Friday, April 04, 2014

Situational Leadership and the ScrumMaster

After I recently posted an article called "An Introduction to Situational Leadership", I was contacted by Randy Baker.   Randy lived nearby and had worked with Dr. Paul Hershey, the developer the initial Situational Leadership (SI) model, for 20 years.

In the original article, I shared an illustration of the levels of team maturity:

I described to Randy, how the ScrumMaster role is meant to help teams reach higher levels of maturity by, at first, directing less and then delegating more.  Randy then drew the following diagram (it was, literally, on a Starbucks napkin so I've redrawn and added it to the diagram above):

The diagram shows the relationship between a leader in the SI model and the team, based on their maturity.  This diagram resonates because it matches the formations you'd observe in a Daily Scrum based on the maturity of the Scrum Team.

Scrum attempts to bootstrap a Scrum Team into the "high supportive behavior" side (top half).  Very often a studio's culture will be more directive going in, and you'll initially find teams reporting to the ScrumMaster, who is running the meeting (the "Coaching" quadrant in the upper right) at the center of a group of developers.  Over time, a good ScrumMaster will improve their facilitation skills and support (upper left quadrant) the team as an equal member, standing as a part of the team's circle.

As a Scrum Team develops their maturity and becomes more self-organizing, the ScrumMaster will delegate more of their day-to-day duties, but always observe and support the team (lower left quadrant).

Any team that finds themselves in the lower right quadrant is not "doing Scrum" yet.


Jon Chan said...

These diagrams helped me visualize a variety of development situations I've worked in. I think it's important to note that the scrum master's position insinuates a type of relationship/connection with their team members. Like all good management, the leadership has failed when they put themselves above the rest of the the team.

Thanks for sharing your insights!

Clinton Keith said...

Hi Jon,

Thanks! SI even highlights when the team is under-managed. At times, I've assumed a team can figure out something, and they needed more support.