teamleads, project manager in Scrum framework

Last post 05:11 pm August 6, 2020
by Garrie Irons
8 replies
06:20 pm December 26, 2019


I'm having some difficulties with understanding the difference verdween some roles in the Scrum framework and how it's now in our corporation.

So for some years now, we started to implement Scrum, but without a Scrum master. We had a product owner, a team lead, the Scrum events. ( Except sprint review) and the Scrum Artifacts.

Some months ago we got the possibility to follow a Scrum master course, and because i was just a developer and interested in Scrum, i took tis oppertunity with both hands. After the course I was still interested and started to read more about Scrum.

This resulted in my current position. Ik notices a lot of "problems" we encountered. And in the end, it was just to prove, we aren't working Scrum at all. We just have some elements of Scrum that looked Nice.

So I started to explain tot my superiors why we didn't work in An agile way. And definitly not in the Scrum framework. I gave some courses, and finely we got the geen light to split the team of 11 developers and have real Scrum masters.

But this resulted in some more questions I had. Because we still have our teamleader and in our Company we also have project managers.

Because we used some elements of Scrum, for example the 1-1 meeting this was done by the Teamlead I'm now starting to think about the role of team lead and project manager. In the information I read about Scrum masters VS team leads. The answer was "in Scrum you don't need a TL" or in most cases thé TL becomes the SM. But I don't think in our organization they are open to this idea. Because TL is still a high management position. And I'm just a developer who wants to use the scrume framework like it should.

So in this case, what are the tasks of a Team lead? Should the 1-1 be held by SM or TL?  How can a TL still be included in thé Scrum framework, without conflicts in thé Scrum master role?

And it's almost thé same question for product owner VS product manager. We have both, they both have the product owner certificate. But what seperates them in thé Scrum framework? Because now I have a feeling that the line between those 2 is so small, that the product owner did a lot of SM tasks and product manager some of PO tasks.

So in this case, what is the difference between product manager and product owner. So that the line is less gray. ( For me this is less important, because my focus is on being SM, but of you have to coach also the PO, how can I do this If I don't see thé difference.

And maybe it's a possibility that they also don't really understand the difference.

In the Scrum framework, PM and TL are no roles. But if it's used in thé Company, how can this work together to work inside thé Scrum framework?



06:06 am December 27, 2019

I think you need to check with your manager on the job descriptions and responsibilities of the team lead. Is it a role or is it a position? 

There might be a scenario where the team lead has the responsibility not only to do technical coaching but also people coaching.

07:09 am December 27, 2019

In the Scrum framework, PM and TL are no roles. But if it's used in thé Company, how can this work together to work inside thé Scrum framework?

Who wants Scrum to be implemented in this company, and why? Are they in a position to sponsor the organizational change which may be required?

07:45 am December 27, 2019


I have the same questions and most people/articles just explained the "what" but not the "how".  I understand the functions of Project Manager is split among the Scrum team.  But in my organization, the Project Manager is single point of contact to customer and responsible for milestone payment claims and quotations.

Does the Scrum Product Owner handles the claims and quotations with customer?  The Scrum team provides the estimation work.

12:18 pm July 15, 2020

I am a novice in Scrum Theory as by certificates. But what I have learnt practically:

- TeamLead: Scrum grants more power to the team - the team must dedicate itself to the tasks that needs being done => Finally the C-Level / Top-Management must allow those changes towards Scrum by providing a big credit of trust in advance. If this transformation is going as defined by Scrum there is no such need as TeamLead that tells the team how to work as it has learnt / is capable of self-define how to work (within DoD / DoR, Coding Guidelines, non-functional requirement etc.).

- ProjectManager: Product Owners are the Single Point of Contact between Stakeholders and Team. The Product Owner should try to please / serve Stakeholders and Team both equally - this especially requires trust, understanding and transparency of PO towards Stakeholder and Team. *

- Claims / Estimation: Requirements are flowing from Stakeholder towards Product Owner on a rather non-technical level by UserStories that might be placed onto Backlog directly. From that Backlog requirements are revised on a technical level by backlog refinement by the whole team and PO leading to smaller / technical backlog items that are considered ready for implementation / going to next spring - usually this is called Definition of Ready (for implemenation). If the team and PO cant split a requirement into a backlog item that is considered Definition of Ready the PO is in charge to ask for more details from Stakeholders.

Scrum itself doesnt really care about things like billing or other things like that. Scrum itself is just going for an organized requirements implementation on a technical base by reducing waste hence improving implementation performance.

*In case there are financial / contractual tasks to be done the PO could be assisted by someone having financial / contractual knowledge to do payments and quotation.

04:45 pm August 3, 2020


This is quite an interesting discussion because we've just started implementing scrum in my team as well. We've had some scrum elements before, but after I started to learn about scrum, I understood that our performance isn't scrum-adjusted at all. The problem initially was that the management did not understand the need to implement new roles or to change the organizational procedures that we've had for such a long time because everything worked perfectly at the time. Lucky for me, I'm a department manager, and I got my request approved as an experiment for a team in my department to be reorganized according to Scrum and Agile techniques. We invited a scrum master as a part-time consultant (because that's what my boss agreed on doing). We also used work time to track the progress of this team compared to other teams. Even after a month of work, my boss was impressed by the results, and we're not trying to reorganize the entire department. Els Vandooren, the problem I see in your situation is that others don't understand why you need Scrum, and they see it as a threat to their jobs and a way to advance your career. I would recommend that you hold a meeting and do some research, describe the advantages of scrum to them, and perhaps invite a professional scrum master or someone working on a scrum team to explain it better to your colleagues.

12:56 am August 5, 2020

Do you know what your company's executives want? In my opinion, organizational transformation never works in an organic, bottom-up approach. The C-suite needs to make their vision clear.

The only time I have seen both a Product Owner and a Product Manager is in the the case of a popular scaled framework, where Scrum Teams are a small part of the overall configuration, and the Product Owner reports up to the Product Manager. In this case, the Product Manager may be a people manager.

07:20 am August 5, 2020

I'd like to refer back to Ian's comment in this. Does everyone involved understand WHY they want/need the Scrum framework? And what this means? It is not just the Scrum team itself that is part of the change, it means a paradigm shift in mindset and behavior on an organizational level. The sole purpose of a Scrum Team is to deliver "Done" value. The way it has been set up right now, I'm not sure the Scrum Team is able to focus on delivering value, and instead is looking into the way everything is working within the organization. Management has a critical role in this. Indeed, there is no manager or team lead in the Scrum framework itself. This does not mean that management is not involved. They have to support the Scrum team and cooperate with them, so that are enabled to strive for greatness. Having other people telling the development team how to their work is not gonna help.

11:30 am August 6, 2020

Go have a look at some of the material about Professional Agile Leader.

It says there is still room for management - of fostering the environment in whcih scrum can flourish - and that includes owning the responsibility to ensure staff "do develop" (but non nessecarily setting the direction of that personal development).