Moving up the Scrum “Management” Ladder

Mike Beedle’s posted an insightful message on the scrumdevelopment list this week regarding the role of the ScrumMaster leading the team toward an end-state where management is largely self performed.

Mike outlines a progression in a team’s ability to self-organize while reducing its dependence on traditional management.

Quoting Mike’s post:

Self-organizing team, (can resolve its own issues but keeps ScrumMaster as insurance)

Self-organizing team — needing help with issues

Team + Coach == Coached team, usually team has many leaders from this point on

Team + Team Leader == Team with one leader

Team + Manager == Traditional Managed Team”

This further reinforces my firm belief in the lack of absolutes as organizations transition to Agile and Scrum. I blogged on this in the past, and I think it’s important to make clear that your organization’s journey toward Agility should not necessarily be a sudden, jarring transition that leaves people unprepared and unable to cope with the changes. Instead, move along the Agile spectrum, move up the Scrum management ladder, and always remember that these types of monumental organizational transitions take a lot of time to digest.

Victor Szalvay

Victor Szalvay currently leads product development for CollabNet’s ScrumWorks® product suite. In that capacity, he works closely with customers, stakeholders, and the development teams to deliver high business value each release cycle. With more than 150,000 active users worldwide, ScrumWorks is used by more than half of the Fortune 100 and boasts the largest market share of any Agile management tool.

Posted in Agile
One comment on “Moving up the Scrum “Management” Ladder
  1. Bob Evans says:

    In my 20 plus years of experience; All IT change, no matter what it has been, is more easily adapted by workers than by management.
    When you caution about jarring transitions, SCRUM, AGILE, PMI, SDLC all have their champions and their merits. What sells management is that these are all tools with which they can “MEASURE” productivity.
    The feedback processes built in to all modern project management philosophies and templates allow for quick course correction and redirection. In years past without good communication, influencing change in projects was like the rudder on the Titanic – too small and too slow.
    It has been senior management that has for years wanted tools that they could watch-over, not really manage or operate, but watch over to give them quick access to the highlights. As a result many tools are foisted on the employees with little feedback allowed.
    With the growing use of tools has led to the growing gap between corporate management and the levels where the actual work takes place. The newest tools address the ability of the workers to manage their own change quickly, and provide the proper feedback loops for management at the same time.
    Unfortunately this further distances upper management from the actual project work so that they inevitably have no insight to the day to day activities in their shops.
    While management wants these tools, they do not charge themselves with actually running them. The daily feeding of these toolsets is left up to the Project managers and team leaders.
    The real challenge is finding and developing corporate cultures that allow proper feedback from these team leaders to management on difficulties and education needed by them and the workers to effectively use the tools. And most importantly the feedback to discuss difficulties in deploying the tools, managing them as some are very unintuitive, and in improving on them.
    Oh, and in also allowing the extra time needed to properly engage the use of the tools on what used to be more seat-of-the-pants projects. Yes Virginia, tools take time, and managers must add time to project schedules just to utilize them.
    Traditional management still exists in large organizations, and that management style does not always accept the reality the new tools introduce, mostly due to fear and misunderstanding. The needed corrective direction invariably must come from senior management for it rarely works bottom up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *