Servant leadership in general and the misunderstood role of the Scrum Master in particular is mostly underestimated. The effect of this kind of leadership is rather indirect; like a gardener it creates good conditions for successful cooperation. If a Scrum Master, like a football coach, stands only at the touchline during a match, his contribution is easily overlooked. So sooner or later Scrum Masters will be offered “real” work, i.e. the coach will simply be brought in. And those who are not well aware of their actual task and who are trying to avoid conflict will accept this work with gratitude. The much more important long-term work on the system and the continuous improvement of the organization are left behind, but nobody notices this anymore, because everyone is busy with “real” work.
The term dichotomy goes back to the Greek dichotomía (διχοτομία) and means dividing in two. A false dichotomy is the suggestion that there are only two mutually exclusive alternatives to a question in dispute, although there are actually others or the two alternatives offered do not contradict or exclude each other at all. This rhetorical trick is popular with salespeople, for example in the form of the question of whether one would rather buy the blue or the white shirt, which deliberately omits the possibility of buying neither of them. And I also use the pattern occasionally to “facilitate” the choice of clothes for my daughters, which they of course mostly see through easily.
Anyone who imitates Spotify or introduces SAFe or obtains imitated or falsified agile frameworks and disseminates them as best practice will be punished with futile ritual practices of not less than 20 hours per week and employee. The way into the agile cargo cult hell is well paved with best practices, blueprints and frameworks and is bordered by billboards saying: “Don’t invent the wheel again!” Agility, however, is less a question of methods than of principles and stance.
Several so called agile transformations ultimately end with people dancing rock ‘n’ roll instead of a slow waltz in Titanic’s ballroom and some beautifully decorated deckchairs. And even if it’s sometimes at least the engine room where rock ‘n’ roll is danced, it neither changes the course nor it increases responsiveness and adaptability.
Agility requires orientation. It’s exactly this alignment that enables effective autonomy and decentralized decisions, which make agile organizations so adaptable. But agility also requires common standards and conventions to ensure that effective cooperation of autonomous teams. So the question is not whether such standards are required in agile organizations, but rather how they are created and enforced.