I meet several customers in Vietnam who has all of them the same problem, the market doesn’t provide any or not enough Scrum Master.
When I meet my customer in Vietnam, I always got the same question:
- How can we found Scrum Master?
- We tried, but she was too academic?
- We tried, but he was a too manager?
- No one in our office wants to become a Scrum Master!
For some it is several months, they are looking for a Scrum Master, but they don’t found. One of my customer in Hanoi where we went for an Assessment around May 2015
One of my customer in Hanoi where we went for an Assessment around May 2015, but then nothing happen the project to help them in their transformation were frozen because they didn’t found anyone who was willing to support the position of Scrum Master in the company…. After nearly a year, they finally contact me… we have found a Scrum Master 🙂
The dangerous position
Mostly the problem I observed in all these companies, is that the Scrum Master Role is not well defined between the human resources and the IT department. So employee perceives as a temporary role, where one day when there is a change of management or any other reason; the position will cancel as it doesn’t bring any value, in the point of view of the Human Ressources and the business.
In a region where the Hierarchy system is not only part of the traditional management system, but also in the citizen culture. All is Hierarchic here. If you learn a little bit about Vietnamese, you will understand that they have a word for each level in the family. The Child learns to respect the elders and so on. It is in their culture.
Who will accept such position, a position where your life in the company could be shortened, a position where it is not a promotion ???
The position of the Scrum Master is perceived as a caporal position, the customer comes to see him for any problem with the team, and the team sees him for any problem. When something goes wrong on either side, the Scrum Master is the first line to receive all the complain. Here again is position at risk, if in the management point of view he doesn’t control the team so they do what they expect. Then the Scrum Master can lose his position.
Of course, the Scrum Master is not his job to be a Manager, but go explain this to a non-mature environment. Don’t forget Scrum doesn’t work like the book at the first sight.
Too good to have a Scrum Master
The other day, one of my friend Agile Coach in HCMC told her story, she hired by a new company in HCMC, they needed a Scrum Master / Agile Coach to help their new team to apply Agile practices. These was an exciting job, but she arrived she discovered she was in front of a team who was working before for well know Agile Company. The problem these persons had no Agile mindset, they were thinking they were too good in Agile and getting any advice from an Agile Coach was pure waste on their eyes…3 weeks later they fired the Coach.
There is no solution you open the box and voila everything it works !!!
I would mostly recommend that before trying to hire any Scrum Master, you prepare the work environment so the Scrum Master feel he is welcome. Talk with the Human Resources so the Scrum Master profile considered as important and not a temporary position. Make the position as equal than the management around that profile. He will need to interact with other managers, if he doesn’t have the right to say anything to the other managers, he will be useless.
Then look for a Scrum Master, mostly sell it as a leadership position. Anyway, he will be a servant leader.
I don’t say this is the only solution, but it is a solution I recommend to my customers.