What to do with a scrum master

Last post 04:27 pm December 29, 2021
by Daniel Wilhite
4 replies
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12:04 pm December 28, 2021

I think my role is "product owner".

However, my product is a combination of different products that must be integrated.

All the products are developed by different teams in outsourcing, and my team is often embedded in other teams. One team in particular is taking the lead on developing it's own product and mine. They have a kind of scrum master that call himself product owner but it's interacting with me and other product owners and he de facto run the dailies, assign tasks and lead the project. Now he (or the team) asked to add a scrum muster or a business analyst to my team because they feel stories are not written well enough. I write them, in a very simple way, but I feel that the legacy is so big that very simple features take like 5 sprints of tasks (that they call stories) that I don't understand and have almost no outcome.

They told me to use the scrum master (or business analyst?) "as i like". I have no idea what that means, nor what to do with him. I don't think he is a business analyst, as he has no domain expertise, but not sure what they mean with business analyst then.

 

I started to point out that that maybe I'm not the only one who need a scrum master ..but it's all very confusing for me.

Also considering that I consider my boss as the real product owner (but he doesn't manage or look at the backlog). And that I'm asked to run dailies as a project manager asking for status report. 

I just wanted to share my situation, and know what people think

 

 

 

 

 

06:23 pm December 28, 2021

I don't see a shred of evidence that you have any Product Owners or Scrum Masters at all. The accountabilities are not understood. Instead you've got managers of some kind who try to run things, which a PO or SM would never try to do.

06:32 pm December 28, 2021

What to do with a scrum master

Nothing.  The real question is what can a Scrum Master do for you.  I mean no offense but your question makes it obvious that you have no knowledge of the Scrum framework.  It also seems that the people you mention do not have any knowledge of the Scrum framework.  So I would suggest that your organization seek someone with actual experience in an organization that utilized the Scrum framework and let that individual teach you.  

To be clear, when I say "experience in an organization that utilized the Scrum framework" I do not mean a company that used Scrum terms.  I mean someone that used the Scrum framework to empirically drive an iterative approach to developing valuable software with frequent delivery to the stakeholders while involving the stakeholders in the entire process to receive feedback as soon as possible.  You will find a lot of people with a title of Scrum Master that are actually doing Project Manager, Development Manager, Delivery Manager, Technical Lead, or other such roles that expects them to make assignments and decisions for the people doing the work. So to find the right person to help your organization understand the Scrum framework, you may need someone in your organization to learn about the framework. 

I suggest that you start by reading the Scrum Guide. The official guide is free and can always be found at https://scrumguides.org/ .  That url will always get you to the most recent and official version of the Scrum Guide.  Any others you find on the internet may not be official.  This site has some great sources of information and the forums are a great place to read others opinions and interpretations.  You may want to look at the learning resources provided for the Professional Scrum Product Owner and Professional Scrum Master certifications.  They are great for learning more about those specific roles in Scrum. 

I would really like to provide you an actual response to your post but I honestly don't know where to begin.  I'm sure that others might be able to help you out with some feedback and I look forward to reading their responses so I can learn for the future.  Good luck finding the information you need and want. 

09:26 am December 29, 2021

I do actually have knowledge of scrum frwk, methodology, guides and some experience...:-), maybe not enough for this particular project.

I tried to describe the situation I'm in, since I didn't start the project and the company pretends to have implemented scrum. I actually was the person asking to do sprint reviews, retrospectives and to bring down the dailies to 15 min instead than one hour and a half.

I struggle to understand what is my role, probably the answer is that I'm just a "bad scrum master" so I'm being substituted.

I like Daniel suggestion, what can do the SM for me, but then maybe I don't understand who I am in this project...

04:27 pm December 29, 2021

Given you have some experience, you should be able to help them understand that they have not implemented Scrum.  If you are on a team, work with that team and identify the people that are fulfilling the Scrum Roles.  Remember they are not job descriptions, they are job roles.  Often multiple people can perform the activities related to a specific role.  Start by working with your team. 

Now he (or the team) asked to add a scrum muster or a business analyst to my team because they feel stories are not written well enough.

They told me to use the scrum master (or business analyst?) "as i like". 

Since they claim to have implemented Scrum, remind them that no one can tell a team how they will operate.  Each team self-manages.  So politely decline their offer to add a Scrum Master or Business Analyst and inform them that you will work with your team to determine what skills are needed. Then and only then will you go to your management chain to request additional help, if needed. 

This other team should not be concerned with how your team is writing their own Product Backlog Items. Those items are for your team.  Your team should be able to convey information to external entities as needed.  As long as your Product Backlog Items adequately describe the change that is needed to your product and your team is able to understand it well enough to turn them into valuable increments, no other team should care.  The value delivered by a Scrum Team is not the Product Backlog Item, it is in the Product increment delivered in the Sprint.

This is one of the biggest hurdles to implementing Scrum in an organization that has not been doing it.  The implementation requires changes beyond the people that are doing the actual work.  There is a need for the larger organization to change as well.  This company has implemented the use of some Scrum terms but has not implemented the meaning behind those terms.  I can call my dog a cat all that I want but the truth is he is not a cat.  As the Scrum Guide states

Scrum is free and offered in this Guide. The Scrum framework, as outlined herein, is immutable. While implementing only parts of Scrum is possible, the result is not Scrum. Scrum exists only in its entirety and functions well as a container for other techniques, methodologies, and practices.

Reality is that you are not using Scrum and the organization doesn't seem to want to.  So if you want to continue working there you may have to adapt yourself to work in their processes.  But that doesn't mean you can't continue to help them understand how to be more empirical which can lead to changes that would be more inline with the Scrum framework. 

Good luck to you.  You are going to need it.