No tech background, starting out as a Scrum Master - need advice

Hello all!

I have a background in healthcare and love tech (I’ve partnered with various dev teams to create healthcare based apps and software) - I’m finding that I’m loving the tech side more than the actual practice of medicine. So I signed up for the Scrum Master course and loved it! But…

I am a bit nervous to get into doing scrum work because of my lack of experience in tech - ie lingo, technical knowledge base, etc.

I was told that the typical way to start out is to do contract work as a Scrum Master, but I’m a bit worried to just jump into it. I just don’t want to shoot myself in the foot by being unprepared and don’t want to wing it - however, I do understand from the course about Empirical Process in Scrum…learning from experience.

Any tips or suggestions on how to be more “prepared” before my first scrum role or just jump into it and make the mistakes and gain the experience? Also, how forgiving are teams/companies with new Scrum Masters new(ish) to tech?

Thanks!

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Hey Andrew, that’s great you’re enjoying the tech side and are excited to put your knowledge from class to work! I’d say there’s no dichotomy here between being minimally prepared and ‘just jumping into it’: Do both! The class you just took is designed to give you the basic working knowledge, now it’s up to you to gain the experience by applying it - that’s the best anyone can do. For tips and tricks, check out our Knowledge Base here: Knowledge Base | Agile.ai

As for how forgiving teams and companies are, from my perspective as a trainer and coach, most companies have a long way to go in comprehending the basic mechanics of Scrum and often haven’t fully articulated the ‘why’ they’re trying it, so you can help there, too.

With Scrum (as with much of Agile) there’s a bias for action: Plan as little as necessary to get you to the doing, which is where the learning happens and real knowledge is created. AKA: Empiricism. Good luck!

@andrewassad thanks for writing! I find each organization is a little different in practice…some orgs have a good sense of what agile is all about and realize there needs to be a culture that allows people to try stuff, maybe not knock it out of the park, learn and try again. In those orgs you would do great!

Other organizations are doing agile in name only, they tend to have more caustic cultures that demand high performance all the time, I imagine those orgs may be a little less forgiving if you’re learning on the job.

With that said doing some contract work will rapidly accelerate your learning curve and give you a chance to start working with a company and establish yourself with no baggage from a previous role you might have filled. I personally don’t have any qualms about contract vs fte when I’m debating a job, the contract rate just needs to reflect the risk you’re taking on and the added cost of benefits and stuff like that.

To be able to coach a team you really just have to be one step ahead! If you can stay connected with a group like this and hit some CoP’s I think you’ll find you have all you need to be successful in that role!

Thanks Luke for the insight, I really appreciate it! Definitely the course helped with getting me more comfortable and as one who loves to solve problems right away, I will remember to slow down, wait and listen and to follow empirical process! Thanks!!

Thanks Danny for the insight as well; it confirmed my thoughts on starting out doing contract work to get immersed in the experience and helping with the learning curve. Also, thanks for the encouragement, I appreciate it!

Hi - Thought I would share this Miro board that depicts the Scrum Master landscape and may be of use to you. Miro | Online Whiteboard for Visual Collaboration

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@jeremy.hanson Love the board thanks for sharing!

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