Project Managers Make Lousy Scrum Masters
Vitality Chicago | Jul 26, 2018
Interesting read. In a nutshell:
Project Managers Are Predisposed to Control
The main challenge that project managers have when performing the scrum master role is that it is different. The skills and approach that make a project manager great will make a scrum master fail.
If I were to pick out just one thing that project managers need to focus on, it would be control. PMs are predisposed to manage and control. What do they control? Everything! That is how they make sure their project succeeds.
In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), we can see all the areas that project managers are expected to manage or control including scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, procurement and stakeholders…which is pretty much everything.
The project manager has overall responsibility for the successful initiation, planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling and closure of a project. The project manager takes charge and succeeds by getting work done through others. The project manager has also been the one to blame when things go wrong.
In contrast, the scrum master is a servant leader who doesn’t have the overall responsibility for delivery. The scrum master supports the product owner and scrum team to take responsibility for all aspects of the work: planning, estimation, executing and delivery. The primary responsibilities of the scrum master could be summarized as:
Teaching and coaching scrum to the team and product owner
Helping the development team to self-organize
Serving the product owner, dev team and organization
Facilitating scrum events
Project Managers Need to Relinquish Control
A Quick Litmus Test On Command And Control
While not perfect, this assessment might give you an idea of the level of control you tend to exert. Take a moment to go through the questions below and track how many “yes” responses you have:
Identifying Controlling Behavior
Do you feel that you need to monitor your team members so that they don’t slack off?
Do you believe that you generally know what is best, and willingly offer solutions and advice?
Do you tend to interject yourself into problem solving, even when you are not invited to get involved?
Do you try to make the results conform to your idea of what the results should be?
Do you feel uncomfortable when others are in control and you are not?
Do you feel uneasy by the idea that your employees or team may operate fine without you?
Do you feel the need to be involved in the details and decisions to reduce the risk of the project failing or having a misstep?
Do you feel solely and personally responsible for the success and failure of the people you lead?
Do you tend to step in or override others to protect them from possible mistakes or the consequences of their decisions?
Author = Anthony Mersino