The Agilists Advantage

There is a key difference between a traditional project manager and an Agile leader. Martin Fowlers quote sums up how embracing change and not needing to be perfect can improve your output.

“For agilists the question is business value –
did the customer get software that’s more valuable to them than the cost put into it.
A good predictive project will go according to plan,
a good agile project will build something different and better than the original plan foresaw.”

Martin Fowler.

Transitioning Project Manager to Scrum Master

A Scrum Master can be born from any industry and any role.

The characteristics to be a Scrum Master don’t include the pre-requisite to be a dictating leader. However, as many software development departments are transitioning to Agile Delivery methodologies they are starting with the Project Management Office. Project managers are required to be organizers, strong leaders with an inherent level of logic to be able to direct the team and allocate out the tasks. In contrast Scrum Masters are servants to the outcomes and the scrum team is self-organising, so therefore collectively self-directing.
Everybody needs a little help
So what does this mean for project managers turned scrum master that are used to taking the bull by the horns?
Making the transition from wrangler to herder is actually a big personality and behavior shift for most project managers.

The project manager must relinquish control!

“Huh” you say.

The epiphany I had was that I needed to relinquish control to allow for the team take control themselves. The team needs the space to be able to become accountable, to take control of their own outcomes, quality and contribute to fluid productivity. Along the transition you will need to have your own epiphanies to become a great scrum master, here’s a few to be aware of.

1. It’s not solely up to you to design and deliver the solution. Present problems to the team, facilitate the team creating the solution.
2. Let go of some of your stronghold behaviors; detach from rigid outcome and allow the team to own their own results.
3. Be open to the learning journey, the time required to learn, to tackle through unknowns. Don’t judge to quickly. Iterative delivery allows for mistakes to be made early so they can be fixed earlier.
4. Embrace silence, don’t force responses. Give time for people to think, and time for people to speak through their thoughts
5. Challenge yourself and the team to go beyond reasonable expectation, nudge the boundaries!

Good luck and be open to becoming a calm assertive leader.

We have more Agile Project Manager Resources to help with the journey.

Agile Project Managers Resource List

  1. The Scrum Cheat Sheet
  2. Thoughtworks Agile 101
  3. The Agile Manifesto
  4. The 12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto
  5. Books: Agile Project Management by jim highsmith subtitled Creating Innovative Products

Scrum Masters Resources: