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Agile Managers?

Mike Cottmeyer Chief Executive Officer
Reading: Agile Managers?

What are we going to do with all the managers when we realize the vision of fully self-organizing teams? What incentive to managers have helping teams become more independent if they are in effect working themselves out of a job? I was up at the Agile Coaches Camp this past weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A few of us bounced this idea around a bit and came up with a proposal.

On a self-organizing agile team, the resource manager is responsible for supporting their team’s career development, personal growth, and training; they are also responsible for removing organizational impediments that hamper their team’s ability to perform. Just as a ScrumMaster protects and supports the project team, the Resource Manager protects and supports the resource team.

What do you think? Too simple?

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Comments (4)

  1. Yong How

    Agreed totally that the manager should be “Scrum Master” of the team.

    However, it will be difficult for those old-school managers to change their mindset. They are used to dictating what their team do, some even to the extend of micro-management.

    I think the best way to approach this is have them sit down with their own manager, to set their new responsibilities.
    Then send them for the Scrum Master training course.

    After that, they can then start to “manage” the team as Scrum Master, if possible with the help of a Agile Coach, for at least 1-2 week.

    • Barry Sayers

      It is better for the Scrum Master to not be your manager so that the team member can talk freely in retrospectives without fear of upsetting their manager.

  2. Barry Sayers

    Managers tend to have resources that are working on different Scrum Teams, i.e. they have the cross team perspective, and are often, although not always, a leader and expert of a function or discipline. These function leaders would therefore be one of the first ports of call for the Scrum Master when impediment arise that is within the subject matter of that function leader or manager. The Manager has now become a Manager Coach who is continuously improving the skills of his reports.

  3. Cory

    Interesting point, but I do think it is too simple. You’re really confusing management of one group of people over a product/project with management. You’re also missing a team manager mentality and assuming that the scrum master is able and empowered to address all issues (which they are not able to do and maintain this scrum master role).

    For me it boils down to accountability. If the scrum master becomes accountable for all, not just the scrum metrics of the team then they are no longer the scrum master and have transitioned to a manager using a set of techniques to manage their team.


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