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Project Manager and Scrum teams

Last post 06:06 pm June 13, 2022 by Ian Mitchell
5 replies
09:26 am June 13, 2022

Hello everyone, 

   I have a question regarding having a Project Manager associated with a Scrum Team.  The PM in our case attends all scrum ceremonies, taking it over. The Daily scrum is now a progress report.  Sprint planning is managed by the PM, reviews do not happn at all.  Except for progress update emails to the client.  

  As a PO on the team, I also find that the PM has added/updated PB items without telling me.  

  Has anyone here had a PM join your team?  If yes, what are the responsibilities of the PM? How do you differentiate what the PM does and doesn't do?  Any guidance appreciated.  

Thank you 


01:28 pm June 13, 2022

Where is your team's Scrum Master?

The Scrum Master should be ensuring that all of the Scrum events are taking place and meeting their objectives. They should be making sure that the Daily Scrum is a planning event for the Developers and not taken over by other people. They should also be making sure that the events - like Sprint Reviews - are happening and are effective. The Scrum Master should also be coaching all of the stakeholders on effective techniques, such as the Product Owner owning the Product Backlog and being the one who may choose to delegate certain Product Backlog management activities to others.

Although there's no Scrum role for Project Manager, having those skills could be useful and valuable to the Scrum Team. I'd suggest that the team should work as a self-organizing and self-managing entity to figure out how to best take advantage of this person's knowledge and skills to support the team.


02:11 pm June 13, 2022

Hi Thomas,  We have no Scrum Master.  Although everyone insists we are agile, we aren't really following Scrum.  It seems to me, we are waterfall with sprints.  

Since there is no SM, I try to follow Scrum as much as I can although I am supposed to be the PO.  But with the Project Manager taking over, it's hard to even know what I'm supposed to do or not.  

You said that a PM skills could be valuable.  What did you mean by this? How can we best utilise these skills?  

 


04:59 pm June 13, 2022

What you are describing is not Scrum. It is Project Management using some of the terms from the Scrum framework. You never mentioned the Scrum Master.  Remember that the terms Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developers are roles and not job titles described in the Scrum Guide.  There is no reason that someone with the title Project Manager could not be fulfilling the role of the Scrum Master.  However, in the case you described that is not happening.  

I would find out how other Scrum Teams in your organization are functioning.  Is this behavior normal for your organization?  If so, then there needs to be some organizational changes made to adopt and support Scrum as it is described in the Scrum Guide.  If the organization is not willing to make those changes then you have to decide if you can work within the Scrumbut (we use Scrum but we do things differently) process that is implemented.  If there is a desire to use Scrum for its empirical purposes, then someone in the organization needs to educate your Project Manager on the Scrum framework and how it will benefit the product and stakeholders. 


05:52 pm June 13, 2022

As a PO on the team, I also find that the PM has added/updated PB items without telling me.  

Well, take them off then. It doesn't sound like they have your authority to do this on your behalf. You are accountable for product value and you manage the Product Backlog.

Ask:

  • The Developers to take that work off if they see it being introduced before you do, and to let you know about it. They are certainly not expected to do that work.
  • The Scrum Master to explain to the PM which behaviors are helpful and which are not helpful. Ensure the SM gets the air cover needed to promote real change -- there is an organizational gravity to be overcome.
  • The Scrum Team as a whole, and the organization, why a PM is needed at all. In Scrum, the project management function is refactored across all three accountabilities. Each Sprint is a project which they self-manage.

06:06 pm June 13, 2022

One further thought, which you may choose to consider no later than the next Sprint Retrospective:

The Product Backlog, which you manage, may be insecure. It appears that at least one person has access to it -- and the ability to change it -- who should not.