Introversion versus extroversion has been a hot topic over the past few years, especially since the release of Quiet by Susan Cain. In IT it is no different. Everyone knows the stereotype of the “typical developer” – the one who only wants to sit in their cube and code by him or herself all day. But it’s just that, a stereotype, based on some facts but not true for all. So how are we more inclusive of that person in Agile where collaboration, co-location, and teamwork are valued over solitude? Secondly, how do we encourage introverts to be leaders which is historically and stereotypical a role for extroverts?
Coming up on Agile2015 is hitting me right in the feels. This will be my fourth Agile Alliance conference, my fourth job in as many years (actually fifth), my second time presenting at an Agile Alliance conference, my second time presenting in Washington D.C., and my first time really feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing.
There are many articles out there that talk about the importance of having a mentor, especially for women. Sheryl Sandberg discusses it in Lean In. Companies have mentoring programs for new employees, employees who have been there for awhile, and veteran employees. There is co-mentorship, reverse mentorship, peer mentorship, executive mentorship and every type of mentorship in between – but what we’re missing is sponsorship.
On a project I was ScrumMastering for I noticed much contention between many of the different roles on the team. In keeping true to Agile and Scrum we are supposed to be “cross-functional” but what does that really mean? I kept hearing “they’re not doing their job” and “that’s not MY job” in regard to requirements gathering, writing stories, and even bug fixes. There have been many pieces written on the roles of members of a Scrum team as well as many things written on cross-functionality of members, but what does that really mean and where do we draw the line to keep people accountable?
Wikipedia states that servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
When we refer to servant leadership in Scrum it is at the team level. A ScrumMaster is the servant leader for the Scrum team. They do all the steps the definition above refers to and more. This is all great for the Scrum team, but what about everyone else, the ScrumMasters included? Who is their servant leader? Can companies step in and supplement for this role?