Does this scenario feel familiar?

It's in the morning, the team is assembled, some have fetched a cup of coffee, and everyone is waiting in a circle.
The Manager/Scrum Master/Product Owner arrives (not a typo the same super person in one).
Everyone looks eager to start the daily stand-up and share with the team what they did yesterday, what they are going to do today, and what problems they might have that their team mates can potentially help with... or wait....
Everyone isn't looking all that eager, in fact most of the team members look rather blasé, some are scratching their feet impatiently, as if the would rather have this part over and done with so that they can get on with their "real work".
The manager/scum master/product owner picks up his/her notepad and asks: Ok, should we get started then, John, why don't you start?
And then you see that John is addressing the manager directly throughout the "I Did Yesterday|Going To Today|Any Problems"-part, and the rest of the team members are doing the same thing as well!
It's as if they are giving a report to the manager and not addressing the team with their success and problems from yesterday, what their eager plans are for today that will get the team closer to achieving the desired sprint goals.
Have you seen this before?


This situation is far from unique, and when companies start to adopt scrum it's a common misconception that the scum master is a leadership role.
Because of this naturally managers think that the managers should keep their power position by assuming the scrum master role.
But since the manager is also the one that decides the paycheck, have the annual reviews and is by extension in an power position, is it then surprising that people don't fell comfortable opening up, discussing the current problems faced etc?
And when one person "reports" to the manager, is it then strange that the rest of the team, that this report doesn't concern, are simply waiting in line to give their report?

Before the agile transformation odds are that the team members were reporting to the manager in some form or shape, and since that person now has assumed the role of the scrum master and/or product owner it is not surprising that this power structure is kept in place and people keep on reporting to that person, it's just that now it is being done on a daily basis.
The value of this "daily reports" is dubious at best, and most of the people in the team usually end up wishing they could move on and get on with their ordinary "real" work.


The daily stand-up should be an event filled with energy, free distribution of information, and a seeding ground for discussions afterwards in subgroups of team members that can or want to solve problems faced by someone.
Having a daily report masked as a daily stand-up is not fertile grounds for this type of desired behavior.

As well intended as I'm sure most project leaders/managers are when they try to take hold of the daily stand-up and be proactive, they are actually hurting the team by usurping themselves in a position above the team and thereby hindering the team members in becoming self organized.
I therefor say with all due respect:

Managers stay as far away as you can from the scrum master role.

But isn't it natural that a manager takes the product owner role you might ask?
Of course it can be, after all that person is the one who (hopefully) knows what the goal of the team are and what they are expected to deliver.
But if they take this role upon themselves then it is imperative that they also take a step back.
The product owner is one of the persons who gets to speak at a daily stand-up (committed vs. involved), but still they have a choice in how active they want to become in the teams internal daily work and discussions.

Because ultimately what you want to achieve is team members who talks openhearted about "Did Yesterday|Going Today|Any Problems" and does so to the rest of the team, and is not doing it to a single person, not to the product owner and not to the scrum master, this is a team activity meant for the team.

If you are a manager and you recognize this situation in your scrum team(s) and it feels like they are reporting directly to you, think carefully what you can do to avoid this, because you are hurting your team in the end.
After all as stated before, one off the end-goals by adopting scrum is to have self-organizing teams with self-driven adults that takes decision on HOW to solve things on their own. You just need to let go, and tell them WHAT to do and what is most important.
Being in a power position you are going to hurt the team by taking an to active day to day role, or by facilitating and leading key events like the retrospective or sprint demo.
These are the teams activities with one of the goals being to transform the team into a self organizing team with adults that takes decisions for themselves.