Friday, December 9, 2011

Scrum Master, Process Facilitator, Growth Facilitator. Managers or Leaders or Neither?

I have recently read a book my brother-in-law let me borrow titled First, break all the rules *1.

It is written based on results of a survey by Gallup of over 60,000 managers at 400 Corporations.  The book is based on written and actual in-person interviews.  It has an interesting concept regarding the difference between Great leaders and Great managers.

In short, the definitions are as as follows;

 -Great Leaders focus OUTWARD.  This includes thinking about how the group, business unit, section, division, corporation, community will interface, operate and thrive in relation to the external world as his/her group moves into the future.   The leader looks for upcoming obstacles, competition, market trends, and opportunities for growth within their realm.  That realm could be at any level down to the smallest business unit or small group of people.

Great Managers focus INWARD. This includes thinking about the personal interaction between the people and businesses in their care.  This might include providing feedback on ways to improve, recommendations for training, guiding career futures, and helping their unit work efficiently as a group.  In some cases, managers will have direct impact on what and how the employees under their care will grow and learn.

I spent some time trying to figure out how to map these ideas to the Scrum Master, Coaching roles and to the Growth Facilitator and Process Facilitator capacities of Open Agile and had some trouble with the mapping.

This got me thinking.

This MAY be the reason why corporations have such a hard time defining the roles and fitting them into their structure.

Where does the OpenAgile Process Facilitator fit?  A Process Facilitator is neither.  Well, maybe more of a manager? 

What about the OpenAgile Growth Facilitator?  Is that capacity more of a "leader"... Hmmm... doesn't quite fit.

The Scrum Master role is even more obscure in this comparison.

The Scrum Master is not managing anyone, yet still enforcing the rules of Scrum, encourages the improvement of skills and agile techniques and assists to protect the team members from outside interference.  These clearly appear at first glance to be Manager attributes.  However, the Scrum Master is not a manager.

The Scrum Master is looking outward for potential obstacles, working to try and grow Agile in the organization and working hard to try and teach others as to its’ goals and purpose.  These appear at first glance to be the role of a leader.  However, the Scrum Master is not a leader.

I now can see why Corporations have such a hard time identifying the Scrum Master in their organizations. Scrum Masters basically don’t fit either category, yet most corporate hiring is done based on hiring of “leaders” and “managers”.

Interesting (to me at least) :-> 

Mike Caspar

Open Agile
*1                       FIRST, Break all the rules; Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

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