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Anyone interested in recruiting Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches should read this 🔬
I believe that the years of experience (seniority) in the role do not matter, yet experience matters. Same thing? I recruited change agents for a few companies, and these are my thoughts👇🏼
#1: I’ve seen SMs with many years of experience yet did not have the skills I would see as the base requirements (e.g. working with org or not shying away from conflicts) and ones that had only few (or none) who did.
#2: Some seniors tend to force their ideas onto people. They know better or create this ‘guru’ vibe around them. This hinders their learning as well as their teams’ or orgs. It creates more errors than needed, yet people tend to follow their self-confidence and not question it.
#3: Five years in one company does not equal five years in another. When I worked with a team of 24 Scrum Masters (miss you all!), I learned more in 3 years than in 6 years in another company working alone. The recruiters agreed with me. The learning curve was huge.
👀 What I looked for instead (among many) you can read below. I strive to hold myself accountable for the same. No, I do not always succeed. That said, through years of trying I built a mindset I’m proud of yet continue to see myself as a student. What I search for:
#1: Impact — what did an SM achieve with the product, delivery, environment, and their teams? How did they change the status quo or make a difference? Why did they choose this path and not the other? How did they improve product value, and people’s well-being or cut waste?
#2: Navigating the organisation — not focusing solely on the team but being able to work on (and through) all levels. Not giving up easily, seeing the big picture and being able to zoom for the detail. Able to converse with executive suit as well as individual Developers.
#3: Ego-less listeners — people not scared to fail and get up, listening more than “preaching”. People who can understand when they are in the wrong and can admit it. Those that learn from others, make mistakes and learn from them. Not lone riders but working as a team.
#4 Rebels — people who can hold different views and argument them in a conversation. People asking for forgiveness rather than permission while having company’s business in mind. At the same time, being able to do it with respect and kindness rather than false pride or aggression.
👉🏼Look for real skills, not titles or years. Even if a person did not hold the title before but has past experience, that might come in handy — give them a chance. Yes, years might be there to simplify the search, but you might be missing out a lot or mistaking them for talent.