Passive powerless scrum mastery lament

The two extremes of management styles include traditional autocratic project management on one end and a passive powerless scrum master on the other.
With the first hand experience of both sides of the spectrum in coaching and scrum mastery over the last few years - here are some of most painful realities of this ill conceived role:

Some common misconceptions about Scrum Masters are listed below: 

  • They should Manage teams instead of Leading them
  • They should only Assign Work 'Push Mode' instead of promoting ‘Pull Mode'
  • They should act as a SPRINT MASTERs instead of Process Owners
  • They should Try to Maintain productivity instead of trying to increase it
  • They should only maintain a Project Plan instead of making Burndown charts visible
  • They should only look forward instead of carry out Retrospectives at iteration boundaries
  • They should ask for daily status from the team instead of facilitating a daily stand-up meeting
  • ....

There are many more - what is your experience?


pseudomorph - belle and rock

Warren Buffet once inferred this interesting recommendation (paraphrased).

If you intend to run a belle - run a belle.
If you intend to run a rock concert - run a rock concert.
Don't market your belle as a rock concert.

Trying to transform into being more agile in isolation (at team level) without getting  top down support from rest of the organization is like belle and rock respectively.
Agile component within a big waterfall is a phenomenon that I call pseudo-morph.

an irregular or unclassifiable form.

Scope, Cost and Time have long been known as key constraints for managing projects. In the quest for responding to change over following a plan - an alien set of practices evolve over time. Unless the transition stays within the principle guidelines, the resultant is a pseudo-morph. 

The next time you see an evolving practice in your context - try it with a long term principle based view and keep re-evaluating the value. Sometimes - it is better to pivot, take a step towards a new practice with an open mind to accommodate evolutionary change. 

Growth brings inherent challenges to the speed of change. 

Organizations tend to box themselves into a virtual constraint that forces them into big ship mode.

A clear demarcation of belle and rock concert is inevitable to meet the audience's expectations. However, a combination could result in a new genre some day.

No harm in trying. Who knows, we might invent a synergy (belrock). 

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