It seems that these days everyone is talking (and writing) about scaling agile.

I guess what happened is that most companies now realize that agility is not a passing trend or just a set of values and principles, agility is a skill that most organization need to develop in order to survive in the stormy waters of today's market.

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Consider the following situation. What has just happened there? What would you advise Jeff to do? What tools can you use to turn such a situation around?

The team, all members of it,are attending the planning session of the last iteration of the release. It has been a rather stressful release, and Jeff, the Scrum Master, is trying to reflect to the team that your average velocity is 7 stories per sprint, and that committing to 12 stories will put the team in more stress and increased risk of getting enough scope done.
It is a painful experience for Jeff. On one hand he cannot tell the team what to do. He is expected to manage without authority. And it doesn't work. He feels frustrated.

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(Or is agile just another way of hiding it away?)

Imagine the following scenario

Fred is a senior developer. The team is doing Scrum for about 10 sprints now, and the ceremonies are kind-of getting into a routine. The team is committing for work to do, and delivering more-or-less what they promised. And yet, Fred is not a happy chappy.

The team is coming to their third release, and there are talks that regression period must be on time, on track this time.

In his frustration, Fred talks to his Scrum Master, expressing his concern that developers must do regression testing yet again in the upcoming regression period. Clearly developers should do coding, and testers should do the testing.

Joe, the Scrum Master reminds Fred that regression is for the entire team, not just for testers, and that they are all in the same boat, and that by coding away during regression they are merely adding more technical debt to an already potentially unstable release.

Fred walks back to his desk, muttering "right; and my testing skills are so good, that all bugs will be uncovered. Such a good tester I am".

What just happened here?

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For some reason, for many the essence of the Scrum Master role boils down to: “remove impediments for the team” or “is responsible for the Scrum process”.

Others declare that “the Scrum Master is a kind of a PMO”, or “a facilitator for the team”. Not that it is not part of the Scrum Master role – but it certainly is not the essence.

Furthermore, such statements are demeaning, in my view. Strong word, and yet, making statements such as the above, to me, indicates that the speaker may not yet understand what agility really means.

 

And please don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I think that facilitation is something to look down at. On the contrary – facilitators can save a conference from failing miserably. Similar arguments can be made on PMOs.

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