Are you being Micromanaged by a ScrumMaster

By now you have probably heard about Scrum, one of the key principles of scrum is the strong fundamental principle in the power of self-organizing teams. If you have a  ScrumMaster/Product Owner that has the tendency to micromanage, how can an agile team deal with it?

If you have a micromanager as your stakeholder, you can deal with that person by asking yourself a few questions.

Who micromanage

You want to first find out Who is being micromanaged, is it the scrum team or is you that is being micromanaged. If it’s you, then the ScrumMaster is worried about your performance. You can correct that by improving your own performance and that of the stakeholder view of your performance.

If the whole scrum team is being micromanaged, then the problem lies with the stakeholder. You can use this tool to determine whether it’s just you or your scrum team that is being micromanaged, spend a sprint writing down what types of things draw the stakeholder’s attention. You should log all activities and flag tasks that the stakeholder trying to micromanage, this is so you can look back at the data and determine who is being micromanaged.

When being micromanaged

The next you want to find out from the log, is when is the micromanaging occurring?

When does the stakeholder micromanage, is shortly before a scrum meeting or after a scrum meeting? For example, a product owner might leave their client call every Monday feeling stressed and tend to be more inclined to micromanage to be able to provide feedback to the client. A Scrum Master, on the other hand, might be prone to micromanage the day before the monthly meeting with the engineering VP.

We can not get away from micromanagement, managers/stakeholders are prone to micromanagement at specific times, depending on their personality and issues they dealing with, the most common micromanagement behavior is to get nervous about whether everything will get done.

You could use a spreadsheet, to track the suspected micromanagement incidents:

Why micromanage

Using the spreadsheet and you have logged several weeks of incidents, what is causing the micromanagement. Scan the spreadsheet log looking for patterns. See if there are triggers that create the micromanagement. Perhaps your product owner micromanages you after the weekly meeting with the client.

You may find a pattern, based on that try to identify conversations that may be worth having with whoever is micromanaging. Talk to the person that is doing the micromanagement and ask how to work it out to alleviate some of the micromanagement. It may be that the person doing the micromanagement needs more information from the scrum team more often than anticipated.

For example, if you know your product owner gets stressed and micromanages after a weekly meeting with the client, brief the product owner ahead of that client meeting and make sure the product owner is well informed and prepared for the client meeting.

You could also take action to be more proactive, by informing stakeholders just in time so they have the information in advance of whatever triggers them. You can assert control over a stakeholder relationship by proactively providing information rather than waiting to be asked for it.

Not every stakeholder can be managed

After all, we are people, we may not get along, we try some personalities do not go well together, you can be proactive and manage stakeholders. There are stakeholders that you can not manage, they may not have trust in you or your team and have to make sure to micromanaged so they get what they want. At least if you follow these tips, you might mitigate some micromanagement from your daily work.

How did you handle a Micromanager?

DO you have a story to tell about a micromanager, or how you were micromanaged? If so, leave your comments below.



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