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Any Scrum People Managers?

Last post 01:28 pm September 8, 2023 by Ryan Kent
3 replies
10:30 am September 6, 2023


I have recently started as a people manager, managing people across various Scrum Teams.  This includes day to day admin, such as booking annual leave and having one to one, where individuals can discuss career plans and areas they want to develop in.   Performance is generally managed within the Scrum Teams...genereally.

I have seen posts on here and other forums which suggests some people think any kind of people management is completely against the ethos of Scrum.   

I'd just like to connect with anyone who is in a similar role to mine or if anyone has found a way of having a supportive management role that works.


07:20 pm September 7, 2023

I have been in the same role many times before.  While it isn't described within the Scrum framework, it is something that organizations want.  Scrum is all about the performance of a team but most organizations will compensate individuals based upon their performance.  And they track benefits, such as paid leave, on the individual basis. They will also maintain budgets based upon individual contributor costs. I have found that the two are not mutually exclusive.

My philosophy has been to coach the individuals on how to show their individual performance in relation to the success of the greater team.  For example, senior level individuals can contribute to the team's success in many ways other than being the hero.  Are they helping to grow the less senior members' knowledge and capabilities?  Are they sharing information outside of the technical organization in ways that the lay business person can understand?  These are all ways that a senior individual contributor can contribute to the organization's success and grow their personal capabilities. 

Help the individuals understand that their contribution to the greater good of the organization is going to serve them better in their career than becoming a silo of knowledge and skills. 

As for things like approving leave, I usually direct the individual to discuss their plans with the team before they come to me.  That way they are taking the initiative to help the team prepare for their absence and I really have to do is make sure their request does not go outside the boundaries of the organizational standards.

In regards to "areas they want to develop in" I help them to find opportunities for that.  Whether it is seminars, training, partnering with another team, special projects, etc.  I work with the other people managers and Product Owners to help identify these. 

07:50 pm September 7, 2023

I have seen posts on here and other forums which suggests some people think any kind of people management is completely against the ethos of Scrum.  

Servant leadership would be completely within it. From what you say, there are good opportunities for you to evidence this, and to help teams and the organization to overcome their constraints.

01:28 pm September 8, 2023

I am currently in this situation. I am an Agile Coach (previously a Scrum Master) within our organization and currently also acting as people leader for Scrum Masters. My leader was put on special assignment and my duties were expanded. I have led Scrum Masters in the past in another role. 

While each person serves Scrum teams, we are also a team. Performance is measured across a few facets. Within Scrum Teams, within our team in terms of sharing knowledge and supporting other SMs and promoting and advancing Scrum and Agile ways of working across the organization.

I encourage self-management which includes time away. Each person has a team they need to work with and they work out time away with them. I don’t approve it and team members inform me and the rest of the team for transparency.

Similar to Daniel I support team members in their professional development through classes, opportunities to practice, and I provide teaching, mentorship, guidance etc. 

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