Sprint Review w/o a PO

Last post 01:33 am August 21, 2021
by Ian Mitchell
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04:09 pm August 19, 2021

While my organization's software department has been following Scrum guidelines for the past 7 years we've never been able to fully adopt because the constraints placed upon us by the rest of the organization. Two of my peers and I have been hired as Product Managers to fulfill this pseudo-PO role. 

Unfortunately that strips us of most decision making power as projects/features have largely been assigned to us. As you can imagine this pretty well tanks the concept of a true Sprint Review. We find ourselves in the trap of demoing a sprint's work to a half invested stakeholder group and a Program Manager who has too much on his plate to really be invested as a true PO. 

What tips do you have for moving in the direction of a pure sprint review, especially when the future work has pretty well already been decided by "leadership"? 

How might we manage stakeholder's who are involved across multiple concurrent projects? 

10:33 am August 20, 2021

Following Scrum (or any other framework) without the necessary organizational shifts doesn't yield agility. Unless the organization is embracing the underlying Agile values and principles, such as close collaboration between stakeholders or giving the teams the necessary trust and support to get the job done, you won't be seeing any of the benefits of agility. In its set of artifacts, roles, and events, Scrum gives the opportunity to align with the underlying values and principles.

In this particular example, not having a Product Owner that is accountable for making decisions about the ordering of the Product Backlog shows a lack of trust and support. Depending on why the stakeholders (including the program manager) aren't fully invested, it could be a sign that the pace of development is not sustainable.

Trying to use Agile methods has exposed these organizational problems. The problem is not managing stakeholders, but solving these organizational problems in a way that lets you truly be agile.

01:33 am August 21, 2021

What tips do you have for moving in the direction of a pure sprint review, especially when the future work has pretty well already been decided by "leadership"? 

Are they the ones who will be held accountable if value fails to be obtained because reviews were inadequate? A shoddy Sprint Review is a missed opportunity for risk to be managed. This might be something you could wonder about and thereby encourage deeper thinking.