The Product Owner & Scrum Master roles are speciality roles?

Last post 01:13 pm February 24, 2020
by Sander Dur
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11:53 pm February 23, 2020

In a recent conversation with a colleague, I expressed how SAFe literature considers and explicitly calls out the Scrum Master and Product Owner roles as speciality roles (https://www.scaledagileframework.com/agile-teams/).

I advised how the Scrum guide does not explicitly call this out. The reason for this was to bring to light how Scrum as per the SAFe literature is different from the Scrum as described in the Scrum Guide literature. In my opinion, if we can say the PO and SM are speciality roles, then the Development Team as a whole can also be a speciality role.

Just wanted to see what your thoughts are regarding this or if there is a gap in my understanding.

I also wanted to ask how you would explain to your colleague(s) the differences from the two sources regarding Scrum?

How would you address the different types of Scrum as a result of the way it is described in different sources?

05:19 am February 24, 2020

I also wanted to ask how you would explain to your colleague(s) the differences from the two sources regarding Scrum?

How would you address the different types of Scrum as a result of the way it is described in different sources?

The canonical source for Scrum is the Scrum Guide. All else is commentary which may not be relied upon.

06:12 am February 24, 2020

I agree with Ian. There is just one definition of Scrum and it is described in the Scrum Guide. All other definitions are just that: redefinitions - not Scrum. 

I don't know SAFe too well but if that framework needs to redefine Scrum why refer to Scrum at all? 

 

 

 

07:12 am February 24, 2020

if we can say the PO and SM are speciality roles, then the Development Team as a whole can also be a speciality role

From the perspective that the Scrum team consists of 3 parts: the SM, the PO and the Dev team; yes these are the only three named roles within the Scrum team. The rest about "speciality" is semantics, and I think not relevant

07:35 am February 24, 2020

We discussed this last week during our phone call and it stuck in my head a bit. As I'm working in multiple SAFe environments, I can see that because of the way SAFe implementations are interpreted (not per se intended in theory, but actual implementation) leads to different interpretations of what a Scrum Master/PO/Dev Team is expected to do. 

Now, I'm trying to make this a selling pitch for Scrum or a downtalk to SAFe, but of the simplicity in the way Scrum has been constructed, the the focus is more on understanding what we need to get to "Done", instead of thinking what is the speciality etc. The more layers of coordination are added, the more complexity and more constant alignment is needed. What I see happening a lot is that when companies choose to go to SAFe, everyone gets trained in SAFe (which is a good thing), but SAFe courses provide very limited understanding of Scrum (which obviously is a bad thing). And I speak from experience, teaching both SAFe and Scrum (and I understand this is hypocritical in a way, yes). The courses usually are 2 days (unless you would attend the SPC or RTE course), and there is so much that is put into it that it because to really understand the reasoning behind business agility or the role of a Scrum Master or such. 

 

 

11:26 am February 24, 2020

@Sander Dur so true what you are saying! I did the SAFe SA training and the lower "scrum" part was literally mentioned as "there are other courses to go into that". Next to that, for PSM-I you can sometimes see the same thing happening. It addresses the Scrum Guide, but not much about the WHY. So in the end, a lot of valueable teachings are missed out on.

01:13 pm February 24, 2020

Yes, indeed. SAI, the organization behind SAFe, assumes "basic" Scrum knowledge is present when enrolling for a course. In practice however, it see that about 90% of my students have no to little experience/knowledge of/with Scrum.