Coping with change on Scrum projects (part II)
Recently, I saw a spate of posts dealing with this very topic - although much more specific. In particular, one of the questions raised was "How does a manager add value on a Scrum team?" This segues nicely into this weeks post in which I intended to cover how the management roles (general managers and project managers) are expected to change in an Agile environment.
Since Agile teams are supposed to be self managing, where does this leave general management, and what are they supposed to be doing. Hopefully the following will give you some food for thought.
#1. Managers should be there to act as a sounding board for the team, especially if the manager has good experience. This will help the teams avoid the obvious gotchas that many teams especially teams new to Agile make.
#2. Managers should be there to help with the heavy lifting. What I mean by that is that they should be assisting the Scrum Master to eliminate "BIG" blockers that require stakeholder involvement.
#3. New teams, especially require support and buy-in from executive management in order for Agile process to take hold. Managers should go to bat for the team to keep them on track. It's so easy for teams to slip back into their old habbits.
#4. Managers should be their as team coach. Assisting team members with career path planning, doing performance reviews, training or organizing training.
#5. I save the best for last. Managers should be focusing on the longer term strategic initiatives in the company. i.e. figuring out how to deal with competitive threats, increasing sales, reducing costs etc. Managers should be working on defining, the longer term "Epics" and prioritizing them including figuring out the product roadmaps together with the Product Managers.
Scrum essentially does away with the traditional Project Management role. So where does that leave these employees. Well most often, Project Managers transition into the role of the Scrum Master. Naturally it makes sense, however great Scrum Masters also come from Development, and QA believe it or not. But trust me, the Scrum Master role is not even vaguely close to that of the Project Manager. So what can you expect as you transition to this role?
#1. For starters, as Scrum Master you have to come to terms with the fact that the Team owns the schedule, so no more updating the good old MS Project Gantts any longer. Instead, you have to sit back and maybe initially prod the team to keep their daily estimates current.
#2. You will need to be responsible for ensuring the Scrum process is followed, that everyone understands Scrum and what is expected.
#3. You will need remove blockers (impediments) as quickly as possible
#4. You will need to ensure the team stays true to the sprint goals defined at the beginning.
#5. You will run the daily scrums, well at least ensure that they're organized and kept at the same time, same place.
#6. You will run the retrospectives and organize the end of sprint demos
#7. You will need to ensure that the subtleties of Scrum and in particular the inspect and adapt points are taken seriously and used for the manner in which they're designed. To learn and get better Sprint by Sprint.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. I am sure many of you could add your own flavor to this and in fact I'd encourage you to do so. Looking forward to your comments as always.
Written by Jack Milunksy - COO at Brightspark, certified ScrumMaster and Co-founder of Agilebuddy (Agile project management software that lets you easily Create, Estimate, Plan and Track your software development projects). For great Agile tips follow Jack at: www.twitter.com/agilebuddy. To get more info on Agilebuddy please visit: www.agilebuddy.com