Agilists, are you using the Force properly?

By Jeanine Hage - February, 2016

Scrum Master!  As pompous as this role sounds, it has been widely misused. The definitions I hear: Facilitator, secretary of the team, just make sure the team members have what they need to self-manage and get out of the way…Sounds familiar?

While the Scrum framework “reduces” the Scrum Master’s role to that of a facilitator serving a team of experts empowered and in no need for a project manager, it omits to see beyond the tactical framework and under uses a “force” that could propel the project to a whole different level. Agile, by its very nature, could be a strong change management tool to navigate in highly dynamic and ever changing environments and to address challenges created by disruptive technologies. Yet, oddly enough, the role of the agent of change is not considered within the framework.

Another key factor that contributes to the success of the project is also being overlooked or muted in the description of a “facilitator”. It is the link between the project objectives and the global organizational initiatives. No project can stand alone in an organization; the Scrum Master could be the strategist that ensures that project objectives are tied back to the organizational initiatives.

Agent of change and Strategist

Linear methods of change management are widely spread and used. While they address important pain points in the industry, they need to be adapted to an iterative and modular framework presented by Agile, where the path is being created as we walk.

Change managers are often wrongly considered as post-implementation players. Organizations looking to release a product with rapid return on investment are slowly becoming aware of the importance of having the change managers participate in the early stages of the implementation phase. Enter the Scrum Master! Change management is an element of the force that is underused today within the Scrum framework and our “facilitator” ought to be equipped to harness this force.