Recently I facilitated a meet-up through our local user group, Agile Hyderabad. We had about 60 people attended from 24 different organizations. The group identified top 3 reasons to why Scrum Masters are not being effective. You can read the summary of the session here.
I would like to write my thoughts on each problem in a series of blog posts. This is most likely applicable to Indian context and not sure if it is the same in other countries.
Problem #1 : Scrum Masters are not getting enough support from senior management
The problem statement is that Scrum Masters don’t get enough support with regards to Empowerment, Resolving Impediments or Organizational Change Management. To understand why this is happening, we need to understand the organizations in India little bit.
India is mainly a big service based industry where the client generally dictates the terms. These companies are more concerned about aligning with client rather than following Scrum correctly. Lately, lot of product based companies are coming up which are predominantly remote R&D centers for multi national companies (MNCs). These are very strong technology companies where technical leads are given most importance. I have seen few such organizations where the senior management is afraid of changing anything against technology leaders’ will. In either case, Scrum is secondary for senior management.
I can understand how difficult is a Scrum Master role in such situations. How can they change this? First thing to concentrate is the Scrum education. All senior management and clients of the companies need to go through the same level of Scrum/Agile training. In addition, they need to be trained on leadership aspects too. Once they are educated, Scrum Masters should be able to explain them the consequences of not doing Scrum right. This requires good coaching skills for Scrum Masters. May be, they can take help of a good agile coach. It’s not going to be an easy change and could probably take several iterations and you need to go through lot of frustration.
If you tried everything you could, but can’t change a thing, you have two options – either live with it or look for a new job.
I welcome comments from the people in the battlefield who are dealing with this day in and day out.