When you’re becoming a Scrum master, or moving into some other kind of hands-off role, there’s a concern that it can be difficult to keep up with the technology that your team is using. This is of particular concern when they start moving into new areas, away from technologies that you’re used to.
The truth is, it’s impossible to have as deep a knowledge as if you were hands-on, but equally you don’t need that kind of depth to be valuable. If a team member comes to you with a problem involving a new technology and you can’t provide all the answers, then my suggestion is this… First find someone who can, and take your team member to see them. Second, hang around. Be part of the conversation, and do ask questions if you want. You may not pick up all the details but you’ll certainly learn a lot, even if a lot of it doesn’t coalesce. Then, when another question comes up in the same area, do it again.
You will find yourself in a lot of tech conversations and fairly quickly get to pick up the terms, the concerns, the gotchas, and so on. This will never give you the experience of the full time, hands-on experts but will enable you have intelligent and constructive conversations with people. You’ll be able to ask the right questions and identify the relevant issues. You will be able to provide all the help you reasonably could be expected to.
As an amusement, here’s some text that demonstrates that it’s surprisingly easy to talk about something without knowing the details (or, in this case, the meaning)—credit to Constance Weaver for creating this. It isn’t intended as a justification of the above (experience does that for me) but it is fun, and I’ve used it before in another context.
So read this text, then answer the questions that follow:
Corandic is an emurient grof with many fribs; it granks from corite, an olg which cargs like lange. Corite grinkles several other tarances, which garkers excarp by glarcking the corite and starping it in tranker-clarped strobs. The tarances starp a chark which is exparged with worters, branking a slorp. This slorp is garped through several other corusces, finally frasting a pragety, blickant crankle: coranda. Coranda is a cargurt, grinkling corandic and borigen. The corandic is nacerated from the borigen by means of loracity. Thus garkers finally thrap a glick, bracht, glupous grapant, corandic, which granks in many starps.
- What is corandic?
- What does corandic grank from?
- How do garkers excarp the tarances from the corite?
- What does the slorp finally frast?
- What is coranda?
- How is the corandic nacerated from the borigen?
- What do the garkers finally thrap?
In real life, you’ll have plenty of opportunities delve a bit more, but I hope you were surprised at how easy it is to get by with just a superficial understanding.