Friday, October 17, 2014

3 Ways a Scrum Team is managed

We think it is reasonable to manage a Scrum in at most 3 ways.

1. Self-management.

The most important way is to tell the Team that they are respoonsible for managing themselves to success.  That is, within their scope, they have to figure out what they need, and then get it.  They have to define all the details of success.

2. Business stakeholders.

The business stakeholders directly working with the Team have a responsibility to provide management over-sight. Honestly, though, what I see is that these managers usually over-manage.  They do not let the Team self-manage enough.  And this hurts.

But, if the Team is not managing itself well, they must do something.  The first thing is to say things, ask questions, but let the Team make some small mistakes.  That's the way they learn.

But if the mistakes continue or might be big, then these 'managers' must intervene.  Usually by helping with one or two impediments.  Possibly by making some people changes.  At the extreme, by dis-banding the Team.

3. Oversight of multiple Teams

There should be an oversight group.  In a small company, this might be the Executive team.  In a larger company, maybe a 'team oversight group'.

The purpose of this group is to look at each team and evaluate whether it is doing 'well enough' to continue, when compared to other Teams and other opportunities.  And, they can help a Team as well.  And resolve some conflicts (eg, two teams want the same person, and that's not possible at the same time).

One can also imagine that the business stakeholders might not do their management job, so this is a backstop to that level of management.

BTW, we strongly urge that the Team itself be there when the oversight group reviews them.  The Team can answer questions, and they can take any feedback 'back to the Team' with much less mis-understanding.  Try to keep the communication clear.  It might be ok if only the PO and the SM appear at the oversight group.  Maybe.


So, 3 'levels' of management.  And that is *enough.  The poor Team needs time to actually do something, instead of being managed so much that they go crazy.

In Scrum, it is pretty clear to see if they are making progress, and usually even if they are making enough progress.

It is just wrong to over-manage innovation.


No comments: