PO and stakeholder engagement

Last post 06:43 am April 8, 2021
by Simon Mayer
10 replies
Author
Messages
09:49 pm April 3, 2021

HI all,

I got some doubts about the Po role and the stakeholders.

Reading the scrum scrum, I have understood, PO is the main reference to engage stakeholders according to the events and accountabilities descriptions, however, the scrum guide also says: the scrum team is responsible for all the product related activities from stakeholder collaboration [..].

then;  who is the main responsible for engaging with stakeholders?

what if I got the same questions in exam and  I had all the choices (PO, SM, the whole scrum team, Developers),

what would the correct question be?

Thanks

Flavia

11:19 pm April 3, 2021

The Scrum Guide says the Product Owner may represent the needs of many stakeholders in the Product Backlog, but where does it say a PO would be the "main reference to engage" them?

05:26 am April 4, 2021

The scrum guide references stakeholder twice 

The Scrum Team is responsible for all product-related activities from stakeholder collaboration, verification, maintenance, operation, experimentation, research and development, and anything else that might be required.

SM serves PO: 

Facilitating stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed.

 

The scrum guide references stakeholders eleven times 

Definition: 

The Scrum Team and its stakeholders inspect the results and adjust for the next Sprint.

Values: 

The Scrum Team and its stakeholders are open about the work and the challenges.

PO: 

The Product Owner may represent the needs of many stakeholders in the Product Backlog.

Those wanting to change the Product Backlog can do so by trying to convince the Product Owner.

SM serves organisation: 

  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact an empirical approach for complex work
  • Removing barriers between stakeholders and Scrum Teams.

Sprint planning topic one: 

The whole Scrum Team then collaborates to define a Sprint Goal that communicates why the Sprint is valuable to stakeholders.

Sprint review: 

The Scrum Team presents the results of their work to key stakeholders and progress toward the Product Goal is discussed.

During the event, the Scrum Team and stakeholders review what was accomplished in the Sprint and what has changed in their environment.

Artifacts: 

These commitments exist to reinforce empiricism and the Scrum values for the Scrum Team and their stakeholders.

Product goal: 

A product is a vehicle to deliver value. It has a clear boundary, known stakeholders, well-defined users or customers. A product could be a service, a physical product, or something more abstract.

Increment: 

However, an Increment may be delivered to stakeholders prior to the end of the Sprint.

The Sprint Review should never be considered a gate to releasing value.

 

One of the most important sentences to remember and understand about the PO is this one from the PO section: 

The Product Owner may do the above work or may delegate the responsibility to others. Regardless, the Product Owner remains accountable.

03:04 pm April 5, 2021

then;  who is the main responsible for engaging with stakeholders?

Why does there have to be a "main responsible"?  The Scrum Team is accountable to the stakeholders will interact with them at different times.  The Scrum Team is defined as a Scrum Master, a Product Owner, and Developers.  All of that, to me, means that any member of the Scrum Team can interact with stakeholders when ever there is a need.  

If I HAD to say that there is one person responsible from the Scrum Team, I would say the Scrum Master is because of these statements from the Scrum Guide's Section on the responsibilities of the Scrum Master

  • Facilitating stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed.

  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact an empirical approach for complex work; and,

  • Removing barriers between stakeholders and Scrum Teams.

08:23 am April 7, 2021

Hello Daniel,

I stil would opt for the Product owner as they talk with stakeholder to understand the needs and the requirements to be added to the Product backlog, I see the scrum master as a leader who serves so if needed they help or interact with stakeholders. everyone can talk to stakeholder in scrum team (i.e. in the sprint review) or outside, but I see the Product owner as the leader in the conversation with stakeholders. if stakeholder need to talk to anyone in the scrum team to clarify or ask anything, who should call? I'd answer the product owner

am I totally wrong and maybe influenced by what I see in my workplace?

Thanks

Flavia

 

08:42 am April 7, 2021

Although one of the POs responsibilities is stakeholder management, the PO should not act as a go-between for the Developers as they should allow the Developers to directly contact the stakeholders if they have any questions. 

This is covered in one of the misunderstood stances of the PO. 

08:54 am April 7, 2021

thanks Anthony, so basically,  none is accountable to be the main contact for stakeholder and the whole scrum team manage the stakeholders involvement?

Flavia

11:29 am April 7, 2021

In my opinion, the answer to the "main responsible for stakeholder engagement" would be Scrum Team.

12:30 pm April 7, 2021

Even tho no one is specifically named to be responsible for engaging stakeholders, in my opinion, the PO can naturally take that responsibility, as he's the one who would mostly engage them.

 

It also depends on the stakeholder, I've worked with stakeholders that talk to developpers, others that only talk to the PO.

02:20 pm April 7, 2021

If you read my response I said that "if I HAD to ...".  The first part of my answer is my true belief that there is not a main contact.  There should be open and continuous communications with the stakeholders by everyone on the team.  The Scrum Master is the only role in the Scrum Guide that has any mention of stakeholders in the discussion of the role. 

True, the Product Owner will need their input to determine product needs and direction. But the Developers will need stakeholder input to clarify questions and to provide feedback on work that is done.  The Scrum Master, although being the only one with stakeholders being mentioned in the description, really has very little needs from the stakeholders as their primary focus is the Scrum Team and the organization in which the Scrum Team exists.  All of this circumstantial evidence supports my thoughts that there isn't a primary contact.

06:43 am April 8, 2021

Low stakeholder engagement could be both a symptom and a cause of the Scrum Team not operating as they should.

As such, it can be a useful element in helping the Scrum Team look for areas of improvement.
Understanding the reasons for low engagement would be an important part of determining how to adapt.

Developers are accountable for adhering to the definition of "Done". If there is no "Done" Increment, that has the potential to disengage stakeholders.

The Product Owner is accountable for various things (as described in the Scrum Guide), which if not done effectively, may disengage stakeholders.
The Product Owner might actively choose to engage stakeholders, for instance, to gain important insights, and ultimately manage the backlog more effectively.

If stakeholders are disengaged because they don't understand Scrum, this might be a failure of the Scrum Master.
If the lack of stakeholder engagement is an impediment to the Scrum Team's progress, the Scrum Master might look for ways to engage stakeholders.