I have witnessed it. Actually I am witnessing it at the very moment. Someone without a Scrum role (remember, Product Owner, Team, Scrummaster) dictates how the process should go. How should individuals behave.

This time the problem is in bad leadership from the line manager. This disturbing person sees only black and white. It is this persons way or the highway. I have come very close to achieving the legendary (and futile) status of a Dead Scrummaster. I was recalcitrant and did I make them listen to me? Yes. The problem was that they didn’t hear me.

Don’t get me wrong, this person is a scrum enthusiast, just a bit skewed. This person just tries to make a cube fit into a round hole. It just does not work that way. You can not force Scrum to change when the organization changes if the change was not initiated by Scrum. You end up with ScrumBut. Listen to the teams, respond to their needs! Forget the micromanagement, trust the team.

Everytime we say we need more time to get things automated (we have lots of legacy code to maintain) we get a promise. An empty one. Every time there comes a more urgent case with higher priority and again we dump the improvements to our own work environment. This increases the technical debt but it is our burden, not theirs. Unfortunately it is not our choice, but theirs.

Also, less than adequate leadership skills are killing the motivation. I can not understand how you improve the motivation of an individual in his/her development discussion by telling them, in exact words, “You have to be less negative“. You don’t sweep this under the carpet, you seize the moment and ask, what’s wrong? What would you do differently? And that is just the tip of an iceberg. This is Management by perkele at the fullest.

The road to ScrumHell is paved with good intentions. Stay alert. Notice the shortcomings and do your best to overcome them.

Post filed under Agile, Rant and tagged , , .


  1. Hi Jussi, appreciate your circumstances. We struggle with issues like this — usually centered around the new agile roles (and the necessary autonomy) versus the old management structures. (I am a UPO, btw, and always working to help keep healthy boundaries between agile roles).

    Power is shifting in companies developing with agile and it isn’t comfortable.

    Check out this fantastic video on what motivates individuals who are ‘knowledge workers’ (I’m doing a related post on this next Friday):

  2. Thanks for the link,will check it out.

    Things have fortunately changed, and we have managed to focus the energy of our line manager correctly and I currently think she is pretty much priceless to our unit as an effective agile coach.

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