The managing ScrumMaster

The managing ScrumMasterA common problem in Scrum implementations occur when the former project manager becomes the ScrumMaster in your Scrum project. I call this the phenomenon “The managing ScrumMaster”. But why is it such a problem?

From push to pull

One of the biggest changes when introducing agile methods like Scrum is the procedure of how the different tasks are assigned. In most non agile projects it is the project manager or even worse other stakeholders who assigns the tasks to the team members. This is the so called “push” principle. In agile projects this is completely different. Here the team members decide on which task of the sprint backlog to work next. This is called the “pull” principle. And that’s were the problem with former project managers start. The team is used to ask his project manager what to do next so they will ask their new ScrumMaster and he will eagerly answer and assign a new task to them. This makes it extremely difficult to switch from push to pull. But if the team is not able to switch to pull they won’t benefit from the main advantage of agile methods: the self organization of the team itself.

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3 thoughts on “The managing ScrumMaster”

  1. Good blog, and a fairly common scenario I suspect. I for one was part of a team with that exact scenario. In my case, our ScrumMaster did a really good job of putting aside his Project Manager duties for the sake of making our Team work. He had a good feel for the team, so when his PM hat needed to go on, he didn’t hesitate.

    I’ve talked to enough people, however to realize that my situation was in the minority, so I will consider myself lucky.

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