I’m a Junior Software Developer Slash Scrum Master. Only two of those words are actually in my job title, but that’s basically what I do.

I started this journey in a very different place. My first job outside retail was at a small email marketing agency called Spike. I had some HTML experience already, though minimal email coding experience, which turned out to be a whole different beast. They took me under their wing, however, and soon I had a firm grip of coding for email.

I moved on to a hybrid role of about 60% email marketing and 40% front end development at a creative agency called Image Centre Group, now known simply as ICG. I was introduced to the wonders of JavaScript and circled around the strange world of backend development. Communication skills skyrocketed as I was in hot demand throughout the business, being the sole person looking after email marketing for about 40 clients.

A brief reprieve at a car rental company, where miscommunication led to a role misadvertised. We won’t talk about this lapse in judgement on both sides.

Then I joined the ranks of software developers at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and my little monkey brain just about exploded. I was thrown into the deep end of C# backend development, JavaScript development using Kendo, unit testing, Agile and more specifically Scrum. I am surrounded by people who have learned a great deal over the years, who are willing to share this knowledge, and who are still thirsting for more knowledge. And to top it all off, I put up my hand to be a Scrum Master during my first or second month, a decision made very much in the moment, mostly because I wanted to be proactive and try something new. It’s a decision that has affected my time at this company a great deal, but I believe it has only been positive.

Coming from a background of mostly waterfall management, Scrum was certainly eye opening to me. I’m not going to pretend I’m suddenly a guru on all things Agile, but I’m learning quickly, and I would like to share this learning journey with you, o’ reader who has made it this far down the article!

The last week or two have been especially crucial. My manager and I went to a local meetup about Agile basics and mingled a little afterwards with some of the other attendees. Something that really resonated with me during the presentation is that Scrum in particular is brutally honest. It’s all about transparency and making decisions around impediments, issues, and making sure things go as smoothly as possible.

Just the other day I met up with a fellow Scrum Master in the company, who led me through some of his recurring responsibilities and activities. There is of course the facilitating of Scrum ceremonies — sprint planning, sprint review, sprint retrospective — and making sure stand up happens every morning, but there’s much more to it than I initially realised.

A big part of your job as Scrum Master comes down to looking after your team. Not in the way a project manager might, but more like a good friend. You look out for them, try and mediate conflicts, remove any obstacles the team might run into, be a first point of contact for people outside the team, and so on. Because you are not a manager, you’re part of the team. Especially when you’re half Scrum Master, half developer like me.

As I mentioned at the start of this article, I’m a Junior Dev and a Junior Scrum Master, so I’m looking for any opportunities to improve. What has your experience been with Scrum? What have you appreciated in a Scrum Master, or what did you wish they did? What about those of you who have been in the role of Scrum Master yourselves, what have your experiences been like? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time.