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Insights by Agilicist

The Death of The Scrum Master

Why Enterprises are moving away from Scrum and back to traditional delivery management.

Companies are ditching the Scrum Master role.

They are switching to Technical Agile Product Design Programme Delivery Managers.

Anyone know of any?

Basically someone steeped in agile transformation experience with a traditional project management background who has been a developer and also worked with design thinking and product.

Except, unicorns don’t exist.

It seems like these companies are tired of trying to become agile and failing.

They are tired of trying to improve and so they are heading back to Waterfall because that’s where they are most comfortable.

Sure, it doesn’t work but “we know it”.

Companies have given up on the ideal. They aren’t trying to do pure agile as described by the 17 individuals who wrote the manifesto. They were sold the dream and it didn’t work.

And so my view is, the move to get rid of Scrum Masters is a move towards a more pragmatic take on delivery.

You see, in a lot of these organisations a Scrum Master either doesn’t have, or doesn’t believe they have the authority to actually remove impediments, or deal with dependencies, or instigate changes to team strategy.

And so the role has become redundant.

You’ve got people in a situation where the job they have been assigned they don’t have influence, they don’t have authority, maybe they aren’t qualified or don’t have the insights to do.

And now in retrospectives we only talk about how great it was that Jonny brought the pizza in last week and that this week we are going to have Krispy Kremes.

We don’t really fix anything.

In the past six months Agilicist have worked with more than a handful of companies like this.

That’s why we were called in - they hadn’t addressed their transformation properly:

The Scrum Master is impotent and running around extolling the virtues of Scrum or SAFe or whatever, but they are actually annoying. They aren’t helpful, and they don’t add value, and they aren’t getting value out of the job either.

Instead of searching for the mythical unicorn, companies in this situation are better served addressing the real issue: creating the right conditions for agile to thrive.

That’s why we started Agilicist - we create an environment around the delivery function that is supportive, allows them to deliver on outcomes and gives individuals the agency to conduct their roles as they were intended.

That cultivates ownership and engagement.

Do that and not only does the Scrum Master role become valuable, but the benefits of agility begin to be realised.



Any Questions?



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