CHOW 178 – Scrum Master Acceptance

Mahesh is a new scrum master who has recently joined a scrum team. Team has experienced team members who have delivered software successfully in the past. They are quite confident in the technology being used in the project. They follow scrum practices mechanically. Mahesh is trying to change this. However, many times team members do not listen to what Mahesh says and ignore him. Sometimes, they carry out Mahesh’s suggestions reluctantly. Mahesh is finding it difficult to lead this team and feels that he is not able to influence them. How do you think Mahesh could navigate this situation and succeed ?

Suggested Solution :

Mahesh, is a new person in the team that is already formed and has established some ways of working that have been used before and deliveries have happened. Irrespective of whether these ways are good or not,  whether they deliver good quality and customer satisfaction or not, whether they can be improved or not; team believes that they have a working model and they want to stick to it. They  resist the change. This is a classic case of change being pushed from outside. Obviously, the first thing that Mahesh has to do is to establish the need for change. He has to identify some issues that team has faced, what caused those issues and how those issues could be handled better by the changes that he proposes. He has to explain and make the team understand why certain paradigms that they are working with do not work and the need for adoption of new paradigms. Once this is achieved, team will accept his leadership and will follow him. Mahesh has to keep in  mind that knowledge workers do not respect positions. They respect knowledge and value addition. For acceptance by the team, Mahesh has to come across as a person who adds value. This alone will help him create his place in the team. He should consciously avoid getting into command and control mode or escalation to management, which he could be tempted to, out of frustration. That would lead to his failure as scrum master. Rather, he should stick to fundamentals of change management and go about it systematically. He should keep the management informed of the problem and his approach to resolve it. But he has to deal with the problem himself and not seek their direct intervention.

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