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Which roles PO or SM has bigger challenges to put it in practice by the book?

Last post 10:41 am February 2, 2020 by Dejan Majkic
7 replies
07:32 pm January 29, 2020

What do you think which roles PO or SM has bigger challenges to put it in practice by the book. 

My thinking is that PO is little less complex role than the SM. 

We can comment that further more if you want. 

05:00 am January 30, 2020

Hi Dejan,

It is a very interesting question - and my answer may seem a little boring, and predictable. :)

PO and SM both have their own set of duties, not just towards business but directed to the Scrum Team as well.

While SM is required to balance the inflow and outflow of sprint scope, ensuring that the team is not underutilised or overloaded, a PO has a very crucial task of generating valuable work, which is aligned with product shaping and vision, so it is imperative that quality feature development keeps the team occupied.

If by the book, i think it will be SM yes - but in real world, they both have their own set of challenges to deal with.



06:16 am January 30, 2020

It completely depends on the context.

You can not state such a question without context.

Stakeholder management and value management can be an extremely complex and more-than-fulltime job for PO's in some cases, which can be more complex and demading as what the SM has to do in the same environment. As it can be the other way around. 

My question: why do you ask?

10:06 am January 30, 2020

What do you think which roles PO or SM has bigger challenges to put it in practice by the book. 

I'd suggest that may depend, at least in part, upon how much the person needs to change.

03:59 pm January 31, 2020

There are equally challenging in their own way. The PO is a bi-directional interface and the SM is a servant leader. Both come with their pros and cons

08:12 am February 1, 2020

Thing that cross my mind when I wrote this tread was that SM has bigger challenge than PO because of his Service to the Organization:

Leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;
Planning Scrum implementations within the organization;
Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development;
Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team; and,
Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization.

This services can be and usually are most demanding because of organizational readiness for Scrum or Agility.

At the other hand PO have no such kind problems.

Do you agree?

11:19 pm February 1, 2020

A big part of a Scrum Master's job is training, mentoring and coaching. These are difficult skills to master because they are dealing with humans and emotions. I have seen Development Team members be rude or condescending towards a Scrum Master. It's a thankless job but like many other positions in a business, adds it own value to the team. A company can't just be engineers, counselors and accountants. There are people who support these efforts and many see these support roles (like analysts, project managers, product managers, facilitators, etc.) as unnecessary. Personally, I rely pretty heavily on my Scrum Masters for advice and direction. Also, one needs to be a positive and good-natured person to be in the role of a Scrum Master. 

10:41 am February 2, 2020

I have seen Development Team members be rude or condescending towards a Scrum Master.

Totally agree with you.

Thanks for your feedback.

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