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My company wants to start using Scrum, and in real scrum there is no place for a real team leader (manager).

What is the next step for the dev team leader? Should I be a (chief) system architect/tech leader or search for another job in management?

I like the management part and the technical part and the target is VP R&D/CTO.

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Give scrum a chance and see if you can adapt with it instead of thinking there's no place for you. –  Anna Lear Nov 9 '11 at 22:03
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You can play Left Right Out. –  Kirk Broadhurst Nov 9 '11 at 22:12

7 Answers 7

You should start by being the best programmer you can be. Unless they are totally drinking the cool-aid you will still have those that are stronger leaders. If you are already leading the team, you may wish to investigate getting trained and assigned to be the Scrum Master. In this role you will help Shepard the team through the scrum process.

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In my company they wants the PO to be the SM and the team leader become the technical project manager. –  Richard Cliff Nov 9 '11 at 22:06
    
I think it's dangerous for the PO to be the SM as well. –  Adam Jaskiewicz Nov 10 '11 at 18:07

Every scrum needs a scrum master, I'm sure that could be a part of your role. What do you do as team leader? As a former development team leader on a project with scrum, I did coding, mentoring, and help guide the team through technical challenges as well as being the scrum master/technical project manager. I do the coding, mentoring, and technical challenges anyway, so not much difference. I don't see scrum affecting your role unless as a development team leader you are just managing.

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As a team leader i am responsible of the design, codeing standard, development quality, break the user story to tasks manage the team members, and responsible for the delivery. In my company they want the PO to be the SM and the team leader become the technical project manager. –  Richard Cliff Nov 9 '11 at 22:00
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@Richard - I think either path could get you to VP. Architects there is not much management, so if the application design is a success, you will get recognized. As a team leader, the success of the project (delivering on time/on budget, etc) (even if the application is flop) would help move you forward. Either way, to get to that goal, you need to be on the most critical and highly visible project to your organization. –  Jon Raynor Nov 9 '11 at 22:16

I highly recommend asking your company to reconsider making the product owner and scrum master the same person. While it's possible with a disciplined person, the two roles really have a conflict of interest. Product owners advocate for the customer, scrum masters advocate for the team, and the balance usually works out much better than anticipated. Team lead-type people generally fall into the scrum master role very well.

Also keep in mind that in contrast to something like extreme programming, scrum has very little to do with software. You can get scrum training and never even talk about software. While it affects what order you do things in, things like software quality, design, and such really fall outside its purview, and there's still a lot of room for leadership in those areas, even if not formally acknowledged.

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...in real scrum there is no place for a real team leader (manager).

Are you interested in having control or leading a team?

  • There is plenty of room for leadership in "real" scrum.
  • In scrum, leaders emerge, they are not ordained.

Here are two easy ways to lead in a scrum environment:

  • When a difficult problem presents itself, weigh in with an informed opinion.
  • When a team member is blocked or is struggling with an assignment, help out.

at is the next step for the dev team leader? Should I be a (chief) system architect/tech leader or search for another job in management?
I like the management part and the technical part and the target is VP R&D/CTO.

Titles... They once counted for something. [If you don't believe me, just look at how many VPs work at banks!]

Software professionals change jobs so frequently. You should focus on acquiring skills, not titles.

Titles will come as a byproduct of your hard work and your recognition as a leader.

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Just because in the scrum process you may not always take "the lead" you still have hiring, budget and other manager duties.

You going to have a sprint to see if you're going to fire somone?

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If you participate actively in codeing development then I would suggest "Scrum Master".

If you are more on the management side (ie don;t actively code) "Product Owner" may be more appropriate.

As the lead on my team I refused to let the manager take the scrum master position (he had no visited interest as he was not contributing code or design). We now rotate it (SM) through the developers (rotating once a quarter).

The PM side of the organization refused to give up the role of "Product Owner" as a result our manager does not play an active role in day to day agile processes, but he works with the "Produce Owner" to set priorities of the items in the product backlog.

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Don't let scrum define your role. Scrum is one of the many tools to build better software. As a team leader/manager, your role is to be a teacher/mentor to the others in the team, and also to be a better programmer.

Even if the methodology you chose(scrum, kanban, ) changes, your role as a teacher/mentor never changes.

You can chose to guide the team (both with soft skills and/or tech skills ), or guide the product.

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