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I recently returned from a local Agile conference and noticed an overarching concept that was being brought up time and time again…the checklist.  We all like lists and all enjoy the feeling of checking something off our list.  Not sure what it is, but there is some rush associated with accomplishing something that was written down electronically or otherwise.  However handy a list is, there is, or should be, context associated with each item on a list.

The example that sticks out most is the Agile checklist that was handed out by a vendor at the conference.  While it did not make any claims that if you followed this list, you’d be Agile, there was no mistaking that this checklist was intended for a ScrumMaster or someone with that title, could take it from meeting to meeting and simply check the boxes.

Yes, is it good to cover certain parameters in certain ceremonies…absolutely.  Do you need a checklist to remind you of that?  I should hope not.  So what is the intent?  Is the goal to hand this checklist over to someone that has little to no experience in Agile and assume that this is what you need to be a successful ScrumMaster?  That was my takeaway.  I feel and I should hope most people feel that the ScrumMaster is more than just a person that goes through a checklist every day.

I am not looking to defend my role and responsibility within the organization, as that comes out through my day to day work.  However, I do feel that companies are misguided thinking that they can simply take these simple steps in order to become an effective organization within the Agile community.

Your job is more than a series of checklists.  Agile is more than a series of checklists.  So why does everyone want to work so hard in trying to create checklists to ensure successful adoption of Agile?

Oh, to not misguide you, here are my four simple steps in becoming a GREAT ScrumMaster.

  1. Throw out the checklist.
  2. Get trained by the experts.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice.
  4. Get involved in the community.