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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: FW: RE:How imiportant is a ScrumMaster?

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  • Mike Beedle
    Joseph, Great observations. yes, it is a fine tuned balance . My fear is that if we call the SM a leader , (s)he then will be the team leader . and the
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 29, 2005



      Great observations… yes, it is a “fine tuned balance”.  My fear is that if we call the SM

      “a leader”, (s)he then will be the “team leader”… and the rest of the team members

      will follow him/her.  That’s not quite what we do in Scrum (as you pointed out).


      I tend to follow more the “SM as insurance philosophy”…  but this is also an extreme position.


      Enforcing the Scrum process is implemented (to the degree possible), are activities

      that the SM should always do, things like:


      ·         Schedule and ensure correct activities at the Scrum Planning Meetings

      ·         Schedule and ensure correct activities at the Scrum Review Meetings

      ·         Schedule and ensure correct activities at any Reprioritization Meetings

      ·         Schedule and ensure correct activities at the Scrum Meetings

      ·         Etc.


      Also, mandatory, imo is the “resolution of issues for team” --- that’s always the work

      for the ScrumMaster.


      However, imo, the ScrumMaster should only intervene with the team whenever needed:


      ·         On resolution of technical issues… (specially if politics or social issues involved)

      ·         On poor communications, (s)he should appropriately facilitate communications

      ·         ON poor cooperation (s)he should appropriately facilitate cooperation

      ·         Etc.


      So, yes it is not as easy as “insurance”… but at least it is on the other side of

      “command and control” J


      - Mike



      From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Joseph Little
      Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2005 12:31 AM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: FW: RE:How imiportant is a ScrumMaster?



      I contrast, perhaps incorrectly, your mention of the SM as
      insurance, with others' idea that the SM provides leadership
      (presumably before the insurance policy clearly needs to be called

      Recently a team member noted that many/most of the members of the
      team were introverts.  Not being a professioal in that area, his
      comment still seemed more than plausible.  And so it occurs to me
      that leadership starts with encouraging all team members to
      conribute vocally in the self-organization of the team.

      "Insurance" to me suggests that the SM stay back until "required".
      Rather than more pro-actively providing some leadership to the Team.
      (And, in any case, supporting whatever leadership is bubbling up in
      the Team.)

      Then I contrast others' concern that no one "interfere" with the
      team, eg, start operating command and control on them.  (Perhaps
      inaccurately, I think this is Ken Schwaber's concern particularly.)
      Since many SMs are former PMs, a C&C approach is easy for a former
      PM to slide back into (and for the team to expect). This gives one
      the idea for the SM to be even less directly active.

      I still think that the SM needs to have lots of quiet time to listen
      to the Team breathe, and to decide what the Team needs most (as
      opposed to what it would be easiest for the SM to give, or what one
      favorite member wants).

      Anyway, this discussion has made me realize that the SM role, done
      well, is harder even than I thought before.  And more valuable.  And
      harder to explain to newbies and to chickens (eg, the kind who pay
      for that role).  Of course, Agile is robust, and the SM can be less
      than perfect (thankfully) and still usually get the project gets

      Thanks, Joe

      Joseph Little
      Kitty Hawk Consulting
      Charlotte, NC 

      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com , "Mike Beedle"
      <beedlem@e...> wrote:
      > Tim wrote:
      > >- Scrum isn't a magical/mystical methodology.  It's something a
      > >person might do under pressure.  (Doesn't Beck describe most of
      the XP
      > >practices that way?  As things that people have done when they
      > >under pressure to make things work?  Like pair programming - when
      > >vital to track down a bug, setting two developers down at a
      > >makes sense.  XP just says, "what if we pretended that the whole
      > >software development process was vital to the company?")

      > Yes, I agree -- this is how I see Scrum..  it is a simple sensible
      > to *very basic* questions:

      >             How do we get something done ASAP?
      >             How do we make sure everything is on track?
      >             How can we get done as much as we can?
      >             How do we organize our work and the work of my team
      with minimal
      > effort?
      >             Etc.

      > The ScrumMaster is "insurance". so that if the team doesn't follow
      the Scrum
      > process, or
      > resolve issues. or fails to attend or perform the meetings
      correctly, there
      > is someone
      > "safeguarding" the team.

      > Teams can run without a ScrumMaster. but it is risky for they
      may "miss the
      > forest for the trees".

      > It is *very hard* for the team members that are doing technical
      > although it is possible,
      > to also constantly think of:

      > *         overall customer satisfaction
      > *         overall work allocation and balance
      > *         overall project status
      > *         scheduling of meetings
      > *         ensure the process is done and it is done correctly
      > *         reprioritization of tasks
      > *         etc.

      > However, I always recommend that the ScrumMaster is in the "Bull
      Pen" with
      > the developers
      > at all times.   otherwise is "the guy that shows up for 15 min in
      > and typically
      > developers loose respect for him/her,

      > - Mike

      > Michael A. Beedle Ph. D.
      > CEO
      > New Governance Inc.
      > 2275 Half Day Rd. Suite 350
      > Bannockburn , IL 60068
      > mike.beedle@n...
      > http://www.newgovernance.com <http://www.newgovernance.com/>
      > office: 847-821-2631
      > cell: 847-840-9890
      > NY 1-(646)-216-9216

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