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Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up

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  • Jonas Bengtsson
    Hi, While reading the book The Knowledge-Creating Company by Nonaka and Takeuchi I got quite puzzled about what they call a middle-up-down management style.
    Message 1 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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      Hi,

      While reading the book "The Knowledge-Creating Company" by Nonaka and
      Takeuchi I got quite puzzled about what they call a middle-up-down
      management style. Briefly that means that middle management is the most
      important part in the knowledge creation (they are the bridge between the
      visionary ideals of top management and the chaotic reality of front-line
      employees). They also seem to think that a bottom-up management style leads
      to a very individualistic and fragmented working environment.

      Have a misunderstood Scrum completely when I say that Scrum advocates
      bottom-up? As I see it Scrum is not individualistic but put a strong
      emphasize on teams.

      In the book they use 3M as an example of a company with bottom-up
      management. If I recall correctly, someone on this list has worked on 3M.
      How was it to work at a bottom-up company? Is it true what they say about
      such companies:
      "Knowledge is created by [front-line] employees, who operate as independent
      and separate actors, preferring to work on their own. There is little direct
      dialogue with other members of the organization, either vertically or
      horizontally. Autonomy, not interaction, is the key operating principle.
      Certain individuals, not a group of individuals interacting with each other,
      create knowledge." (p. 126)

      Regards,
      Jonas
    • Mike Cohn
      I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support that
      Message 2 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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        I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

         

        As for knowledge being created by individuals who “operate as independent and separate actors” I’d largely agree with that. But—I’d also suggest that the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker’s “knowledge worker” term doesn’t have to mean the individual is always creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities where truly new thought is occurring but I don’t think knowledge is created when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems have a big percentage of this type of work.

         

        So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike Beedle seems like the one who’d know more about this topic) because if allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour doesn’t work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind on.

         

        --Mike

         

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
        Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 4:39 AM
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up

         

        Hi,

        While reading the book "The Knowledge-Creating Company" by Nonaka and
        Takeuchi I got quite puzzled about what they call a middle-up-down
        management style. Briefly that means that middle management is the most
        important part in the knowledge creation (they are the bridge between the
        visionary ideals of top management and the chaotic reality of front-line
        employees). They also seem to think that a bottom-up management style leads
        to a very individualistic and fragmented working environment.

        Have a misunderstood Scrum completely when I say that Scrum advocates
        bottom-up? As I see it Scrum is not individualistic but put a strong
        emphasize on teams.

        In the book they use 3M as an example of a company with bottom-up
        management. If I recall correctly, someone on this list has worked on 3M.
        How was it to work at a bottom-up company? Is it true what they say about
        such companies:
        "Knowledge is created by [front-line] employees, who operate as independent
        and separate actors, preferring to work on their own. There is little direct
        dialogue with other members of the organization, either vertically or
        horizontally. Autonomy, not interaction, is the key operating principle.
        Certain individuals, not a group of individuals interacting with each other,
        create knowledge." (p. 126)

        Regards,
        Jonas



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      • mpoppendieck
        Jonas, I have not read the book you reference, so I am not sure why they call 3M a bottom-up organization. But I worked there for 20 years, ending up as a
        Message 3 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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          Jonas,

          I have not read the book you reference, so I am not sure why they
          call 3M a bottom-up organization. But I worked there for 20 years,
          ending up as a manager (and product champion) in the new product
          development area of the company.

          Certainly no one at 3M would think that much good can be
          accomplished by a single individual. The way that new products get
          invented is that someone with a good idea recruits team members.
          Because of institutionalized slack (anyone can spend 15% of their
          time on projects of their own choosing), it is quite easy to do
          this. The practice is officially known as `bootlegging'.

          Let me give you an example. I was trying to build a business around
          an ultra-pure plastic fiber about ½ inch in diameter, into which
          one injects light. The light comes out at the end or as a glowing
          fiber. Colors are injected via a color wheel. We called the
          product `Light Fiber' and our team introduced it in Japan in
          1998.

          The team was largely a team of volunteers, some of whom were
          officially assigned to the project at their request by their
          managers, some of whom were donating their 15% time. We were one of
          the few technical teams in the company to successfully involve
          Japanese technical people as fully involved team members. We met
          every week for 3 years, and although we had very little official
          funding, we built two process lines, prototyped a third, and
          commercialized the product.

          There is no way that a new product can be successfully developed and
          put on the market by one person. The only successful product
          champions at 3M are those who can inspire a team. For the most
          innovative products, the team must often be recruited and is to some
          extent a volunteer team. It requires a good idea and strong
          leadership to inspire a team of `volunteers', but it is in no
          sense working with a group of individualists. The new product
          development team is a unit, working together, making mutual
          commitments, helping each other, doing whatever is necessary to put
          a successful product on the market.

          From my personal experience, I must say I would rather lead a team
          of scientists who are deeply committed to each other and to the
          product, than a team of scientists who are being told what to do.
          Not only is it more fun, it is far easier to be successful.
        • Jonas Bengtsson
          Mike, It seems like we re on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
          Message 4 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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            Mike,

            It seems like we're on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an
            emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
            responsible to make it happen (on a Sprint level) and the individual
            commits/is responsible on a daily basis. Do that sound reasonable? What I
            meant by emphasis on team was that it's not individualistic but the team
            work/spirit/etc play a major role.

            I think I agree about that the "typical aspects" have a big perceptage of
            the work. But how do you deal with that? If most work is routine how do you
            keep the motivation high? I, for one, need challanges every now and then. I
            guess I tackle the problem by making it into a challange, e.g. by completing
            the work faster than I've done before, or perhaps (do I dare to say :-) by
            adding small features.

            Another question, how important is the ScrumMaster? (both for the
            "knowledge-creation" and for the success of the project in general) I guess
            it differs quite much from project to project. Is it possible that s/he
            becomes less important as the team gets more jelled? Are there any
            self-directing Scrum teams out there?

            Jonas

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
            Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


            I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on
            the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support
            that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would
            consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

            As for knowledge being created by individuals who "operate as independent
            and separate actors" I'd largely agree with that. But-I'd also suggest that
            the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker
            's "knowledge worker" term doesn't have to mean the individual is always
            creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a
            typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities
            where truly new thought is occurring but I don't think knowledge is created
            when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems
            have a big percentage of this type of work.

            So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is
            put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike
            Beedle seems like the one who'd know more about this topic) because if
            allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team
            around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off
            (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour
            doesn't work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind
            on.

            --Mike
          • Jonas Bengtsson
            Mary, Thanks for clearing that out! I guessed that teams play a large part even there. But as I understand it they state that the employees are quite
            Message 5 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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              Mary,

              Thanks for clearing that out! I guessed that teams play a large part even
              there. But as I understand it they state that the employees are quite
              individualistic who are "preferring to work on their own". The examples they
              are focusing on is Dick Drew (inventor of Scotch tape) and Art Fry (inventor
              of Post-it), that is two examples of individuals that on their own invents
              something amazing, nothing about team efforts.

              The reason why they call 3M a bottom-up organization is that the top
              management is not "bosses" but rather mentors/supporters. Orders/commands
              from top management have little meaning since the company "encourages
              meritorious disobedience". It is the opposite to a top-down (=bureaucratic?)
              organization.

              Jonas

              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
              > Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
              > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up
              >
              >
              > Jonas,
              >
              > I have not read the book you reference, so I am not sure why they
              > call 3M a bottom-up organization. But I worked there for 20 years,
              > ending up as a manager (and product champion) in the new product
              > development area of the company.
              >
              > Certainly no one at 3M would think that much good can be
              > accomplished by a single individual. The way that new products get
              > invented is that someone with a good idea recruits team members.
              > Because of institutionalized slack (anyone can spend 15% of their
              > time on projects of their own choosing), it is quite easy to do
              > this. The practice is officially known as `bootlegging'.
              >
              > Let me give you an example. I was trying to build a business around
              > an ultra-pure plastic fiber about ½ inch in diameter, into which
              > one injects light. The light comes out at the end or as a glowing
              > fiber. Colors are injected via a color wheel. We called the
              > product `Light Fiber' and our team introduced it in Japan in
              > 1998.
              >
              > The team was largely a team of volunteers, some of whom were
              > officially assigned to the project at their request by their
              > managers, some of whom were donating their 15% time. We were one of
              > the few technical teams in the company to successfully involve
              > Japanese technical people as fully involved team members. We met
              > every week for 3 years, and although we had very little official
              > funding, we built two process lines, prototyped a third, and
              > commercialized the product.
              >
              > There is no way that a new product can be successfully developed and
              > put on the market by one person. The only successful product
              > champions at 3M are those who can inspire a team. For the most
              > innovative products, the team must often be recruited and is to some
              > extent a volunteer team. It requires a good idea and strong
              > leadership to inspire a team of `volunteers', but it is in no
              > sense working with a group of individualists. The new product
              > development team is a unit, working together, making mutual
              > commitments, helping each other, doing whatever is necessary to put
              > a successful product on the market.
              >
              > From my personal experience, I must say I would rather lead a team
              > of scientists who are deeply committed to each other and to the
              > product, than a team of scientists who are being told what to do.
              > Not only is it more fun, it is far easier to be successful.
              >
              >
            • Ken Schwaber
              The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is responsible for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best possible and most
              Message 6 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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                The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is responsible
                for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best possible and
                most appropriate staffing, works together well, gets decisions made
                promptly, has impediments removed quickly, and understands the project and
                the product backlog. A new type of management position that isn't
                administrative, but a very real coach to the team. The best background is
                border collie or sheepdog.
                Ken

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
                Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 5:34 PM
                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


                Mike,

                It seems like we're on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an
                emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
                responsible to make it happen (on a Sprint level) and the individual
                commits/is responsible on a daily basis. Do that sound reasonable? What I
                meant by emphasis on team was that it's not individualistic but the team
                work/spirit/etc play a major role.

                I think I agree about that the "typical aspects" have a big perceptage of
                the work. But how do you deal with that? If most work is routine how do you
                keep the motivation high? I, for one, need challanges every now and then. I
                guess I tackle the problem by making it into a challange, e.g. by completing
                the work faster than I've done before, or perhaps (do I dare to say :-) by
                adding small features.

                Another question, how important is the ScrumMaster? (both for the
                "knowledge-creation" and for the success of the project in general) I guess
                it differs quite much from project to project. Is it possible that s/he
                becomes less important as the team gets more jelled? Are there any
                self-directing Scrum teams out there?

                Jonas

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
                Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


                I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on
                the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support
                that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would
                consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

                As for knowledge being created by individuals who "operate as independent
                and separate actors" I'd largely agree with that. But-I'd also suggest that
                the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker
                's "knowledge worker" term doesn't have to mean the individual is always
                creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a
                typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities
                where truly new thought is occurring but I don't think knowledge is created
                when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems
                have a big percentage of this type of work.

                So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is
                put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike
                Beedle seems like the one who'd know more about this topic) because if
                allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team
                around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off
                (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour
                doesn't work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind
                on.

                --Mike



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                To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...

                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              • Jonas Bengtsson
                Ken, The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was the following sentences by Mike Beedle: SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in that
                Message 7 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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                  Ken,

                  The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was the following
                  sentences by Mike Beedle:
                  "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in that case someone is
                  designated as the scribe and also logs the completed and planned activities
                  of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All activities from the Backlog and
                  the Blocks are then distributed among the team members for resolution."
                  <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>

                  Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

                  > The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is
                  > responsible
                  > for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best
                  > possible and
                  > most appropriate staffing, works together well, gets decisions made
                  > promptly, has impediments removed quickly, and understands the project and
                  > the product backlog.

                  I agree with most of the above. But what do you mean by "responsible for the
                  productivity of the team"? I can see that s/he can be responsible to remove
                  impediments and to do everything possible to enhance the productivity. But
                  can s/he be responsible for the actual productivity? If s/he does everything
                  s/he can but the team still performs poorly is s/he the one to "blame"? As I
                  see it the ScrumMaster is responsible to create the right environment for
                  productivity but not directly for the productivity.
                  Do we mean the same thing or do we have different opinions? (Perhaps I
                  should work in a Scrum project before I have opinions about it :-)

                  > A new type of management position that isn't
                  > administrative, but a very real coach to the team. The best background is
                  > border collie or sheepdog.

                  I like that! :-)

                  Jonas

                  ps. forgive me if I was unable to express what I mean above, but I'm really
                  tired :-) ds.
                • Ken Schwaber
                  Not in my experience. However, I ve either been on critical projects or projects where the organization was changing its culture. Both required dedicated
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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                    Not in my experience. However, I've either been on critical projects or
                    projects where the organization was changing its culture. Both required
                    dedicated ScrumMasters. In a well implemented Scrum organization, the teams
                    could be self-directing.
                    Ken

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
                    Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 6:22 PM
                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


                    Ken,

                    The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was the following
                    sentences by Mike Beedle:
                    "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in that case someone is
                    designated as the scribe and also logs the completed and planned activities
                    of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All activities from the Backlog and
                    the Blocks are then distributed among the team members for resolution."
                    <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>

                    Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

                    > The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is
                    > responsible
                    > for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best
                    > possible and
                    > most appropriate staffing, works together well, gets decisions made
                    > promptly, has impediments removed quickly, and understands the project and
                    > the product backlog.

                    I agree with most of the above. But what do you mean by "responsible for the
                    productivity of the team"? I can see that s/he can be responsible to remove
                    impediments and to do everything possible to enhance the productivity. But
                    can s/he be responsible for the actual productivity? If s/he does everything
                    s/he can but the team still performs poorly is s/he the one to "blame"? As I
                    see it the ScrumMaster is responsible to create the right environment for
                    productivity but not directly for the productivity.
                    Do we mean the same thing or do we have different opinions? (Perhaps I
                    should work in a Scrum project before I have opinions about it :-)

                    > A new type of management position that isn't
                    > administrative, but a very real coach to the team. The best background is
                    > border collie or sheepdog.

                    I like that! :-)

                    Jonas

                    ps. forgive me if I was unable to express what I mean above, but I'm really
                    tired :-) ds.



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                  • Mike Cohn
                    Yes, I think we re on the same page on this. I guess I didn t consider the work to be routine, just not knowledge-creating. I m thinking of a project I m
                    Message 9 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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                      Yes, I think we’re on the same page on this.

                       

                      I guess I didn’t consider the work to be routine, just not knowledge-creating. I’m thinking of a project I’m working with right now where one of the programmers is writing a simple user administration program to accompany the main program (to allow creation of new users, delete existing users, etc.). Everyone has written something similar so it’s not creating new knowledge but it isn’t exactly routine because he hasn’t done it dozens of previous times. Every programmer (person in general) finds his challenges different ways so I generally don’t give a programmer a challenge of “do this routine task faster than you’ve done it before” because not all programmers like that type of challenge (another may prefer to do it is less memory, etc.). In true Scrum manner that type of decision is best left to each individual.

                       

                      The Scrum Master is vital. I’m not sure if the role becomes less important with jelled teams but the role can become much less distinct. As the team comes together there is less need for the orchestrating activities of a Scrum Master and so I’ve found it easier for one of the programmers to do the job after having watched it happen for awhile. I’m thinking about one team I’m working with—there are 6 people on the team and I’ve worked with 3 of them in various capacities for much of the last 8 years so we obviously have a history together. We started with a Scrum-like process way back then and have evolved it as we learned or as Ken, Mike and others published on the topic. So the 3 on this team are pretty familiar with what they need to do and my duties as a scrum master to them are very simple relative to what other teams need.

                       

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
                      Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 3:34 PM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up

                       

                      Mike,

                      It seems like we're on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an
                      emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
                      responsible to make it happen (on a Sprint level) and the individual
                      commits/is responsible on a daily basis. Do that sound reasonable? What I
                      meant by emphasis on team was that it's not individualistic but the team
                      work/spirit/etc play a major role.

                      I think I agree about that the "typical aspects" have a big perceptage of
                      the work. But how do you deal with that? If most work is routine how do you
                      keep the motivation high? I, for one, need challanges every now and then. I
                      guess I tackle the problem by making it into a challange, e.g. by completing
                      the work faster than I've done before, or perhaps (do I dare to say :-) by
                      adding small features.

                      Another question, how important is the ScrumMaster? (both for the
                      "knowledge-creation" and for the success of the project in general)  I guess
                      it differs quite much from project to project. Is it possible that s/he
                      becomes less important as the team gets more jelled? Are there any
                      self-directing Scrum teams out there?

                      Jonas

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
                      Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


                      I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on
                      the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support
                      that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would
                      consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

                      As for knowledge being created by individuals who "operate as independent
                      and separate actors" I'd largely agree with that. But-I'd also suggest that
                      the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker
                      's "knowledge worker" term doesn't have to mean the individual is always
                      creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a
                      typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities
                      where truly new thought is occurring but I don't think knowledge is created
                      when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems
                      have a big percentage of this type of work.

                      So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is
                      put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike
                      Beedle seems like the one who'd know more about this topic) because if
                      allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team
                      around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off
                      (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour
                      doesn't work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind
                      on.

                      --Mike



                      To Post a message, send it to:   scrumdevelopment@...
                      To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...


                      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                    • Mike Beedle
                      ... Jonas, Ken: It is possible to have self-directed teams with no Scrum Master. But I have only done that twice in 6 years. Basically, Ken hits the nail on
                      Message 10 of 11 , May 4, 2002
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                        Jonas wrote:
                        >Ken,
                        > The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was
                        > the following sentences by Mike Beedle:
                        > "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in
                        > that case someone is designated as the scribe and
                        > also logs the completed and planned activities
                        > of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All
                        > activities from the Backlog and the Blocks are then
                        > distributed among the team members for resolution."
                        > <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>
                        >
                        > Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

                        Ken wrote:
                        > Not in my experience. However, I've either been on
                        > critical projects or projects where the organization
                        > was changing its culture. Both required dedicated
                        > ScrumMasters. In a well implemented Scrum organization,
                        > the teams could be self-directing.

                        Jonas, Ken:

                        It is possible to have self-directed teams with no Scrum Master.

                        But I have only done that twice in 6 years. Basically,
                        Ken hits the nail on the head, it requires a very
                        special environment:

                        - high Scrum experience for all, if not all members
                        of the team

                        - team members with established relationships with
                        other members of the organization and with the
                        respect of managers (because some of their chosen
                        assignments are "issues"; therefore, they must
                        be able to represent themselves to resolve them).

                        - team members ability to keep and manage backlog
                        (again, not an easy thing to do, but it is
                        possible, specially in smaller teams.)

                        - team members with the ability to coordinate with
                        the customer and the sponsor of the team about
                        needs, demos (Spring Review Meeting), planning
                        (Sprint Planning Meeting),

                        etc.

                        Unfortunately these requirements mean that self-directed
                        teams are hard to put in place and hard to keep in
                        balance. Simply put, it is safer to have a good
                        Scrum Master,

                        - Mike
                      • Linda Rising
                        Hi Guys, All the teams at AG were self-directed but that just means that the team adopted the various management roles. The ScrumMaster was just another role
                        Message 11 of 11 , May 5, 2002
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Hi Guys,

                          All the teams at AG were self-directed but that just means that the team adopted the
                          various management roles. The ScrumMaster was just another role and someone
                          took that on and tracked the backlog.





                          Linda



                          Mike Beedle wrote:
                          Jonas wrote:
                          Ken,
                          The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was
                          the following sentences by Mike Beedle:
                          "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in
                          that case someone is designated as the scribe and
                          also logs the completed and planned activities
                          of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All
                          activities from the Backlog and the Blocks are then
                          distributed among the team members for resolution."
                          <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>

                          Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

                          Ken wrote:
                          Not in my experience. However, I've either been on 
                          critical projects or projects where the organization
                          was changing its culture. Both required dedicated
                          ScrumMasters. In a well implemented Scrum organization,
                          the teams could be self-directing.

                          Jonas, Ken:

                          It is possible to have self-directed teams with no Scrum Master.

                          But I have only done that twice in 6 years. Basically,
                          Ken hits the nail on the head, it requires a very
                          special environment:

                          - high Scrum experience for all, if not all members
                          of the team

                          - team members with established relationships with
                          other members of the organization and with the
                          respect of managers (because some of their chosen
                          assignments are "issues"; therefore, they must
                          be able to represent themselves to resolve them).

                          - team members ability to keep and manage backlog
                          (again, not an easy thing to do, but it is
                          possible, specially in smaller teams.)

                          - team members with the ability to coordinate with
                          the customer and the sponsor of the team about
                          needs, demos (Spring Review Meeting), planning
                          (Sprint Planning Meeting),

                          etc.

                          Unfortunately these requir ements mean that self-directed
                          teams are hard to put in place and hard to keep in
                          balance. Simply put, it is safer to have a good
                          Scrum Master,

                          - Mike



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