Managing a team with several common base products

Last post 05:31 pm August 13, 2014
by Charles Bradley
3 replies
03:50 am August 13, 2014


We are a software development company and we have a flagship product which we started working on about 3 years ago. At that time, the team was about 10 people in total. We grow up and now we are about 50 people in the team and we have 5 different products. 3 years ago, we have one project manager = product owner, one scrum master and the rest was developers. However, we are facing with some issues about how to form the teams, scrum masters and developers.
What we have tried so far is that,
1 product manager = 1 product owner, 5 scrum masters (one for each product) and divided developers to these teams.
In this scenario, it didn't work well for us because of the following reason. Our products share common base and features. If there is a new feature to be developed, in most cases, it need to be developed and tested for all 5 products. However, since the teams are separate from each other, they start thinking that they are responsible for only their product and they implement things for that product specifically. Testers start testing only on that specific product as well. We didn't like this idea and then we decide to have the following schema:
1 product manager = 1 product owner, 5 scrum masters (one for each skill or talent of a team) and the developers are divided in to these teams according to their skills. Some developers like working on platform and some people like developing new features.

Currently this seems not working well as well because in this scenario, there is no master for the products. There is nobody who know the product the best anymore. If there is a question, the answer is mostly vague and unclear.

Could you please guide me how to split the team? I am still in favor of going back to the first scenario but I don't know how to prevent the problems that we experienced. I'd appreciate your comments and thoughts.

Best regards,

09:23 am August 13, 2014

Hi dumalae,

actually I'm quite a Scrum newbie, but what about nominating 5 further Product Owners out of the Development Teams in the 2nd scenario, one for each of your products? These POs could still be part-time developers and if there was a question, it would be clear, who is responsible.

What do you think about this?

Best regards,

12:53 pm August 13, 2014

> I am still in favor of going back to the first
> scenario but I don't know how to prevent the
> problems that we experienced

It's perfectly reasonable to have separate teams, each with their own Product Backlog, that collaborate on the release of a combined product.

Consider establishing a Scrum of Scrums for this purpose, with a representative from each team, and which co-ordinates the delivery of potentially releasable product increments each Sprint on cadence. They'll need a shared Definition of Done which asserts that work has been tested and integrated to an appropriate level of quality.

05:31 pm August 13, 2014


The question you posed has way too much complexity(and a ton of missing context) for a decent answer over a discussion forum. You need a good Scrum Coach to come into your company for a few weeks to help you explore and pursue one of many solutions to your obstacles.

For more info on books and such that cover these topics, see the "scaling" resources page on our site:

If you can tell me what part of the world you're in, I can make some recommendations of good Scrum Coaches in your area.