Take your pick!

Don’t take me wrong but the true is that they both can be an impediment to self-organized teams.

Some organizations have difficulties on adopting Scrum. I mean “Scrum Scrum”, not “Scrum But” or any other variant. Why is this?

One of the reasons is some Management, particularly some middle management.


Managers and Team Leads are used to tell their teams what to do, how to do it, to estimate how long will take to do it and to monitoring everything. They help the team when needed but normally they expect things to be done the way they thought …there is no collaboration!

When you adopt Scrum or other agile methodology you must be aware of the changes your organization needs to embrace.

The “Top-Down Management” culture has no place in this new environment.

This doesn’t mean managers are no longer needed. It means they need to change the way they interact with teams. They need to trust their team and the Scrum Master. On the other hand, teams and Scrum Masters have to trust managers. They need to know that Managers will be there to help them when impediments and constraints are above the Scrum Master influence.

If we are working under de umbrella of Scrum than you know that a Manager is more available to do other things because he knows his team is working well and there is a Scrum Master to help them achieve goals.

But Managers aren’t the only problem you can find. Managed people can be a problem to your team too.

Imagine someone that technically is a good developer or tester but never suggests any changes or improvements, never asks why we are doing this way and not the other way, never complains, and if it wasn’t for the amount of work done you would forget that he/she belongs to the team.

Do you have someone like this in your team?


If you do than there is one of two things you can do: or you shake (and train) him/her or you dismiss him/her. But if you are a Scrum Master you can only take the first option.

In a self-organized team everyone contributes with ideas, plans, help, responsibility and collaborates in all aspects. As a team member you need to be involved, to feel you belong there, to listen and to be listened, you can’t just be there.

So if you are a Scrum Master and have someone in your team that prefers to be managed, you have to involve her more in discussions, ask for her opinion, give her the word more often. All Scrum events are great occasions to do that.

In the review event she may presents user stories with which she feels more comfortable. Every day on daily scrum give her the word if she remains in silence. A retrospective meeting is the most difficult moment to involve her because each one is exposed to the rest of the team, but it is still possible. The planning meeting seems to be the perfect moment because a team member participates with his technical profile besides the social one. She needs to say how she will develop a user story and what technics she will apply. And if she won’t defend her ideas than you, as a Scrum Master, may provoke her.

Scrum defines a Scrum team as a self-organized team and “Self-organizing teams choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team”.

A Scrum team works better if there is no Manager trying to direct her and no team member hoping to be directed.

(pictures: our table football)