Agile is all about a committed team, including the scrum master and the product owner. Very often in an outsourced environment the scrum master and the development team sits away from the product owner, and very often forgets the fact that the product owner is an integral part of the team. The distance, timezone differences and lack of familiarity contributes to this. If the team can elevate themselves from ‘try to impress the customer’ to ‘do the right thing for the success of the sprint and product’, this can be addressed to a great extent. When we look at things from a ‘value to customer through the product’, lot of psychological impediments fall into place, resulting in a highly collaborative environment. It is easier said than done, because we need to get rid of lot of out dated cultural baggage of ‘always the customer is right’ and ‘be in the good books of others’. Sometimes it takes a bad boy to do the right thing, which is good for the product and customer. Thats why the founders of scrum insists on;
Mutual respect of people with self respect
Risk taking ability
A confident scrum master, who knows his/her job can make everlasting impressions. In this context I remember the question from Venkat, the CEO of one of the companies who availed my services to roll out scrum within his organization. His question was ‘Aby, whom should I recruit as a scrum master?’ and my answer was ‘Go for someone who is not worried about job security, and can negotiate with you for everything, which will make the sprint successful’. That could be a very special breed of Indian managers, and they do exist . Always recruit people who can disagree with you for the right reasons. I call it ‘intellectual disobedience’. I do respect everyone who can disagree with me for the right reasons based on data. That was the only criteria I applied while recruiting people, and the recruitment errors I made were only two among a whole lot of people. This is the only strategy helped me to build reasonably good teams. Thanks to Ronald Reagan’s quote ‘Always surround yourself with people who can be better than you’, and that is the success mantra behind successful team building. Good luck.
Freelance Agile Coach