I want to share my thoughts on the main project manager/scrum master/leader responsibilities in the team. In the vacancies texts I usually come across the following PMs responsibilities: he should plan, estimate, manage risks, etc. But why our projects are still so often a disaster, nevertheless our PMs are planning, estimating, managing risks, etc and doing that thoroughly?
I deliberately mentioned PMs, Scrum Masters and leaders – actually, I think team can’t survive without the leader and the first two are the leaders. Ok, they are formal leaders.
From my experience there are two most common types of management among the PMs – authoritarian (repressions) and humane (democratic). In the first model PM will probably try to find the team members who are more stupid than himself or “dogs”, who will listen to him. Almost all the decisions are taken by the PM and even stupid ones are implemented by the team with no argues. PM keeps the team in his “tough hands” and controls all the communications and process. Of course, I am describing the worst option. But just think a bit about the control you have – how hard are you keeping your team?
In Agile we are intended to hire only the skilled, enthusiastic, independent people, who can for the self-organizing team of our dream, with the infinite increase of velocity 🙂 There people are probably smart and can be rather sarcastic. They are not afraid to tell you their opinion. They are shining stars.
This strong and freedom-loving team needs a strong leader. Who will be the heart of the team. here comes Scrum master or PM.
And what this person do? Usually, he does some things that are forgotten by the PMs from the first example:
This PM or Scrum master supports the communications, talking about ideas, problems, team members opinions. During retrospectives the team is talking about the problems, not hiding them. PM is not afraid, that team members talk about the failure of the project, about his mistakes, about routine tasks, useless of PM and many-many other unpleasant things. It is the first step to fix them – name them. That is how we can find the root causes.
Actually, it is the most important activity of PM/scrum master, if you have a strong team. They are like a rocket, they are moving so fast, productive that you, as PM should do the only thing – remove any issues on their way. So they can continue moving at the same speed)
PM helps to improve communications with boards and visualizations, track the progress (update all these burn downs), organizes planning and demos – keeps and eye on the process. There also can be impediments created by the management, bureaucracy, or problems with the servers because of your stupid-stupid admins. Anything that slows your team or disturbs them.
Motivation and fun
PM/Scrum master helps to keep fun at work and don’t kill the team’s motivation. How?
PM should be strong enough, as this great team can just kill him – chew for some time and then swallow. In this case team can even continue to look ok from outside, but it probable be suffering from the continuous wars inside. When the leader is killed – someone should take his place. Especially if they know the taste of blood already 🙂