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Getting a manager of a Scrum team to be more like a coach rather than a taskmaster ..

This is a topic that I have heard enough about from members of Scrum teams. In informal conversations where the managers are not present, the biggest problem that these team members recount is that they are given training that being in a Scrum team provides them empowerment, the ability to decide on the work to be done after the Product Owner has provided a prioritized Backlog. They have the freedom to provide the estimates, and then to do their work without a project manager sitting on top of their head. It is also understood that it takes some time for these processes to stabilize, for them to get the required amount of experience about working in a Scrum team, and hence the first 1-2 Sprints may not have as much productivity as stakeholders would have expected from the team. As against this, the team feels that their managers have not internalized the changes that have happened, that in a majority of the case, there is the expectation from one or more of the managers that only if they are running things do things work well.
This is a natural feeling, since the managers have had this feeling right from the beginning. Some of the managers might even have the feeling that unless they are in the thick of things, there will be problems in the project and the productivity rate will not be as high as expected. At the same time, I had a discussion with the manager of one of these teams, and his head seemed to be screwed on perfectly right. Before the team started using Scrum, he was the regular manager, having status meetings with groups of people reporting to him every other day, managing a large spreadsheet and ensuring that people were doing exactly what they were told (of course, when he went on sudden leave for a week, things get very problematic since the team, even though they had smart people, were used to a situation where the manager would be telling them what they were doing for the week). This, and a couple of other discussions we had with other teams who had also started using Scrum convinced him that the team should explore Scrum and do this seriously.
So, trainings were held for the team, for the managers of the team, and some discussions were held with the other stakeholders and the team got blessings from everybody. Once the team started work, it was an initial struggle for him to accept the changed situation, but he was a good example for how a manager should react. He started visualizing his role as one to be a coach to the team, and even though there were times when he felt that his intervention could have showed the team the way, he wanted to act in a way that they would reach the same goal. In fact, in a couple of situations, the only way to show team members was to allow them to go down a certain route so that they could see the problems that came up (such as when estimations were off the mark and he could see why); once the team got into a discussion, he let them down the path where they could see where they had fallen short in the estimation methodology and this helped the team improve and do better next time.
However, this was not true every time. Many of the team members in other Scrum teams would complain about how their managers would immediately get into decisive action mode when they saw something going wrong, and this meant that the team were told what to do to correct situations rather than figure out the problems and solutions themselves. Managers really need to resist these kind of interventions in favor of acting like a coach, and it is primarily the scrum master who could point out problems like these.

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