Organisations need to understand …

Unfortunately some teams don’t have the option to work closer or don’t have walls on which to put cards. Organizations need to change, and to understand that using Scrum is more than having a product backlog, holding release and sprint planning sessions, having sprint reviews and retrospectives and daily scrum meetings. – Daniel Wildt

What is an organization? The definition that I understand the best – at this point in time – is the idea of Niklas Luhmann: An organization is its communication. Or more directly:

The communication within the system of an organization, is the organization.

Having no whiteboards, or having no walls is not the problem of the organization but the real issue behind this is a management that does not understand that their main goal is to deliver an environment that supports the purpose of the organization. If the purpose of the organization is to deliver software and if the best way to do this is for example Scrum, then they have to build an organization to support teams within a Scrum environment.

We – in the Scrum world, do not want to see that management has a key role in Scrum. We also need to understand that most managers are not doing the jobs they should, because they do not know their new job description. They are most of the time specialists who were promoted. But they are not specialists in building environments for their teams.

On the other side – Henry Mintzberg – showed already 1990 in The Managers Job: Folklore and Facts, that most managers are not doing what the management literature tells us managers do. In fact they do NOT work on strategy, they do not plan what is best for the organization, and they do not work with their teams to improve their skills. Most managers are consumed by day to day activities that are very short, they have to make too many quick decisions and they are distracted a lot of the time.

I was a Team Lead, a Head of a Software Development Department, a General Manager of a company and I have seen far too many managers overworked in their positions. So I strongly believe that Mintzberg’s observation is right.

I worked with Product Owners this week – they do everything, except work on their product vision. They don’t say this work is not important, they see that it is. So why do they not work on it? Because working on product visions is time consuming. They don’t have the Time! They have 50 to 60 percent of their time scheduled by other people: meetings, jobs, etc. They are not in control of their time.

So what this means is – ScrumMasters on all levels need to help managers to re-imagine their jobs and to change the way management works.

This will be the real challenge for ScrumMasters over the next few years.


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