Troy Almy-Hunt

Ever wondered what a Scrum Master is? Troy will tell you just that, as well as why we're implementing Agile ways of working across the business.

How would you explain the role of a Scrum Master?

Starting off with a tough question. Of course, you can Google “what is a Scrum Master”, that’s the first thing I did when I heard about the role, but the role means you wear many hats and have to be very flexible.

First and foremost, you are a servant leader, this means that you need to ensure that your team (or squad) has access to the right support, the right coaching and is protected from external interference when it does not add value. Each SM, to some extent, needs to agree with the team exactly what it is that they need to perform at their very best, this in turn will evolve exactly what a Scrum Master is for that team.

Secondly you need to get your team to a point that you are no longer needed for the day to day. You should always be working on ways to inspect, adapt and improve the processes of a team to the point where they naturally do this with, or without you. To give it some context, google the term “shuhari”, a good scrum master should be looking for ways not only to make themselves a master of scrum, but their whole team.    

How does a Scrum Master add value to the business?

We don’t set the product vision, we don’t negotiate with marketing teams, we don’t code, and we don’t even need to be at our daily team meetings. We are there to help the team solve its own problems and we facilitate and coach the best ways on doing that. Sure, we remove impediments for the team but it’s far more sustainable and robust to coach the team on how they can remove their own blockers.

Additionally, we look outward to the wider business and aim to coach other departments, even those not working in an agile way, on the practices of Scrum (or other agile frameworks) so they can best understand how to work with us to achieve fantastic results.  

Why are we implementing an agile way of working across the business?

Increase speed of delivery and reduce risk. Waterfall practices are fine for some projects but when you are putting software in the hands of the customer you need to work in a way that is adaptive to customer needs and market conditions. I’ve worked on waterfall projects which have lasted 18 months before delivering to the customer, and in that time, you risk the customer needs radically changing from your initial designs. In the world of digital it would be like playing all your moves in a game of battleships up front without learning what hits and misses.

Agile (not exclusively Scrum) allows us as a business to react to what the customer wants and get value into the customer’s hands faster and more frequently.  It also allows us to fail, learn from that failure, and do better in the next iteration. 

How did you get to become a Scrum Master?

I ran towards the light. BT is a great company to work for, lots of discounts and employee perks, but I was looking to be in a cutting-edge department of a bleeding edge company, and so I applied for the role, twice, and got it on the second go around. I had worked for BT in many different roles for the past eight years and Scrum Master was advertised to me as an opportunity to reskill into an exciting new area. 

What do you like most about being part of the Digital team?

Quick and easy answers… A) Collaboration B) seeing something through from ideation to delivery. 

Tell us about something you have been involved in outside of your day job

In August 2021 I attended the BT Digital Sports Day in Regents Part, my team came 4th… out of 4, and personally I feel cheated out of my medal. But I will return better and stronger next year. This was the first time I got to meet a lot of my colleagues in Digital face to face and it was really cool to not be stuck indoors talking about software, deliveries and Jira. 

What do you get up to when you’re not working?

I have two pet Labradors (Alfie & Drax) so a lot of my free time involves exercising them so that they don’t destroy my house. BT allows a very flexible approach to office working so I can make sure I get the most out of my free time as well as my business hours. 

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