‘Scrum Master’ Definition

A person who organises an agile team in the modern workplace. They review the previous day, set an agenda for the forthcoming working day, and help the team to stay focused, together and strong. They make changes quickly, responding to the daily work dynamics.

About Catherine

Today we speak with Catherine McGrath who joined Neueda in 2017 as a Scrum Master and is currently working with a client on an Insurance Surety Bond management application.

What’s it like to be a Scrum Master?

My day begins by holding a Daily Stand-up with all members of the team – the product owner, developers and analysts.  This Agile team is geographically dispersed with the product owner and business located in multiple US offices and the technology team based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Advances in technology allows the team to connect with ease and most of our meetings are conducted using either Skype or video conferencing.  Virtual communication allows our international team members to communicate instantly, share computer screens and files and collaborate effectively with our team members. It’s a powerful tool for us in terms of strengthening relationships, boosting collaboration and enhancing the productivity of our distributed team.

In the Daily Stand-up, we cover the current status of all work inflight with each team member reporting on what they accomplished yesterday and their planned tasks for today. This is the forum for team members to raise any blockers that could impact the project plan. A crucial part of my role is to remove these impediments for the team.

My current project involves multiple development teams working on a single product family. With this being a Scaled-Agile environment, there are also Scrum-of-Scrum meetings. I attend these meetings to relay the work my team are doing and discuss any possible impact across other teams and the wider business.

I also facilitate and ensure Story Refinement sessions occur regularly, encouraging collaboration between the product owner and developers on next priority items to be addressed. During this session, requirements are reviewed and refined, and any risks are carefully managed and mitigated.

Each week, we have a Retrospective meeting, to reflect on the week gone by. This is an opportunity for the team to discuss together what we felt went well and not so well and define any actions agreed by the team that will lead to changes or improvements in the next iteration.

We have demos with the product owner and occasionally other stakeholders including the ultimate users of the application. This offers opportunities for the development team to showcase any new features and enhancements and for the product owner and users to easily provide feedback.

I always encourage two-way feedback from the team. Communication is key in an agile team.

What excites you about working at Neueda?

Working at Neueda gives me a real sense of ownership. Neueda gives me the freedom to demonstrate my skills and express myself creatively. They have trust in me, which allows me to work with our clients in the way I know best.

Neueda gives me autonomy, respects my skill set and empowers me to deliver.

What do you love about your role?

There are many things I enjoy about my role:

– I love interacting with people across different teams and working with a variety of colleagues

– I really like the coaching aspect of being a scrum master, helping people to recognise and maximise both their own potential and that of the team

– I think installing and maintaining best practice is key to the success of individuals and the wider team

Any Final Thoughts?

I love the variety of my work and I’m never, ever bored – no two days are ever the same!

Stay tuned to our Neueda Life blog series to find out more about the experiences of our dedicated team.