In 2015 my father introduced me to the concept of a "Scrum Master". "What the heck is that?" I thought. This was a job that I had never heard of, and quite honestly, it sounded boring. My interest in it was mitigated for those reasons, and the fact that I was confident I wouldn't be able to get the hang of the job. He tried to show me how straightforward this job could be, and we spent multiple nights going over what it involved, and the basics of the job. I'd be lying if I said it was enjoyable! My motivation wasn't in it at the time, and these ideas were too much for me at that point in my life, so I didn't put any effort into learning about it. After a few nights we dropped it.
In late 2017 I brought the conversation back up. The job I was working at that time offered zero growth for its employees, and I needed the evolution to help feel like I was moving forward with my life. My father had recently told me he was starting another engagement, and that he loved doing the job and he's always learning and he's constantly pushing, and being pushed, to do better and grow.
Well here I am, close to struggling with a literal dead end job, looking for a way to help support my wife and our fur children and something just clicked into place. I dedicated myself to becoming one of these "Scrum Masters", no matter what it took. Thankfully, my father offered to teach me!... Again! However this time it would be official and he claimed he had a much better grasp on the material than before. "Fine," I said "Let's do it". He suggested that I start attending my local Agile Leadership Network (ALN) and begin to immerse myself in the culture. So I did.
Somewhere in Q1 of 2018 I went to Austin, where my father lives and attended his very first SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) course. "Wow," I thought "These are still VERY foreign concepts!" Although I had been to 4-5 ALN meetings over the past few months, it wasn't enough! Who knew that it wouldn't be that easy? So I sat in on this class of two people, one other gentleman and myself, and I listened.
I attempted to learn! I really did...but to me it just was NOT making sense. The final day of the class comes, and there's a class consensus to go over the Practice Test together. With the instructors very light hand holding (mostly just pointing out specifically worded questions that were meant to trip us up) we...lets say stumbled across the finish line and passed the Practice Test. The other participant went home, and I decided to take the Practice Test by myself. I got a 47. In case you didn't know, that's NOT a passing score. "OK Chris, shake off the rust. You JUST took this class, do the practice one again, no worries!" I thought. I got a 53. Still nowhere close to passing, and my father stringently refused to help. I would make it on my own, or I wouldn't. "Whatever, I'll just take the actual test, and whatever happens, happens." So after failing the Practice Test twice, I took the Actual Test. I had a 3 hour drive ahead of me, to get home, and this was after a 7-ish hour day two. Oh and it's also after failing the Practice Test twice in a row....so no pressure! I got a 92. On the Actual Test, where it truly counted, and where I thought I would for sure fail, I succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. My relief and excitement and joy were immeasurable, but only AFTER the surprise went away! "C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S is a weird, and rude, way to spell Fail" I thought at first.
These journal entries serve as an absolute novices look on things, and my journey throughout the process. They will highlight discoveries, thought processes, opinions, ideas and insight regarding this area of expertise. I am going on my 3rd year as a certified Scrum Master and I've enjoyed almost every minute of it. For anyone who has yet to take their test, or who is just getting started I offer this bit of spirit boost: I have only been the smartest guy in the room on one occasion. Some may say that I was cheating on that occasion, but it's not MY fault I was the only person in the room then! If I can do it, I swear that you can too. I look forward to taking this journey together, and if you have any questions or your own personal insight, feel free to reach out or comment!