often it’s. So I don’t know if that is something the same for you, but for me, that kind of improvisation, that has to happen basically every time. True. It is. It is a lot. Sometimes, you know, like I sometimes jump on a meeting. I’m like, I totally. You need to lead it because like the product owner is leading this one.

Yeah. And then somewhere in the middle of the meetings like, oh, Daria, what do you think? Yeah. And then, and they’re like, okay. Yeah. I hope I was listening correctly. Understood what they were talking about. Sure, sure, sure. You have to like, be able to improvise and, you know, come up with the right questions and be able to jump on, on, into a discussion.

Sometimes a bit more technical. I mean, not as a developer, of course they’re not asking for that. But

Zahava:

yeah. You know what helped me with in this I used to, when I started with this company, I used to join the meetings just because, so there was a meeting, I was just joined, but then I understood that I.

Every meeting has a purpose. Okay? We’re not, nobody’s wasting their time. If I’m joining a meeting, we need to get something out of it. So first of all, I started working on my skills. I started taking courses on project management. Mm-hmm. Because you need that skill too, right? I’m not a project manager, but you need to have these skills of a project man management, right?

So I started joining meetings with the mindset of. What’s the goal of this meeting? What are we trying to get out of it? And then automatically I would listen and, and I would have questions cause I wanna understand what, what’s the point of this, of this meeting that we’re having? Right? Yeah. And it’s very important to be present, ask the right questions, because you, as a master, you need to do that little research, right?

Mm-hmm. Have these notes. What did you get out of every meeting? So that was for me, it was important for me to work on, on that skill. Yeah. To be involved in these meetings and really understand what the team is talking about during the meeting. Right. Yeah, because you need you at the end of the day, everyone finished talking, but you are gonna be the one that’s summarizing.

Okay. Team. And so this is the conclusion, please. You, you, and you need to meet the and, right. You need to be the put together the action items. Yeah. Understand. So

Daria:

yeah. Help others to actually get it all together. Because sometimes people are like, Okay, well this is the end of the meeting. I’m like, well, wait a minute.

Yeah. What are the next steps?

Zahava:

Exactly,

Daria:

exactly right. To kind of keeping everyone on track. Yes, that.

Zahava:

So I would definitely recommend that helped me a lot also take coaching sessions with you, right? Because you’re a professional that’s been in this role for a long time. So discussing these things you, you can continuously need to improve just like you’re trying to improve your team.

You yourself need to improve yourself, your skills. Yeah. You gotta better your skills, right? Yeah. Have a mentor for me. You were my mentor that helped me. You know every time I came up to you with a different, with a new issue that I was having, and you gave me that confidence, things that I was insecure about myself.

Yeah. Right. Yeah. We, we spoke about it, so it was very helpful. I would definitely recommend to have a mentor that’s helping a scrub master along the way, and Yeah, having some courses too. Yeah.

Daria:

Let, let’s, I think that’s a, a, a good that kind of segue you talked about the, some of the insecurities that we’re, we were talking about while we were having the mentorship sessions and one of the topics that we often came back to was that kind of confidence.

So I wanted to ask you about that, that, that confidence and kind of what does it mean for you in this role and the. Like, how do you even develop it, you know, scrum master.

Zahava:

Yeah. So that was one of the challenges when I became a scrum master. I didn’t even think I changed my career from an accountant to a scru master.

And I’ve never in my life thought that I’m gonna need these skills of, of con even the most basic thing and confidence, because working as an accountant, all you do, you just, on your computer, you’re like the developer, right? You don’t need, you don’t need to talk to no one. You’re just doing your job. And then when I started working as a scrum master, it’s like a leadership role because mm-hmm.

You’re, you’re leading your teams, right? You’re coaching them. The people look up to you, right? Yeah. You’re not a manager, but you still, you’re there to like lead the team. That’s all right. Mm-hmm. So it was scary to me that first time working with a team. And mm-hmm. And I understood that first I need to accept myself, believe in myself, and only then the team will trust me.

And, and like I said, have that mutual respect with me. So building my personal confidence, I stopped comparing myself to other school masters and I said, let me be laser focused on my skills, how I can be better, right? Yeah. Not sit and cry that I’m not a good s ski master, but what can I do to be a good s ski master?

So I, I started. Reading books, watching YouTube videos. I, I started, you know, taking sessions with you. I took Udemy courses that mm-hmm. Very helpful. Right? Because they, they, there’s a lot of courses that you can take on public speaking on. Even technical like, like the developer, I, I started researching the developer terminology to be more involved with them.

So that started building up my confidence, right? And that helped. I, I, my voice even became more confident when I, I was talking to the teams in meetings, right? So. That helps a lot when you work on yourself and improve every day. That helps.

Daria:

Yeah, that, yeah. That’s great. I’m pretty sure we’re gonna get some questions in the audience about the courses that you took, so I think I’m gonna ask you for some extra links, you know, that we can add into

Zahava:

the show.

I will. I will. Yes. I have a lot.

Daria:

That’s good. Yeah. Yes. Well verified and tried. Right. Things that helped you on the way.

Zahava:

Yes. Every issue that I had, instead of complaining about it, I was right away going in and, and researching and seeing how I can improve that. Yeah. Yeah. So that really helps for any s School master, because as an accountant you didn’t really need these skills, you know?

Daria:

Yeah. So that’s good. I, I think there are some skills that you don’t really realize that you need until you are actually kind of thrown into that. Yeah. On the job. Because even people who are hiring you might not actually know what skills you need.

Zahava:

True. That’s why they’re they want people with experience, they want people with confidence that they know what their I remember when they hired me here, the manager was, so every, the company here is very fast paced.

Right. And they re, they did not have squames. It was after the pandemic. And they, they, this work started escalating. So they thought, I’m, I’m gonna bring ESAs and they’re gonna fix all of our problems here. And, and so the, the, as soon as I came, he didn’t even ask me questions. He just told me their problems.

And they said, please just come and, and you know, you’re gonna help us. You already know what you’re gonna do. Right. And it was such a big. How’d say it? It was big on me, right? Yeah. I’m saying people relying on me, so I need to come and, and make these changes, though I, it felt a little bit overwhelming.

Yeah. But with time, yeah. Everything got

Daria:

Better. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I think another question I had was about, so you were an accountant, right? And you became a scrum master and I’m pretty sure people would really like to know kind of how did this transition happen? How did you manage to, you know, switch the role and get into the scrum master role?

Zahava: Yeah, so I was an accountant for a couple of years and I worked in good companies. Only the best companies and, but it was just so stressful. The busy seasons as an accountant was too much. I have two, two babies, so it was hard and, and I, I didn’t even have passion in this job. I was working as an accountant and it felt so just the same thing every day.

And then when I, I was introduced to Agile, to Scrum and one of the companies that I work with it mm-hmm. It, I, I fell in love with that way of working and, and then I learned about this role of a scrum master and mm-hmm. And I just loved it because it was very similar to my just personal life, right?

Mm-hmm. The sprints, it’s everything is this very frequent delivery, right? Yeah. You have this two week sprint. We stop, we analyze what happened, we see how we can improve in, in our retros, right? And then we plan for another sprint. So I just love that, the idea of how, how we work. And I just fell in love with that role.

I started taking courses and, and now I feel like very open. I feel like there’s so many possibilities with with that role. And, and I don’t wanna go back

Daria:

to accounting. So did you go to, like, did you switch into the role into, in that company that you worked for as an

Zahava:

accountant? No, I, I took some time off.

Mm-hmm. And then I wanted to, to change my career, so I took couple of months to, to study the whole scrum role to see if I even like it. And then, yeah. And I fell in love with it. I fell in love with it. Yeah. It’s, it’s interesting because as, as I was working on because it gave me skills that I never knew that I, I, I needed, right?

Mm-hmm. Is what I mentioned. It gave me, I started learning new things that I’ve never knew that I needed, which is speaking up and public speaking and, and all these. Good things that everyone should have. Really. Yeah.

Daria:

Yeah, definitely. Did you, how, how hard was it, I guess, to switch into that role? I know that you, because you were an accountant, you didn’t really have like a relevant experience in this Cru master role,

Zahava:

so it was very hard.

It was, it was challenging because in the beginning I didn’t even understand the point of the ceremonies. I was just doing them just because it is told to do. Right? Mm-hmm. Like scar master should do the four ceremonies, but then when you, so that was my biggest challenge. I didn’t understand. Really the role of a core master, how I need to lead my teams, right?

And but with time as like, as I mentioned, as I started improving myself and learning more and more about this role, and I understood that every meeting has a value, right? Mm-hmm. Where we have our daily meetings, not just to come here and everyone’s gonna give their status. No, we wanna make sure. We have a plan for the day.

We’re progressing to our, towards our spring goal. Right. I started understanding the, the, the goal of each meeting and it became more interesting. Now I come to the meeting and, and everyone know why we are here. Mm-hmm. Right? Yeah. So we time that challenge is yeah.

Daria:

Yeah. What about the job market?

Zahava: What do you mean about the job market?

Daria: Well, kind of when you were switching, right? I think a lot of people right now are struggling when they do what you do, right? So they, they learn about it, they maybe get the certification and then they’re like, okay, well no one wants to hire me because I only have certification, but I actually don’t have like a scrum master experience, right?

And everybody wants someone who. As we talk, right? Yeah. Someone experienced already. So they kind of expect someone who comes in. And I think a lot of people are struggling to, how do I present myself to my potential employers in such a way that even if I don’t have experience, they want to hire me.

Yeah, that’s interesting

Zahava:

question. I would definitely recommend, first of all, work with agency. Right. Mm-hmm. Because some companies, they don’t even wanna pay too much money to experience five years experience Scrum master, right? Because they’re gonna have to pay them a lot. Some companies will just need a scrum master to organize the team to do these little ceremonies work the Agile way, right?

Some, if you work with an agency, they can maybe find these companies that can. Hire you if, even if you don’t have any experience and, and and you need to work on your speech, on elevate your speech on how you present yourself. You even need to present yourself to that agency. And when you have that first initial interview, you need to show them what value you bring, even if you don’t have experience.

But that company might love you just because of your personality, because of your motivation you telling them. Why you really love Scrum, so you really need to build that. That was, I, I sat down when I was looking for a job and I was look thinking, what value will I bring, right? Mm-hmm. So, so yeah, that’s very important to build that.

Beside your resume, you just also need to sell yourself and what value you bring Yeah. To, to

Daria:

the company. That is a great, great advice. Yeah, definitely. We often spend so much time on like updating our resume and profile and getting all of the certifications, but then. The real challenge comes in where you need to present yourself.

And if you are not haven’t worked on that, it’s gonna be hard to, even if you have a perfect resume,

Zahava:

yeah. That’s where confidence comes from. You need to believe in yourself. You need to know what you’re doing. You need to know your role as a scrum master. What are you gonna come when you gonna do?

Right. Mm-hmm. So you need to research a lot. Learn about it, really do that personal research for yourself. Yeah. What value you bring. Yeah.

Daria:

Yeah. So, awesome. Great. Well, I think it’s been a really lovely conversation. For you today. Thank you. I have, I think I have one question. Last one is, okay. What would be, I guess, one tip that you would give to Scrum Masters for listening to us on how to be become more successful?

Zahava:

You know, definitely keep improving every day. It is definitely gonna be my my number one tip that helped me, and when I say improving yourself, is by learning every day taking courses, mentors, and anything that work on your skills and analyze what skills you need to be better at your job. So what do you really need?

To become the best comm master. If you need to work on your communication skills, if you need to work on your leadership skills if you need to work on your confidence, work on yourself, don’t compare yourself to no one and, and continue just being focused on on yourself. Yeah, that’ll be my, my advice.

Daria:

Awesome. Great advice. I love it. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for coming on the show and thank you Daria. I’ll hopefully see you soon in some other way. Yes, as well.

Zahava:

Thank you.

šŸ“Œ Courses recommended by Zahava

One of the things that Zahava talked about is taking online classes to learn some skills she needed to be successful. Find the list of courses she recommends below:

Thank you for tuning in to today’s episode.

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You can find the transcript and the show notes on my blog.

And I’ll see you in the next episode. Cheers and Scrum on

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About The Author

Hi, my name is Daria Bagina. Iā€™m a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org and a practicing Scrum Master. I help teams and organizations to get the most out of the Scrum and Agile implementation by sharing my personal stories and practical advice.

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