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37056RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: How many chickens is too many?

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  • Roy Morien
    Mar 12, 2009
      If the managerial culture is a supportive, encouraging, mentoring type culture, then having the managers there can be beneficial, showing (as has been suggesyed in this post) interest ans support, and giving the developers a positive boost. Part of this culture is a feeling of freedom to admit mistakes and shortcomings, and seek team assistance to overcome this. I would suggest that problems take up the most time in a meeting, rather than successes, which are probably noted with approval and then the meeting moves on.
      The opposite situation is one that is unfottunately more prevalent, and that is a management culture of control, discipline, blame, where it is just not a good idea to admit mistakes or problems in front of the managers - especially if some of those problems arise because of the actions and decisions of those same managers. I have experienced this 'toxic' environment and learned quite soon to shutup when a particular manager was there mainly to note the shortcomings of everyone, rather than to become aware of their successes.
      However, one way or the other, the fact is that the Daily Standup is regulated by certain very sensible rules. Keep it short, stand and don't sit, address three questions honestly and quickly exchange the necessary information. Follow up any necessary points with off-line discussion. So, where do the managers really fit in here? They don't!
      Roy Morien 

      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      From: luke.visser@...
      Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 00:41:21 +0000
      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: How many chickens is too many?

      Wow, what an intriguing discussion. I liked the comment earlier regarding only getting one perspective. So, I thought I'd add mine, from the chicken's perspective. Actually I think the metaphor is crap because my stake (as a supposed chicken) is pretty high too.

      The ratio of managers to team members can range from 1:2 to 1:5 in the team standups we have here. We (the team members) actively encourage managers to come along to our morning standups. They love the fact that their lives (at work) are taken an interest in by the people that "manage" them.

      You'd be surprised how much a CEO/MD actually has a stake in your project. Especially if the money for the project is coming directly from his/her pocket. Kind of makes the chicken/pig analogy mute.

      I think when you don't want to have management there you have issues you should deal with internally. You may not of course, but my experience suggests that in teams like that you do.

      Lack of transparency. You're saying things that you don't want managers to hear (rightly or wrongly). That's because by the time it's got to management it's been "adjusted" for their ears. We want our managers to know what's going on, we want them to understand the intricacies, wins and losses. We want them to know based on reality not heresay. As a manager, I want to know too. Transparency should be encouraged and any mechanism put in place to stifle it is causing your organisation problems.

      Intimidation. Notice this one all the time. Lots of people are intimidated in direct proportion to the level of the manager. It's silly, not needed and unhelpful. But ... it's human. If you have a manager that likes intimidating then talk to him/her about it. Work never gets done better by intimidation. If engineers are intimidated by managers, sit down and talk with them, find out why and look to solving it.

      Road Blocks. It's amazing how much easier it is for a manager to get rid of road blocks when an engineer/developer might spend considerable time grumbling and running into brick walls. If "road block" identification is part of your standup (and it should be) then having managers there is really useful.

      There's probably others but they're the obvious ones to me that I've seen over time. Managers are people too, have as many foibles and nuances as everyone else. For the most part they want to help and ensure projects work well too. Don't exclude them from your projects, they can be very useful allies.

      Oh, forgot this one. Crap Managers. That one is much, much harder to deal with :-). Yep, might mean a quite coffee discussion between a senior member (or the most diplomatic one) with the manager to determine his/her motivations for attending.


      --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, "Whitten, Richard" <richard.whitten@ ...> wrote:
      > I have banned all managers from my daily Scrum meetings - for the reason
      > you outlined below.
      > Rich
      > From: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
      > [mailto:scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of SJPlante
      > Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 7:00 AM
      > To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
      > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] How many chickens is too many?
      > We've run into a situation where some team members feel that there are
      > too many managers attending the daily scrum, and because of that they
      > feel very uncomfortable giving their status. A typical team will have
      > five or six members and sometimes we'll have four or five managers
      > attend the scrum (they are not allowed to speak). Some managers have
      > their arguments as to why they feel they need to be there, arguments
      > that I totally disagree with. So I'm curious as to what a daily scrum
      > looks like at other companies. Other than product owner, scrum master,
      > and team members, who else shows up to your daily scrum?
      > Thanks,
      > Jason

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