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10 Signs You Might be Micromanaging your Scrum Team

November 23, 2023

Teams solving complex problems need creativity to figure out how to deliver value.  Traditional “command and control’ techniques are less impactful in this environment and can  harm the team’s ability to deliver value.  


Scrum empowers teams to deliver value for complex products. Scrum Teams are self-managing which means that the Scrum Team decides who does what, when and how.  (2020 Scrum Guide).  


The idea of self-management is not merely a buzzword, but a cornerstone that sets the stage for success. In complex environments, we need to empower those closest to the work – the Scrum Team – to decide how best to accomplish it.


However, many well-meaning managers may not know how best to empower their Scrum Teams.  With the best of intentions, these managers may be micro-managing their Scrum Team members, which can significantly impair the team’s ability to deliver value.


Recognizing and avoiding micromanagement enables teams to thrive, ensuring they remain focused, engaged, and capable of achieving their highest potential. Here are ten signs that you may be micromanaging your Scrum Team:


1. Constantly Checking In: If you find yourself frequently checking on team members, asking for updates, and needing to know every detail of their progress, it might be a sign of micromanagement.


2. Ignoring Self-Organization: Scrum promotes self-organization, where the team decides how to accomplish the work. If you're dictating every step or not allowing the team to make decisions, you may be micromanaging.


3. Setting Unrealistic Expectations: Pushing the team to meet unrealistic deadlines or demanding too much output in a short timeframe can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction.


4. Not Trusting the Team's Expertise: If you constantly question the team's decisions or feel the need to override their choices, it can indicate a lack of trust in their abilities.


5. Lack of Autonomy: If you're making all the decisions and not allowing team members to take ownership of their tasks, it's a sign of micromanagement.


6. Ignoring Feedback: Dismissing or ignoring input from team members, especially if it conflicts with your own ideas, suggests a lack of trust in their expertise.


7. Being Overly Controlling: Trying to control every aspect of product delivery, from assigning tasks to dictating how they should be done, can stifle creativity and innovation.


8. Not Allowing Mistakes: In Scrum, it's important to allow room for experimentation and learning from mistakes. If you don't give the team this space, it can hinder their growth.


9. Not Allowing Time for Reflection: Constantly pushing for immediate results without allowing time for retrospectives or reflections can lead to a lack of continuous improvement.


10. Ignoring Team Morale and Well-being: Focusing solely on tasks and disregarding the team's morale, work-life balance, and well-being can lead to burnout and a decrease in productivity.



Scrum is a framework within which empowered team members work together to deliver value.  Empowered Scrum Teams self-organize and make decisions collectively, which results in a higher quality product and a flexible approach to delivery. 


If you recognized yourself in any of the 10 signs above, sign up for Rebel Scrum’s Professional Agile Leadership course to learn more about how to lead your Agile teams to success without stifling their autonomy and creativity.


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