Who is responsible for the amount of work done per Sprint?

Last post 06:47 pm January 24, 2017
by Ian Mitchell
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03:21 pm January 24, 2017

Is it the responsibility of the Product Owner to push the team in terms of how much it can take on per Sprint? Is the Product Owner accountable for how much is taken on per Sprint?

My understanding is that it is the responsibility of the Development Team to increase its performance (by identifying impediments, improvement actions, etc.), with the aid of the Scrum Master. While the Product Owner can remain transparent and provide suggestions or identify areas the team may be struggling, its not the POs role to be either responsible or accountable for the quantity of work taken on per Sprint.

I should note that this is assuming the Backlog is prepared well enough and Sprint Goals are optimistic enough that the Development Team cannot suggest a lack sufficient PBIs is a problem.

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This is really difficult to explain, so if necessary, I'll add to it.

04:22 pm January 24, 2017

> Is it the responsibility of the Product Owner to push the team in
> terms of how much it can take on per Sprint?

No, it is the responsibility of the PO to exert pull (demand) so the value delivered to stakeholders is maximized. If the team are not responding to that pull as efficiently as possible then the Scrum Master may coach and advise with respect to any improvements.

04:27 pm January 24, 2017

Alex, your understanding is correct. Scrum Guide clearly states: "Only the Development Team can assess what it can accomplish over the upcoming Sprint". It's not the PO's responsibility.
Sprint Goal is created during the Sprint Planning meeting, not before, so your next to last statement should be rephrased.

04:32 pm January 24, 2017

But at the same time it's PO responsiblity to order the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions and to optimize the value of the work the Development Team performs.

05:15 pm January 24, 2017

Posted By Ian Mitchell on 24 Jan 2017 04:22 PM
> Is it the responsibility of the Product Owner to push the team in
> terms of how much it can take on per Sprint?

No, it is the responsibility of the PO to exert pull (demand) so the value delivered to stakeholders is maximized. If the team are not responding to that pull as efficiently as possible then the Scrum Master may coach and advise with respect to any improvements.

Right, and presumably, if the Development Team does not respond to that coaching and advice, it is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to raise this as an impediment to the Scrum Team's progress for business intervention. Is that correct?

06:47 pm January 24, 2017

The Product Owner ought to have a clear understanding of whether or not appropriate value is being delivered. That's not something for the Scrum Master to decide, irrespective of the team's implementation of the Scrum Framework.

If value is inadequate then the PO can raise his or her concerns with the team no later than the Sprint Review, while ideas for improvement can be discussed no later than the Sprint Retrospective. At no time can the Product Owner push work or change upon the Development Team.