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Re: [scrumdevelopment] How do we get senior management teams truly, actively engaged?

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  • Markus Gärtner
    I see the bigger problem in managers demanding to go Scrum , but not taking the time to be part of the change initiative. I don t know whether this happened
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 1, 2013
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      I see the bigger problem in managers demanding to "go Scrum", but not taking the time to be part of the change initiative. I don't know whether this happened for the thread starter, but that's my biggest fear I would try to tackle. If management really wants the company to become more agile, they also should know (and fulfill) the role they play in that.

      Best Markus

      --
      Dipl.-Inform. Markus Gärtner
      Author of ATDD by Example - A Practical Guide to Acceptance
      Test-Driven Development
      http://www.shino.de/blog
      http://www.mgaertne.de
      http://www.it-agile.de
      Twitter: @mgaertne

      On 02.01.2013, at 00:00, Alan Dayley <alandd@...> wrote:

      I will echo Markus's response but in a different way.

      "Action expresses priority." - Mahatma Gandhi 

      Full participation with the Scrum teams is not a priority for these people.

      What is their current priority?
      Should full participation with the Scrum teams be higher priority than what they now do?  If so, who needs to know this and how will you tell/teach/show them?
      Is there a way to satisfy their current priority AND have them more involved with the Scrum teams?

      Your question is huge. Whole books are written on the subject and it's tangents.  Use the questions above and similar ones to find one small place where you can steer toward the behavior you desire.

      For examples:
      How can you make your Sprint Reviews so compelling that they will clear their calendars to attend them?
      Is there some part of your work that you can make highly visible so that these people are drawn to participate without being preached at or cajoled?

      Alan




      On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM, Michael James <mj4scrum@...> wrote:
       

      An example of Markus's point:

      I knew a development director named Randy who was faced with the irritating chore of deciding where about 50 people should sit within a giant windowless multi-team room.  Every time he assigned someone a seat, there were a half dozen complaints.  Even in a windowless room, some seats were seen as more desirable than others.  By this time the teams had started forming and working together toward a common vision.  So he told everyone in the room to stop work for one hour and spend that time rearranging themselves in the room, working it out with each other.  Then he LEFT THE ROOM.  Randy told me he snuck back in the room after 45 minutes and the teams had worked it all out at the 37 minute mark.  Interestingly, the more socially dominant individuals did *not* wind up with the "desirable" seats -- more junior people wound up with them.

      Now, this mightn't have worked if he weren't already demonstrating through unambiguous actions that teams are responsible for self management.  

      BTW, in too many cases the "managers of product owners" are the real product owners, and the teams are stuck with proxies.  Those extra layers usually just add noise and reduce flexibility.

      Other things managers should probably do less of in an agile organization: Coordination between teams, performance appraisals, neurotic interventionism ( http://blogs.collab.net/agile/neurotic-interventionism ), applying pressure.   Most managers don't enjoy doing that stuff anyway.  Instead we're looking for vision, clear priorities, and help removing obstacles.  If they are open to your feedback (and always ask first), you can help them learn to give up control to gain influence.

      --mj


      On Jan 1, 2013, at 11:26 AM, "Steve" <steverwyllie@...> wrote:

       

      Hi,

      I've been a full-time scrum master for the last few years but there's a problem that I eventually keep bumping up against. After some initial discomfort, management teams seem to come to terms with scrum by viewing it as a 'specialist team thing'.

      I'd appreciate hearing anyone's experience on how they got typically time-poor, already-busy and stressed managers to reflect on their own working practice and start to at least consider different approaches, values and behaviours?

      The group I'm thinking about would be 'managers of product owners', IT Directors and traditional project and programme managers.

      Steve



    • Ram Srinivasan
      ... terms with scrum by viewing it as a specialist team thing . So what s happening because of this? Do you have a meta scrum where organizational level
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 2, 2013
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        >> After some initial discomfort, >>management teams seem to >>come to terms with scrum by >>viewing it as a 'specialist team >>thing'.

        So what's happening because of this?

        Do you have a "meta scrum" where organizational level impediments/challenges are discussed periodically?

        Ram

        On Jan 1, 2013 4:19 PM, "Steve" <steverwyllie@...> wrote:
         

        Hi,

        I've been a full-time scrum master for the last few years but there's a problem that I eventually keep bumping up against. After some initial discomfort, management teams seem to come to terms with scrum by viewing it as a 'specialist team thing'.

        I'd appreciate hearing anyone's experience on how they got typically time-poor, already-busy and stressed managers to reflect on their own working practice and start to at least consider different approaches, values and behaviours?

        The group I'm thinking about would be 'managers of product owners', IT Directors and traditional project and programme managers.

        Steve

      • avinap77
        Hi Steve. ... I ve been in similar situations. What has worked for me more than once: * Schedule one-one-one talks with these managers on a regular basis. Give
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 2, 2013
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          Hi Steve.

          --- "Steve" <steverwyllie@...> wrote:
          >
          > I'd also really appreciate anyone else's experience of what's
          > worked, in terms of changing unhelpful behaviours demonstrated by
          > senior guys who aren't part of scrum teams.
          >

          I've been in similar situations.

          What has worked for me more than once:

          * Schedule one-one-one talks with these managers on a regular basis. Give them attention. Make them feel relevant. Groom their involvment. Ask them what's important to them in the context of the current scrum. Make them feel heared and really listen to them.

          * Ask them for active help - for instance in contacting key strategic 3rd parties, or in coordinating work with other teams. Something that fits their C-level. Depending on the relationship between these managers and the team-members - I sometimes approach them for this help myself (as SM) and sometimes encourage a team member to do the asking. Either way pay attention to who's approaching them - it should be someone with a personal approach to them. Someone they really don't want to let down or alternatively really want to impress. By this you efectively turn them into team members without calling it that. They will care about the help they've provided and about what the team does with it.

          * Ask help from them to resolve impediments. They are usually more than glad to help if asked. In fact these managers usually love to help impediments because it lets them shine as real heroes and saviours-of-the-day. Even if they cannot really help, or if they delegate it to someone else, or even if they promise to help and then break that promise - it's the asking that makes the difference. Once they feel that they are helping they will show more interest in the results of their actions.

          * And like others have stated - invite them to the reviews as any other stakeholder. Hold them up to it. If they cannot come - ask them when would be more convenient and reschedule. Really make yourself care about if they come or not. Facilitate the discussion so the team talks to them and so they give their input. They will pick up on it and start reacting with equal care.

          * In the reviews - don't just demo. Ask them for feedback. Share a bit about what was hard for the team during the sprint (not at a fine-grain level like a retro, just the highlights). Let them feel the pains and challenges of the team. Let them participate in celebrating the team's success.

          HTH and good luck!
          Avi
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