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Re: [scrumdevelopment] ScrumMaster same as development manager?

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  • Mark Striebeck
    This company would bee worse off if it had managers earlier. The modell was extremely flat: at the beginning there weren t even engineering managers. engineers
    Message 1 of 34 , Jan 4, 2006
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      This company would bee worse off if it had managers earlier. The modell was extremely flat: at the beginning there weren't even engineering managers. engineers picked their projects (very small teams) and worked very autonomously. After the company grew, they added engineering manager to give engineers a little bit more guidance and help them with prioritization - yet the engineering managers didn't influence much the projects itself. Recently, we added project managers. Some of our big applications reached a point where it was hard for engineers to make the right prioritization and keep the overall picture in mind. Especially for projects that were cross-applications.

      We are trying to add some agile management practices (scrum and others). The goal is to make the projects a little more coordinated and predictable without taking away the engineering-centric culture (and all the goodness that comes with it).

      So, we project managers are actually stepping in (instead of out) to improve the projects.


      On 1/4/06, Steven Ropa < steven.ropa@...> wrote:
      Hi Mark,
      Is your last sentence saying the company would be better off if it had managers earlier, or worse?  Sorry I'm being dense....
      I think that where you are now is the goal.  As people start to get Agile, we can step out of the way more and more.  Which is nice because now I have time to explore new technologies and civilizations.. To boldly split infinitives.... oh.  sorry....
      I am still not understanding what potential the group might not be utilizing, though.   Can someone maybe list some of the things the group might be doing differently if I were only a Scrum Master and not a manager, or if we had a different team member act as scrum master?  I want to look and see if maybe I'm just missing it.  After all, I need to Inspect and Adapt, right?

      From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mark Striebeck
      Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2006 7:13 PM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] ScrumMaster same as development manager?


      That is a very good point. And it's certainly something that I have seen (actually: done!) myself. When I was the engineering manager and scrum master in one person I realized from time to time that the team didn't user their fullest potential because of me. Sometimes, they did not see/prepare for some issue, sometimes they followed my advice too much without questioning it.

      For what it matters, I was the biggest driver towards agile and the most experienced person on the whole team. But the reality is that too often, the engineers (aka people who are closest to the code and the issues) can come up with the best solutions.

      I agree with Steven, that my driving (and sometimes directing) was probably useful (and actually appreciated) at the beginning.

      Currently, I'm working in an environment where engineers almost completely run the show. There are different issues with this approach. But the results of that approach are quite remarkable. And as much as I (as a project manager / scrum master) hate it to admit: I don't think this company would be where it is if they had have managers earlier.


      On 1/3/06, Yuri Gadow <yuri@...> wrote:
      Steven Ropa wrote:

      > My experience may be different from the norm, but here it is anyway.
      > I am the Scrum Master and the Dev Manager.  I found this to be very
      > helpful at that start for several reasons.  One, was that I have the
      > authority to tell (yes, tell) people what they need to do.  I agree
      > with what Mike Cohn and others have said that not every team can start
      > out self organizing.  It also provides me with enought authority to
      > manage upward, and help my team deal with outside influences/pressures.

      (Warning, wild and gratuitous speculation follows) An approach like this
      may produce a smooth running Scrum, and probably doesn't allow the team
      to learn how to achieve their maximum potential, instead they achieve
      the manager's maximum potential. In a sense, I think a competent manager
      can't help but produce a decent result when also acting as SM, but a
      significant value of Scrum may be given up to achieve that. Maybe it's
      worth it in some cases, depending on the reason for adopting Scrum in
      the first place.

      > Now that the team is running, and running quite well, I find that my
      > Scrum Master duties are not that large.  I have commented more than
      > once that my team doesn't need me anymore, and that's A Good Thing.  I
      > have a lot of time available to do development, explore new
      > ideas(Aspects are fascinating me!) and more importantly, I can
      > evangelize to other teams.  Because I am an experienced Scrum Master,
      > I have the knowledge to teach better, and because I am a director, I
      > have the institutional recognition that some people require to even
      > sit down and listen.
      (Allow me to be the Devil's advocate here) Are you not needed because
      they've learned how to do what you think they should do well enough that
      your guidance isn't needed, or because they've learned to be
      self-determining such that they can do better than what you think they
      should? Another question here, one that I've struggled with, and which
      ultimately resulted in my choice to volunteer someone to be CSM, rather
      than do it myself: how would I ever know the true answer to that?

      > So I don't personally see a need to have someone who is not the dev
      > manager to be the Scrum Master, but I think each team needs to decide
      > this based on their own unique circumstances.
      My personal opinion, stemming from many long, hard minutes of Scrum
      experience, would be that anyone contemplating this should start with
      the classic separation of management and scrum master roles, and then
      later on tackle the decision on whether to merge the S&M (management)
      and SM role into one.

      Maybe at some future Gathering we should have a BoF session for managers
      to compare and contrast having gone left v. right on this decision.

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    • Boris Gloger
      Hi Tamara, I assume that this email is outdated but siting in an airplane is sometimes boring :) ... I do not believe that this is a general consensus. i can
      Message 34 of 34 , Jan 6, 2006
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        Hi Tamara,

        I assume that this email is outdated but siting in an airplane is sometimes boring :)

        On 05.01.2006, at 19:45, Tamara Sulaiman wrote:

        Oh, wait, there’s a general consensus that the project manager should not be the scrum master? 

        I do not believe that this is a general consensus. i can only say that the project manager should not be the Scrum Master --- and given by your definition, regardless if this is the right definition: You proofed that by yourself:

         Project Manager:  Responsible for budgets, reporting metrics, and command and control type areas.

        No -- that is the misleaded interpretation of everybody and starts always unnecessary discussions if a good project manager would be a good Scrum Master. 

        Scrum says that the Product Owner is 

        a) responsible for budgets & ROI - he drives the project from a business point of view
        b) He is in charge of aligning the organization to the project an vice versa. 
        c) He works with the team to get the results the organization wants to have

        btw - he can be absolutely comand and control driven. Would be a nice discussion what will happens if you have a comand and control product owner. Anyway, this would have been no impact because you do have a Scrum master who protects the team and makes sure that the Product Owner gets the information he needs.

        This role may or may not be needed for a scrum team depending on the environment, customer, etc.

        this role is essential - an I hope you get now that the Project Manager must become the Product Owner and Not the SCRUM master in case he is like you described above. 

        This role can easily be combined with the scrum master role, when team members do not report directly to the PM, for budget and schedule reporting responsibilities.

        And that is something that is abolutely nonsense - why do we have a legislature, a executive and a jurisdicative? We need someone who makes the rules: The product owner, who executes: the team and someone who controls both: the Scrum Master. And you do very well in not combining them into one person. 

        (Note: this is particularly applicable to ‘matrixed’ corporate environments.)  Yes, there is overlap in the PM role with the impediment removing, and external communication responsibilities with a scrum master role.  Every scrum project that I’ve been on had a scrum/project manager (that person wasn’t always me!

        I know this kind of set up, but why can you not be the Scrum Master for another team, and the product owner for your team? 

        We have set up our whole organization - I am part of the first line management or co-founder, in the way that I am the Product Owner and Scrum Coach for company but I installed a Scrum master ,my One Second liner, who will install the processes and I have one Product Owner, my second second liner: she will run the project that we get from outside as product owner. And every team gets his own Scrum Master coached by my seond liner.

        So I try to live that we do not get shared responsibilities within one person, but everybody has multiple roles.

        Development Manager = Resource Manager – team members report to this person.  IMHO, this is a no-no combing this role with the scrum master role. Defeats the purpose of having self organizing teams.

        Well, he coud become a scrum master, because he needs to make sure that he will have the resources available for the team. But he does not manage this team or the resources. But he would be the person with the right skills for a scrum master, right?

        Product Manger = can easily be a product owner. Team does not report directly to the product manager.  I’m neutral on the aspect of combining the scrum master with product manager role. Has anyone tried combining both the product downer and scrum master roles?  (this is different than having a scrum master assist the product owner with managing the product backlog....)


        Again we are in the conflicting roles. Do not do that. And yes a product manager would be the right product owner if he is inside the company. 

        Engineering Manager = Resource Manager.  Team members report directly to this person.  Please see above under development manager for my opinion on combining this role with scrum master role!


        Cancel that role or make a Scrum Master from him.

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