It Takes A Team

It Takes A Team

Hand Drawn Chart Saturday

An Agile team is comprised of a product owner, team members (all disciplines needed to deliver the project) and the scrum master. Delivering on the team’s commitment is the ultimate measure of value. The scrum master helps to create an environment for the team to work together. Over the life of a project, everyone on the team has to lead and facilitate for the team to effectively deliver value.

Leadership in Agile projects has multiple layers. Product owners provide visionary leadership. Scrum masters provide process leadership and day-to-day leadership is more situational and generally defused across the entire team. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, leadership gurus and authors, have both written that effective leadership is task-relevant. Task-relevant means that the task will determine the type of leadership and in an Agile who provides that leadership.  The focus of any Agile team changes over the life of project based on both on the stories being worked on and the barriers being addressed. As the focus changes, the mantle of tactical leadership typically changes. In a typical sprint, the product owner’s leadership will be most apparent during story grooming and planning as the focus changes to analysis and construction  development personal provide leadership.  When the focus turns to proving that a story is done the focus changes again and the testing role typically provides leadership until the team drives a story to completion when the cycle begins again. The scrum master facilitates that ebb and flow reflecting their own form of leadership.

The primary role of a scrum master is as a facilitator. That responsibility does not have to be shouldered alone.  All team members are responsible for keeping work flowing, for unsticking work when it gets stuck and for helping to create an environment to maximize the delivery of value. Every member of the team has eyes and ears and within the boundary and intimacy of the team and the responsibility to help each other meet their common goals.

While a product owner prioritizes and a scrum master facilitates, it takes a whole team to deliver.  The whole team is responsible for getting the job done which means that at different times in different situations different members will need to provide leadership. Every team member brings their senses to the project-party, which makes all of them responsible looking for trouble and then helping to resolve it even if there isn’t a scrum master around.