FAQ with Jeff Sutherland on Scrum Guide 2020
2020-12-10 09:33:11
Fei Teng
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As part of the Scrum community, ZenTao team joined the Scrum Guide 2020 Launch Meeting on Zoom. The closing thoughts from Dr. Jeff Sutherland are quite inclusive and were summarized below.

Three major questions:

  1.  The new Scrum Guide says the Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum team's effectiveness. In what ways do you see the Scrum Master doing this differently than in the past? 
  2.  The Scrum Masters are now leaders who lead, instead of servant leaders. Is it indeed more than just a reordering of those specific words? What is the difference between a leader who serves and a servant leader? 
  3.  The new Scrum Guide says the Scrum team is self-managing, but it was self-organizing. What does this change mean to us?

Scrum Master and Team Effectiveness

Jeff Sutherland thinks the intent is the same as the past. But as Jeff and Ken were beginning to put this guide together, Ken said that the biggest problem in Scrum is the word "Servant Leadership". Many people have been interpreted that as they do not need to enable the team to improve, and they are not responsible for that improvement. Many management teams said that they paid these Scrum Masters a lot of money, but they are just secretaries. Why should we pay them? 

So how could this problem be fixed? Ken said that "let's just takes servant leadership out of the guide and then". Many of the coaches said no to that. The problem is that Scrum is not doing the  leadership part of servant leadership. So so they reverse the words. It is still the same thing, but the leadership is front and centered. Leadership has always been important, and a little shift in emphasis gets people more focused on the most important thing. 

Scrum Master: leaders who serve

Jeff reviewed the models that he had in his mind when they created Scrum. One of them is what Toyota did on the Toyota production line. They eliminated the manager of the frontline and the foreman, and put a facilitation leader in charge. That facilitation leader will know every job on the front. And they are able to train every person on that team and then actually help them do the work. That is one type of leader who serves. 

Another model is from the movie,  Invictus. When the South African team beat the All Blacks and the president of South Africa called the captain of the rugby team to his mansion and said,  "I want you to win against the all blacks'"., and the whole story unfolds. The team captain figured out how to beat the all blacks. That is a great Scrum Master is, which is quite different than just taking notes of the Daily Scrum. So the Scrum Masters want to inject a sense of mission, not that telling the team what to do, but talk to the people and explain the importance. Scrum Masters are great inspirations for the people, and they take blows for your team. That's what a great team captain does right there on the field playing alongside, and they are often the first people to get hit really hard, and because of that, people follow them. And that is the reason for the South African team won. Many great teams are like that. Some amazing teams that have far exceeded expectations. 

Scrum Team: self-managing

This goes back to the work with Professor Takeuchi and Nonaka. Even today, they are mentors. Nonaka has always said that that that front line person is a catalyst for organizational change. To be the catalyst for that change, the way they manage down and up is the way that he would frame it. So the Scrum Master has to deal with management as well as facilitate the team that they both go together. It a big job and a lot of new Scrum Masters know it. They have to have a lot of learning and coaching before they can actually do it well. But if they sat that as a as a goal to move towards, there will be much better Scrum and much better Scrum Masters.