Talk Agility with Vivek – 04-Sep-2018 | Product Owner and Scrum Master Roles

Talk Agility with Vivek – 04-Sep-2018 | Product Owner and Scrum Master Roles

Vivek Jayaraman
1st Mar, 2019

If we demo in between sprints, won’t the Product Owner change his mind again?

People usually forget the fact that Sprint Review is not for Product Owner but for the Stakeholders to review the work done by the Development team. The Product Owner will get the demo of the product backlog items once it is done by the development team.

The Product Owner of course will provide the feedback immediately and any changes pertaining to the feedback will be done soon. Product Owner after seeing the product backlog item in the form of a usable feature, he/she can change his mind.

It is possible that PO assumed something and is not satisfied with what is built. Also, possible that PO can change his mind about his assumption was wrong with how the product is built.

The Product Owner knows the pulse of the customer and the market and decides/changes based on the same. Moreover, the team should validate their assumptions faster by demoing them to the product owner as fast as they can.

What are the challenges a ScrumMaster face as they don’t have authority?

Challenges come only when you have authority. People who came from command and control backgrounds like Project Managers and line managers find it difficult as they cannot do authoritative command anymore. Without authority, we can get all things done.

Passionate and concerned conversations with more clarity on the subject can get the work done than authority and that’s what the Scrum Master needs. A Scrum Master doesn’t have to face challenges without authority.

Scrum Master doesn’t own the outcome, the team does. Scrum Master is there to facilitate and if the team doesn’t listen to Scrum Master, they must fail and learn the hard way.

When you get an estimate from the team, how will you make sure it’s right?

Scrum Master is not responsible for the estimates, only the development team is. Scrum Master does not get the estimates from the team, they do it for themselves to complete the work. If they are wrong or have provided a different estimate, they will make sure it will be taken care of as part of their retrospectives and do it right on the upcoming refinement events.

For a new project, for 1st sprint, how to decide how many stories to commit for the sprint?

We can take 2 probabilities here, one is considering the team is new and considering the team already worked together. Since the team is new they don’t know their velocity and so they agree as a team to pick up certain stories and work towards completing them.

If they complete them sooner, they will pick up new stories and continue working till the end of the spring. If they are unable to complete it, they have learned how much can be done in the upcoming sprint and they decide accordingly.

If the team has already worked together, they know their velocity and they can pick items based on their velocity.

How does ScrumMaster influence businesses to understand not to push the team?

Scrum Master should understand that the development team should work at a sustainable pace to deliver things happily. At a sustainable pace, business people, customers, and the development team will be happy. If the development team is pressurized by adding more PBIs without changing Sprint backlog, they will do it for the sake of business, once or twice.

If business continues to do it every now and then, the team will be demoralized and it will be reflected in their work in the form of less quality, half work, more leaves, and so on. If they are pushed more, they will become dysfunctional and lose focus on the sprint goal.

Scrum Master should teach the business to understand delivering at a sustainable pace and as well the data to make them understand how the team delivers when they are not pushed and how they deliver when they are pushed. This will also help the business in understanding better. Also, the team’s happiness index should be collected and presented to the business as well.

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