Is the Scrum Master just carrying food and water? — Part 2
Still wondering about the role of the servant leader? there you have the second part of our story.
The major responsibilities of a team leader in interacting with the team — synthesized:
1. Protects the team from interruptions, deviations, requests coming from other teams or stakeholders. Certain exceptions or critical situations certainly may occur. But in the case of external requests, the leader has the responsibility to be active in filtering requests and to ensure that the team keeps its focus on delivery. This responsibility is vital for the performance of the team and it will be a useful input for future estimates.
2. Removing impediments that occurred during the iteration and causing delays. This includes meetings that are not related to the project, administrative tasks, and even the ability to do the same work in two different ways (such as registering activities in a tool and updating the Kanban table). A servant leader must be proactive, the problems raised by the team during the stand-up are solved desirably on the same day. Here, pay a lot of attention — not all situations are to be solved by the leader, even if he is capable to do so. The team members will grow also for the purpose of solving varied problems and this will help to increase the productivity of the team.
3. The servant leader has the responsibility to (re) communicate the vision and purpose of the project. The importance of this activity lies at the basis of both the success of the team and the delivery of the project, all among the parameters of the three criteria: time, purpose, budget. The communication is the key to success, and it is not just a phrase: only (re) communicating, the team member and the stakeholders understand the vision of the project. Everyone will pull in the same direction and the goals will more easily reachable. So, in this context, the leader will search for many and creative opportunities and ways to recommend the vision of the project, to illustratively imprint it in the memory of each member of the group.
4. “Carry food and water” — this responsibility relates to the need to provide the team with the resources needed to deliver the product over time and set parameters from the start. Resources can be both material (applications, laptop, access) and motivational (rewards, celebration of “inter-victories”, encouragement). The first category of resources will be easy to buy, while the second one requires intense involvement from the leader. He must discover the personal and professional motives that will make each individual in the team to be active and enthusiastic about achieving the project goals. In other words, the leader will ensure that there is a development strategy for everyone. And then the success of the team will matter more than the individual success.
It is a fine line between being an effective and efficient servant leader and a hyper-protective leader. Often, the Agile Coach or Scrum Masters communities talk about growing teams at a higher level, but the conversation often omit delicate details related to the way of working — the overprotective approach. Certainly, we will not exclude the need and importance of a protective leader ( in order for the work of the team not to be compromised), but at the same time the leader is obliged to mercilessly encourage the team to self-manage.
From my point of view, an important aspect that a service leader should consider is “nurturing”. Although the characteristics specific to a mature team are noticeably clear and easy to achieve (in theory), the motivation of each member of the team to want to contribute to its growth is like a mined territory.
Although there is no “me” in the “team”, a team, however, is made of individuals with personal interests, expectations, and needs
One way to succeed in motivating everyone in such a way that they want to achieve as a team is to challenge the team to define the maturity of the working group. Ask them what the benefits are, and finally, what is the way to get to be a mature team and stay there.
Once the team reaches a maturity level, there are several situations in which the servant leader should get involved. Why? Simple, the team becomes autonomous, a whole, and the cooperation between members positively affect the way they work and deliver the goals. So, this kind of leader, in addition to his involvement in solving certain impediments, should focus heavily on highlighting the strengths of the team and turning them into the foundation of the future mature team. Collaborating intensely with team members and ensuring that individual needs are geared towards project goals means long-term effectiveness in impediments management that generates bonus time allocated to project implementation.