The Scrum Master is typically seen as a team coach and a kind of process owner in a project. Scrum masters work to create a balance between the key stakeholder demands in a project and guide the team to deliver the best performance possible.
A scrum master’s responsibilities generally involve removal of barriers to progress, scheduling, facilitating meetings and handling product backlog among others.
Though scrum masters are pretty adept at what they do, there are certain things that they could learn from artists, specifically jazz artists, in order to further enhance their job performance. Let’s have a look at some of the lessons that scrum masters could learn and use in project management.
Skilled collaborative jazz artists are extremely good at self-alignment. It is common sense that self-alignment is key to synergy. So what exactly is self-alignment? If you’ve ever had the opportunity to attend a jam session, you would know how musicians work. You will often hear them saying something like “Hey, why don’t you try playing that part while I play this and then introduce the bass?”
This kind of self-alignment allows a team of musicians who’ve never played together to actually create brilliant tunes. It offers a proper framework that all team members can depend on.
Priority to team success
It’s true that each individual jazz artist is looking to excel in their art. However, they also realize that it is important not to overshadow or outshine their team members. This is another crucial lesson for scrum masters. A scrum master must realize that similar to the jazz band, it is critical for the entire team to look good and not just the individual members. This means each member must help the other in the process of project completion rather than focusing on his/her individual success.
A lot of scrum masters, like jazz musicians, manage to get a solid framework in place. But the work doesn’t stop here. It is the team of musicians that implements the framework. Working towards excellence over the duration of their music career is the mark of a good artist. A scrum master can learn something quite useful from a jazz musician in the sense of developing skills and then defining and reevaluating them consistently through the course of their career. If you are aiming for mastery, whether in music or in project management, you need to go beyond just designing the framework.
Jam sessions are actually all about active listening. If you attend a music-making session, you will observe that these artists really make an effort to hear each other out. And this is done constantly throughout the session. Scrum masters can also facilitate this sort of communication among team members and encourage active listening for making processes smoother and more effective.
Here is a completely fresh perspective on project management and how scrum masters can take clues from jazz artists and improve upon their existing project execution skills.