One Week in the Life of our Scrum Master

Scrum at tracekey solutions. A week in the life of our scrum master/Eine Woche im Leben unserer Scrum Masterin.

Time doesn’t usually pass by that quickly for our Scrum Master, Friederike Ehmer. In this article, we’ll accompany her during five key meetings, and take a closer look at her day-to-day work and collaboration at tracekey. But first, let’s start with general information about agile practices and Scrum.

When tracekey was founded in 2013, it was already clear that we would embrace agile methods, particularly Scrum principles. “In an extremely dynamic environment like the pharmaceutical industry, it’s crucial to release new software features reliably, regularly, and ready for use. That is to create maximum value for our customers. Agile frameworks are tailor-made for this purpose,” explains Daniel Althoff, COO at tracekey solutions.

Those methods have become widespread across various industries, originating from software development. Agile work defines certain principles and provides a framework. Companies can flexibly design agile methods such as Scrum and adapt them to their internal processes.

Meetings play a pivotal role in Scrum. They allow the team to make joint decisions, develop solutions, and evolve. Self-organization is fundamental for successfully working in agile environments. The Scrum Master is in charge of organizing and moderating these meetings. She is the bridge between individual stakeholders, the product owner, and the developers.

Why Scrum isn´t working for every team

However, it’s essential to recognize that Scrum isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Friederike Ehmer, our Scrum Master at tracekey solutions, emphasizes this point: “Agile working demands commitment from employees and a willingness to regularly review their actions and methods. Strong self-organization is a crucial skill. However, it’s not a skill that comes naturally to everyone.” At tracekey, certain areas like accounting or HR don’t follow Scrum practices – not due to the people involved, but because the method isn’t equally suitable for all company functions. Departments with minimal project involvement or repetitive tasks may not benefit from Scrum. Nevertheless, our project-driven teams, including Software Development, Marketing & Sales, and our Customer Success team, actively embrace Scrum.

Let’s delve into a typical Monday morning: the planning session

A new development cycle (sprint) starts with a planning date. Each team together identifies which tasks will be tackled in the upcoming sprint. The thematic priority is set by the product owner. The Scrum Master organizes and leads the meeting. Her role is to oversee internal processes, maintain communication, and remove obstacles as needed. As Friederike Ehmer puts it, “It’s not about changing people; it’s about continually improving the framework and processes.”

During planning (or backlog grooming, the preparatory meeting before planning), the team not only addresses new topics like connections to new markets. They also focus on fundamental system improvements. They break down these focus areas into manageable tasks based on the team’s capacities. Together, they evaluate which tasks can be sensibly processed during the upcoming sprint, ensuring alignment with the overarching sprint goal.

Friederike Ehmer: “Our product is constantly being further developed due to new regulations or company processes. In addition, a SaaS solution always comes with an ‘infinite’ number of options for improvements or innovations. Scrum helps to keep the focus on meaningful and value-adding work in terms of the product and the customer’s wishes.”

Tuesday, 10 o’clock: Let’s sync!

Within the company, the Scrum Master is responsible for establishing the Scrum method in theory and practice. He accompanies the team through various projects by supporting the entire team or individual team members in their tasks through targeted measures.

In our so-called Sprint Sync, Friederike Ehmer primarily has a moderating role. The developers aim to inform other teams about upcoming software developments relevant for customer interactions and marketing purposes. As soon as people from other teams need to be involved to achieve a goal, the dependencies shift and have to be planned accordingly.

Wednesday Before Lunch: Meet you in the daily 

The daily is a regular Scrum event at which the tasks pending in the current sprint are discussed. Intermediate statuses are compared, and completed tasks are reviewed by other team members or redistributed if capacities have changed. If obstacles arise, the Scrum Master and the team consider how to resolve them. 

Friederike Ehmer, Scrum Master at tracekey solutions: “The majority of our development team has been working together for many years. They are highly self-organized, work professionally, and are reliable. Thanks to the team’s good and long-standing cooperation, core competencies and focus topics have emerged. My main task is, therefore, to sometimes break up existing patterns to remain flexible.”

Thursday afternoon: Time for Retrospective

In addition to the organizational aspects and the establishment of Scrum, the Scrum Master is primarily concerned with creating the best possible working conditions for each team and member. He does not take on a classic project management role, as he neither makes decisions regarding content nor has authority over each individual. 

The retrospective is a very important Scrum tool and our Scrum Master’s favorite meeting. The retrospective enables everyone to reflect on the working methods and collaboration in the last sprint, to put topics up for discussion, and to independently formulate improvement possibilities. How somebody perceives the way one works and team contributions can increase self-efficacy. “You can watch the teams improve,” says Friederike Ehmer, Scrum Master at tracekey solutions.

Friday from 9 am to 11 am: The big hybrid company meeting

At the end of each sprint, tracekey always hosts its biggest meeting, the monthly update. This is where the entire company meets, in front of the screens in the mobile office or in the office with popcorn, and presents the results of the past weeks. The specialty of this meeting is that it does not take place within each team. All teams meet, give each other an overview of the topics being worked on, or present joint projects. Scrum Master, Friederike Ehmer manages and moderates the meeting.

For us it can look like this: Team Marketing & Sales presents the latest LinkedIn campaign results, IT-Security explains the advantages of certain AI methods, HR points out the changed vacation application process, the development team gives an insight into new software functions and the Customer Success Team reports on successful customer onboardings. Afterwards, everyone wishes each other a good weekend and the main part of the sprint is over once again. 

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