Manager no longer invited to the retrospectives



  • A colleague of mine is a working manager on a software development team. The scrum master has uninvited him permanently from the retrospectives. (So far for 3 sprints running.)

    From my Scrum experience and training, this appears to be bad practice. All team members are supposed to be invited to the retrospectives.

    Perhaps, occasionally the managers could be left out to allow employees who are "afraid" to talk... But that should be only every once in while? But what if team members are "afraid" to talk in front of the scrum master? This quickly degenerates...

    In regards to this particular team, I know of no prior dysfunction to warrant the manager never being invited. The team has practiced scrum for years.

    The scrum master is fairly new so perhaps that had something to do with it?

    Rather confused and concerned about this as this goes counter to my training and experience with scrum that I've practiced for years.

    Really need your collective advice!

    Update: this manager is a working manager who actually codes and completes tickets in the team's sprint. I'd guess at least 50% of his time is doing that.



  • This is a tough situation.

    Since the manager does work with the team on the delivery of product Increments, the manager is a member of the Development Team. Because of this, the manager should be a participant in all of the Scrum Events, including the Sprint Retrospective. Because of this, the Scrum Master should not uninvite the manager from any Sprint Retrospective.

    According to Scrum, the Development Team is self-organizing and recognizes no titles for Development Team members. The fact that the individual plays the role of a manager in the broader organization and holds the responsibilities of that role doesn't mean that they can't also satisfy the role of Development Team member.

    I would encourage the Scrum Master to watch for anti-patterns. Is the presence of a manager on a Development Team presenting any problems with self-organization and continuous improvement? If so, then that may be a discussion on how to establish the organization to support agile methods and Scrum. Part of the Scrum Master role is to coach the whole organization on agile and Scrum.

    For now, my recommendation would be to ensure that the whole Development Team, including the manager, is present at all of the necessary Scrum Events. If someone on the Scrum Team feels that there is a problem and that the manager being on the team or in the retros is preventing self-organization or free and open communication, then that team member should raise it (possibly in private) and the Scrum Master should take on the responsibility of removing that impediment and coaching the organization.



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