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Change management in Scrum

Last post 05:51 pm November 12, 2021 by Tom Marsicano
20 replies
09:09 pm April 23, 2017


I found this question in a test and I don't understand why the correct answer is the Product owner and not the scrum team. 

Question: Who is responsible for change management in Scrum ? 

  • Options: Scrum master, Scrum team, Product Owner, Development team, There is no change management in scrum 
  • My answer: Scrum team
  • Correct answer: Product Owner

From the scrum guide I understand that the scrum team is responsible for change management:  

  • The Scrum Master’s job is to work with the Scrum Team and the organization to increase the transparency of the artifacts. This work usually involves learning, convincing, and change.The Scrum Master serves the Development Team in several ways, including:Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team
  • The development team is responsible for managing itself and the changes in the team
  • The Product owner is responsible for managing changes in the product backlog.  

Can anyone help me understand why the correct answer is the product owner and not the scrum team?

Thank you.


12:44 pm May 3, 2017

What test is this from?

05:20 am May 4, 2017

If you think about it, who will be notified about the change in a requirement by stakeholders or if there is any change in companies direction that might change tech or something else ? It will not be development team, it will be PO who will be notified. And that change will result into re-ordering of product backlog which will be done by ? ......PO, your 3rd bullet point mentions the same.


But yeah, which test is this from ?

11:32 am May 10, 2017

Hello Ian, Ankit

The test is from Management Plaza.

Ankit, yes I agree with you but I think that the Product Owner isn't the only person responsible for change. The scrum master and the development team may also manage change. Nothing in the question mentioned that it was about the change in requirements or the product backlog.

Thank you.



12:08 pm May 10, 2017

The Scrum Team is responsible for change management in Scrum. The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the Scrum Framework is properly understood by the Team so such improvements can happen.

The correct answer may only be "Product Owner" if the context of "change" is restricted to the Product.

08:35 am May 17, 2018

There are many changes in Scrum projects, and have to be managed. The management is much easier than in traditional projects, because the development is not dependent on upfront planning and design.

The Product Owner is responsible for collecting the feedback, and applying it in the Product Backlog, which is a type of change management.

06:54 am July 20, 2018

This is an old thread but this question is on several study exams and if I am not mistaken on the PSPO 1 exam. Volkerdon has it as well. One note of caution: pay attention to traditional English definitions.

Change management-is a collective term for all approaches to prepare and support individualsteams, and organizations in making organizational change

This is the definition from the dictionary as well as wikipedia.This is an actual job function that consultants/managers are paid to do with in an organization. In the actual literal meaning of the word, this would be the Scrum Master. This word does not mean some person who is responsible for changing project scope,details, or variables. This means making organizational changes. I really think this question needs to be re-written. A PO is not responsible for organizational changes. This is why so many people get this wrong. Because you are trying to make your own definitions on top of a standard definition of a word and job function that already exist.

04:52 pm August 13, 2018

Ian Mitchell, The context here is the same as from one of the agile manifesto principles. Responding to CHANGE over following following a plan which relates to changes market conditions, organization priorities,  Customer emphasis, technical availability of resources, customer feedback, market competition, etc., that influence the Product backlog order. Your suggestion that Scrum Team is RESPONSIBLE is wrong.

Imane DIAB PRODUCT OWNER is RESPONSIBLE for the CHANGE MANAGEMENT (that is done using the Product Backlog), Development team members can help at the request of the PO, but in the end he is responsible. Pay attentions to the words I emphasized in capitals. you will get the point.

09:59 am August 14, 2018

For the poorly-chosen format of the question "Who is responsible for change management in Scrum?", to my mind, Jennifer's input (followed by Ian's) is the most logical.

Whilst it's true the PO has to follow up with the market and ensure appropriate changes are accounted for, they have other areas they're responsible for. Why would they be responsible for organizational change when their main focus should be on maximing value for the business? 

Exercise: Your're part of a Scrum team and your company's merging with another one. Three months later, you see that, while things were reasonably good before, the team is no longer performing well and the team identifies a program manager (from the other company, now yours) largely responsible for efforts to micromanage and be consulted on a daily basis. Who'd be in the best position to take this to management, explain the situation, show the before and after, and seek resolution?

02:08 am August 17, 2018


Besides the more 'scrum-theory' based answers. In practice, when transitioning from a more waterfall / prince2 / itil way-of-working company, giving the answer of 'the product owner is responsible' will give friction with existing processes. I have seen examples where test approvals, change approvals, etc. are required to get something live and the product increment available for its users. Now, surely this is something in most cases you do not want.

To be more agile, you want a scrum team to be autonomous to deliver such things. End-to-end product responsibility, and with devops way-of-working also ensuring non-functionals of the product (availability, etc.). Most organisations want to have some evidence that such process is done as promised. Telling that the team just decides so is something that is usually not accepted in more traditional organisations. Keeping track (digitally) of who has worked on which item, logging all activities on tasks will do the trick. Especially in combination with CI/CD automation practices. Where a release to production can be related to code changes and individuals and individual reviewers / approvers WITHIN the team (to production for example).

Scrum tools such as VSTS, and Priooo are able to support these processes, where some proces steps are enforced and covered by the tool, but other (most) steps are dependant on the teams willingness to for example document test results within the sprint in a digital / auditable / traceable way.


08:28 am August 17, 2018

In a previous company, Quality Management asked us to explain how our way of working (Scrum) related to the Change Management Process they had previously developed for the V-Model development in the company.

While mapping waterfall terms to Scrum terms is dangerous, we did try to grasp what the previous process tried to achieve and how this was done in Scrum. Here is what we came up with:

* Change Requests are presented to the Product Owner who may add them to the Product Backlog at their discretion.

* The developers and PO meet regularly to engage in Product Backlog Refinement, during which an estimate is added/updated to the PBI. There is no formal Change Control Board, but in essence, Backlog Refinement serves the same purpose.

* The Scrum Team decides when to pull the change request into a sprint at Sprint Planning.

* Change Requests are tracked in a Project Management Tool (in this case, JIRA).

* Once the change request is done according to the DoD, it is presented to the stakeholders during Sprint Review.

We used a few more words to describe it, but that's the essence of it. In the end, we continued to do Scrum and the Quality Management Officer was happy that we had adequate Change Management in place.

04:12 am August 18, 2018

To be able to answer this question I believe we should clarify the aim of change first. If we are talking about market change or change of the requirements, then PO is a good answer. On the other hand, change might refer to the way of developing the product, then I believe the Scrum team with Scrum Master as the leader of this change should be responsible.

11:35 am May 16, 2019

Same question at Volkerdon mock test, and reply was PRODUCT OWNER, because: If there is a Change Request that may have a significant impact on a Sprint in progress, the Product Owner, after consultation with relevant stakeholders, decides whether the change can wait until the next Sprint or represents an urgent situation which may require ending the current Sprint and starting a new one.

03:41 pm August 21, 2019

Let me re-phrase the question a bit:

Considering the context of scrum and corporate change management process, who is ideally responsible for approving change requests when releasing new increments to production?

From technical approval perspective, will that responsibility lie with the DEVELOPMENT TEAM, the single PLATFORM LEADs or ...?

From business approval perspective, will that responsibility lie with the DEVELOPMENT TEAM, the PRODUCT OWNER or ...?

05:10 pm August 21, 2019

The context in which change management is used is incredibly important here. There's a difference between a 'change request' in a project or product and change management as Jennifer referenced above. 

In Scrum, changes to the product would be managed by the Product Owner within the Product Backlog. I think the question from this test is poorly worded for anyone with an understanding of organizational change management and how people respond to change at an individual level. 

Something like transitioning from waterfall to agile software development practices is something that requires a lot of change management at an organizational and individual level. This is often a big miss by organizations who think they can just start 'doing Scrum' and be successful. 

12:00 am August 22, 2019

I am new to learning SCRUM but had gotten my PMP a while ago. The way I would interpret this question and come to an answer is as follows:

1. The question does not indicate the source of change .

2. Any change that development team wants to make is supposed to be handled within development team since it is ‘self-organized’. If change identified by development team is likely to affect the outcome or goal of sprint then product owner has to be brought in. PO will now have to manage the impact on stakeholders who rely  on outcome of the sprint.

3. Scrum master is servant-leader so not ‘leading a change’ but helping react to one if anything is to be changed.

4.  In absence of specific reference the change to be managed has to be assumed to have been initiated from outside the scrum team, in which case product owner is the one that will be reached out to.

So in my view Product Owner would be the right answer.



12:40 pm August 22, 2019

Change management as it is defined in project management guide means "changes in the scope of development". By definition, scope of work is maintained by product owner. He/she is the one who decides what gets built and when. So, responsibility of "change management" by definition is to the product owner.

That being said, a true team always try to help each other. So, anyone in the team, including scrum master, can help product owner with the change management. Obviously, it is still required that no one tries to take the responsibility of other role.

11:21 am September 4, 2019

In the context of Scrum, roles are clearly defined by Scrum Framework. In short,

Scrum Team: Knows/ Owns the "HOW".

Product Owner: Knows/ Owns the "WHAT"

Thus, team should receive instructions about What needs to be built as they know How to build it.

Any Change i.e., additional requirements/ Enhancements /Bug-fix/ Non-Functional changes (Regulatory/ Risk/ Information Security/ Governance) will follow the same rule as long as it is in-line with the Vision and qualifies for Grooming and eventually provides business value.

PO - holds the sole responsibility for change management in Scrum.

01:16 pm March 24, 2020

The Product Owner is responsible for collecting feedback from stakeholders and applies them into the Product Backlog.

This is a kind of the change management.

01:46 pm May 18, 2021
  • Two types of functional changes are possible in scrum teams:
    • Within the scope (refinement of existing requirements).
    • Outside the scope (new requirements).


Changes within scope is handled through the scrum process.   Product Owner deals with adjustments to the user stories. However, changes that fall outside the existing scope of the project must go through a Change Control Board process. They must first be approved by Change Control Board and generally may call for a change to the contract, if vendor is involved.

Therefore the team must have a clear understnding of what is in scope and what is not.

06:18 am November 12, 2021


It's great to join the forum. I am no expert in Scrum but know people change management (at least as the change management industry define it). I am fascinated by the discussion on change management here, but can see that we may mean different things when we speak of change management. So, I need your help please? I guess changes to scope of stories/sprints/releases is called change management by many. OK, so what do we call changes that people have to make in the way they think, feel or what they do (as a result of our scrum activity)? I call this change management or if I want to be more specific I called it people change management, or the people side of change. What fits best?


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