Agile 2018

Agile 2018
Speaking at Agile 2018

Monday, November 10, 2014

Danger signals for the Scrum Master

Stress is not sexy.
There is nothing glamorous or exciting about being exhausted.  This week on the blog I wanted to talk about some things you need to pay attention too when they come up.

You want to throw things at the office: We toss paper into the waste paper basket.  But what I am talking about is much more serious and frightening.  I was on a conference call after less than six hours of sleep during 72 hours of production issues.  I picked up my mouse and wanted to throw it into my monitor.  I did the next best thing which was walk away from my desk.

You want to spend your time insulting others rather than helping them: Lack of sleep and the pressure of the job can transform a saint into a green hulking rage monster.  If you find yourself wanting to insult your staff or belittle them you need a break.  Your direct reports should not have to suffer because you are too tired to think straight.

You let things go you normally would not allow:  When someone says, “I don’t care” it usually means that they do not have the energy to pay attention to the details.  That is a recipe for failure and a bigger accident to follow.

Your staff starts asking you if you are ok:  Being a manager means warring a “mask of command.”  If you drop that mask and your staff starts seriously wondering if you are up to the job; you may need to take a step back.

You are not sleeping: If you can’t lay down and get some sleep at the end of the day.  This is a serious danger sign.  You need to finish up what you are working on and try to uncoil because not sleeping can create situations similar to being intoxicated.

You can’t focus: Leadership and technology require concentration.  If you can’t concentrate you are sunk.  Taking time off to step away from the project or just the office is going to do you a great deal of good.

Each of these things happened to me this week and I knew the danger signs.  I told my boss and he was good enough to let me work from home.  It was very positive and helped me get through a very rough period.  It also protected my staff.  Life is too short to work for bosses who are struggling to keep it together.  

Until next time.