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Project Manager = Produt Owner?
Last Post 28 Nov 2012 01:52 PM by Ian Mitchell. 6 Replies.
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Roy
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Roy

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26 Nov 2012 07:33 AM
    Hello,


    I'm very new to SCRUM (started today), I have been googling for a precise answer and found controversial results. Some say Project Managers are Product Owners, some say it is a totally different role.

    When I look at the roles of SM and PO while comparing it to the waterfall Project Manager role, it seems like
    there are values of both roles that are fitting the Project Manager's functions.


    Really looking forward to get a constructive feedback here.


    Best Regards,


    Roy


    Patrick
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    Patrick

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    26 Nov 2012 09:30 AM
    Hi Roy,

    Traditional project managers could fall into either of the roles of scrum master or product owner depending on their skills/inclinations.

    I'm a trained project manager and I worked my way there starting as a software developer. In my current role I am the scrum master of the scrum of scrums facilitating the co-ordination/communication between the scrum masters of several scrum teams.

    I've heard of other project managers who were more business/customer focused and they found that they were more suited to the product owner role within scrum.

    Best regards,
    Patrick
    Ryan Cromwell
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    Ryan Cromwell

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    26 Nov 2012 09:51 AM
    Scrum doesn't acknowledge nor directly exclude any role of Product Manager.
    You may well find having a role by this name useful as you use Scrum to
    discover the most effective process for you and your team(s).

    Scrum *does* explicitly differentiate the Product Owner and Scrum Master
    role, because they have, to some degree, competing objectives. The Product
    Owner is looking to maximize the value of a Sprint through the Development
    Team. This means they often have a compelling short term interest in
    corner cutting. Certainly the Development Team naturally and through the
    DoD is resisting this urge, but the Scrum Master is in the position of
    assuring high quality by invoking Scrum's empiricism and ensuring the
    process which the team has chosen through empiricism is followed.

    I think Patrick has some very useful and valid examples of how an
    organization and individual may evolve within the Scrum framework. You
    might gather a whole bunch of those types of patterns and choose one as an
    experiment to see how it works over a few sprints. If it works, fantastic.
    If not, try something new.


    On Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 8:34 AM, <ScrumForum@scrum.org> wrote:

    >
    Charles Bradley
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    Posts:212
    Charles Bradley

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    26 Nov 2012 06:50 PM
    Roy,

    The only things I can add to the already good responses above are:

    This blog post by Erin Beierwaltes includes a really good graphic for explaining what happens to PM duties in a Scrum Implementation:
    http://www.skipstoneconsulting.com/...rom-titles

    Mike Cohn has some really good text on what happens to PM's in a Scrum Implementation in _Succeeding with Agile..._ -- part of what he says is(bold added by me):

    "...On Scrum projects we acknowledge the untenable role of the project manager and eliminate it. Eliminating the role, though, does not mean we can do away with the work and responsibilities. As you might guess, since self-organizing teams are a core tenet of Scrum, a great deal of the responsibility previously shouldered by the project manager is transferred to the Scrum team..."

    "...Former project managers often assume one of the roles that have taken on some part of their past responsibilities—the project manager becomes either a ScrumMaster, product owner, or team member, depending on experience, skills, knowledge, and interests..."

    "...If a project manager can overcome the old habits of directing the team and making decisions for it, it is likely such a project manager can become a good ScrumMaster. This is the most common new role for project managers in organizations adopting Scrum. The new role will likely be difficult at first for the former project manager as she learns to bite her tongue and let the team learn how to work through its own issues and make decisions..."

    This is just snippets. I recommend seeing the full text of his comments here:
    http://bit.ly/SmesQ3


    Ian Mitchell
    Advanced Member
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    Posts:570
    Ian Mitchell

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    28 Nov 2012 11:55 AM
    Scrum expressly rejects the role of "Project Manager" (PM) - there is no such role in Scrum. It is widely believed that the PM has been *refactored* into ScrumMaster (SM) and Product Owner (PO) roles, but this is slightly misleading. Although the SM is a management role it is better to see PM responsibilities as having been refactored across the PO and the Development Team, considering that:

    - the Team are self-directing. They make their own estimates, select their own backlog, etc.
    - the SM is a servant-leader
    Ryan Cromwell
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    Posts:89
    Ryan Cromwell

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    28 Nov 2012 12:20 PM
    Ian, I might be getting a little pedantic, but the Scrum Guide never
    mentions Project Manager or PM and therefore does not "explicitly reject"
    the role. It simply says nothing about it. A self-directed team may very
    well elect to have a project manager. Would I expect a team choosing a
    traditional PM in this way to see limit improvement over time, yes. That
    doesn't preclude them from doing so.

    On Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM, <ScrumForum@scrum.org> wrote:

    >
    Ian Mitchell
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    Posts:570
    Ian Mitchell

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    28 Nov 2012 01:52 PM
    That's ok, we need to be a bit pedantic, because questions like these crop up in certification exams. For example the supposed role of "Project Manager" appears in the scrum.org Scrum Open Assessment, and could therefore appear in one or both of the Professional ScrumMaster exams:

    'Scrum does not have a role called "project manager."'

    The correct answer in the Open Assessment is "true".

    This is more of an implicit rejection admittedly; an explicit one can be found in the Scrum Primer (version 2), which says on page 5:

    "Note: there is no role of project manager in Scrum at all. This is because none is needed; the
    traditional responsibilities of a project manager have been divided up and reassigned among the three
    Scrum roles, and mostly to the Team and Product Owner, rather than to the ScrumMaster. Practicing
    Scrum with the addition of a project manager indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of Scrum,
    and typically results in conflicting responsibilities, unclear authority, and sub-optimal results."

    I'd call that pretty a pretty explicit rejection; the last sentence is uncompromising. But you are right that the Scrum Guide is non-commital on the matter. The differences between the Scrum Guide and the Scrum Primer are interesting, and are the subject of another post I have made on this forum.
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