Scrum master is a career path that open source enthusiasts should consider. Here’s what a day in the life of one looks like.
Turning a love of open source communities into a career is possible, and there are plenty of directions you can take. The path I’m on these days is as a scrum master.
Scrum is a framework in which software development teams deliver working software in increments of 30 days or less called “sprints.” There are three roles: scrum master, product owner, and development team. A scrum master is a facilitator, coach, teacher/mentor, and servant/leader that guides the development team through executing the scrum framework correctly. More open source career advice
The scrum master heads up the daily scrum, sprint planning, sprint review, and sprint retrospectives. As a scrum master, you also remove impediments and help the team to become self-organizing and empowered to create, innovate, and make decisions for themselves as a unit. As a scrum master with a full list of responsibilities, I appreciate a well-organized daily schedule—here’s what mine looks like.
A day in the life of a scrum master
5:00am—Wake up and go to the gym for at least 45 minutes, but given the fact that we are working from home now, I will either walk/run on the treadmill or jump rope for 30 minutes
5:45am—Shower and get dressed
6:15am—Have some breakfast and make coffee or espresso
6:40am—Drive into work (or go for a walk around the neighborhood when working remotely)
7:00am—I get to work and clean up the team room before the team gets in (for remote work, I clean up our team wiki)
8:00am—Read emails and respond to priority emails from the team, team manager, or agile coach
8:45am —Get a caffeine refill from the break room
9:00am—Check in with the team and review the team’s scrum board in Jira (or another open source alternative) just to see if there are any patterns of behavior I might need to address. Modify the team’s impediment board if any impediments have been removed.
10:00am—Daily scrum (time-boxed for 15 minutes)
10:15am—Discuss parking lot items following the scrum
11:00am—Meet with the team’s manager/leadership, or facilitate a community of practice or brown bag lunch around topics such as effective engineering practices
12:00pm—Lunch meeting or coffee with a product owner
1:00pm—Lunch (30 minutes is more than enough time for me)
1:30pm—Possible tasks include facilitating a backlog refinement event leading up to sprint planning, sprint review/demo, or sprint retrospective
2:30pm—Meet with test automation or DevSecOps team
3:00pm—Facilitate a team-building workshop
4:00pm—Final check-ins with the team and then answer final emails
4:30pm—Update the team’s scrum journal
5:00pm—Layout my to-do list for the next day
I had been in traditional IT for many years prior to becoming a scrum master. I eventually decided that I could use other skills such as my business experience and management experience to work with software development and DevOps teams to create high-performing teams.
Software/DevOps teams use scrum to deliver software incrementally, yet faster and with a high level of quality and sustainability. To me, it was a great decision. Being a scrum master is also about removing impediments. I coach the team on how to solve their own problems, but if it becomes necessary, I will step in and help resolve the issues.
The scrum master role is fun, exciting, and fulfilling, but also pressure-filled and stressful sometimes. But it ultimately, it is worth it to me, as I get to see my teams grow and not only deliver best in class software, but become better people.