Why Project Managers CAN evolve into ScrumMasters!

Yep we know.

The Project Manager does not exist in the Scrum framework.

Does that mean, the traditional Project Manager cannot evolve into a ScrumMaster?

Hell no.

I’ve heard allot of ScrumMasters give it the “PM’s who become SM’s are doomed to failure, they just don’t get it ” …blah, blah, blah.

That’s crap.

It’s stereotypical, it’s ignorant and quite frankly it’s based on a very weak rationale.

Here’s why.

Project Mangers aren’t all dressed in studded leather cat suits cracking the whip.


There ARE awesome Project Managers who are more like Project FACILITATORS!

Facilitators, think humans, think leaders, think servant-leaders.


Management has styles!

Yes I know ‘management is a dirty word in Scrum – but your style of management can be a command and controller (no thanks) or the servant-leader (yes please).

Some PMs really are or show great servant leadership qualities.

They create purpose through explaining why the business needs what it needs, they don’t talk down to the team (treat ’em like peers not like a boss),  they facilitate, motivate, help create an environment conducive to effectiveness (Krispy Kremes help) – you know, all of that good stuff to create self-motivated, self-managing, high energy teams who want to bring value!

Ok so if you’re a servant leader is that enough?

Well, you need to know the empirical bit as well!

So PM’s getting involved in a software related project need to understand the basics of how we use an empirical approach to projects as opposed to a predictive one.

To touch on empiricism, it means (in the context of software projects) – there is usually allot more that we dont know, than what we do know. So, we deal with this level of uncertainty by working in time-boxs (sprints anyone?) & mitigate risk and anything that changes through the events and the rich interaction piece laid down in Scrum (stand ups, constant team huddles etc)

All I’m trying to express is the PM would need to get their head around how forecasting works in a Scrum team, why software isn’t like building a bridge and how to utilise team events to manage the inevitable change in requirements and estimates.

So all in all.

PM’s who are servant leaders that can understand the empirical process control theory – CAN become awesome ScrumMasters.

Right so on that note, I’ll be ordering an old PM colleague a copy of  The Mythical Man Month (empirical bit sorted) and a new personality (thats the management piece nailed as well) for christmas.


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