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Same Product, Different Teams

Last post 07:42 pm June 4, 2024 by Omer Cheema
9 replies
09:25 pm May 16, 2024

I recently joined a mobile app development company as a scrum master, and found that they have 6 POs for 6 different streams of the same product. Each team has different size and different workload, so they are running multiple parallel sprints for now.

I want things to be more organized and start holding ceremonies, and I thought of 3 options:

  1. Align teams on a common sprint, but the workload will be a problem
  2. Run parallel sprints with suitable duration for each, but the calendar for ceremonies is something I can't figure out
  3. Merge development teams into a self managing and run a single common sprint, but the organization is not so open for this

What would you recommand ?


Thnak you !

07:48 am May 17, 2024

More organized for what? Has transparency been established over their integration points, and if so, why would a Scrum Master (or anyone else) organize them rather than promote self-organization?

Ceremonial practices are unlikely to help, although Scrum events may well assist with integration. The first option is always to descale the challenge so product integration dependencies are minimized. Scaled Professional Scrum may then be used to promote integration across multiple teams for each jointly observed Sprint in a Nexus.

09:01 am May 17, 2024

Why would you call it is same product when different POs have their streams to own?. Probably the "streams" you mentioned could be considered as individual product by respective POs. And are you thinking to organize as single team/single sprint because you are the only SM? You also need to keep in mind the increase in team size would impact the effective collaboration within each team members. There can be some of the practices set common(like the ones followed common across organization).Rest should be left to the team to figure it out imo.

01:35 pm May 17, 2024

It's the same product from user perspective, and dependancies are not managed at all. For example, they can change the sprint duration as they wish if they figure out some dependancies to other teams.

They can't test throught the sprint, so for sprints of 3 weeks, they develop during the 2 first sprints and pass the floor to QAs, and start develpment of next sprint, and may be going back to the previous one if bugs are detected.

There is no sprint planning. They pick up items from the "sprint" backlog prepared by their PO as start working.

There is no sprint review. They all make sure to release into production once every 3 months.

I don't think they are satisfied with this, and that's why they're asking for help.

I want to organize them as single sprint (not team) bacause yes, I am the only SM indeed, and the most important thing is, as I said it's the same product. We actually have one common backlog for all these teams.

I thought of Nexus, but as far as I know, sprints should be of the same duration to do that.

What would you recommand anyway?

Thank you !

03:45 pm May 17, 2024

I agree with @Ian.  Why would a single Scrum Master have any desire to organize a team?  That is outside of the role of a Scrum Master.  But then a Scrum Master would not want to "hold ceremonies" and would instead want to help the organization appreciate the benefit of the Scrum Events. 

It sounds to me like you have joined an organization that thinks they are using the Scrum framework because they use some of the terminology of Scrum and someone has told them that "this is how Scrum works".  If I were in your position, I'd focus my efforts on my responsibility to help the organization understand the Scrum framework, how it can benefit them, and how they will need to change in order to benefit from it.  Help everyone appreciate the framework and encourage teams to self-organize around products.  (Remember that a product does not have to be something sold. So you very well may have 6 products instead of 6 streams).  Use this opportunity to expand your skills and educate others about the Scrum framework as it is defined in the Scrum Guide

05:53 pm May 17, 2024

One thing I can tell for sure since I entered this agility world, is that everybody thinks his doing it better.

I’m not an expert and that’s exactly why I asked for help. If I want to teach them about how scrum can help, I should at least have an idea about how to help. One sure thing is the way that they are handling things right now is not appreciated neither by them nor the organization since it lacks transparency and is somehow very volatile.

Another real fact is that no matter how organizations think they are open to agility, there will always resistance when it comes to making teams manage themselves. Things are what they are, and I only wish to adapt things and be able to easily monitor.

These teams are only using the word sprint to define a period during which they’ll be creating an increment. This period changes every sprint according to their choices, and as non expert as I can be, I don’t think that this is something the framework stipulates.

And let me repeat myself, it’s a single product with one product backlog. And it definitely is not the problem here.

As per events, I think that they should happen as a team member myself, and for that I need to do some « organization ».

03:04 pm May 18, 2024

I agree with @Ian and @ Daniel. @Fatima, if you are able to follow through the advice given, you will significantly achieve a milestone.

03:58 pm May 20, 2024

You gotta like how some people start talking about theory instead of giving practical advises to help an individual in these forums. Look, we can all speak about idealized Scrum and be very vague, but that's not going to help anyone. 

Fatima, with the limited knowledge of your situation and challenges, I can make the following recommendations based on what I read from you.

Problem: multiple teams working on different parts of the same product ineffectively. 

Your motivation: help the team (not fix or dictate, but help) to be more organized, transparent, motivated, and happy. I think it is a very valid motivation for a SM to have.

To me, it sounds as the best approach would be keeping those Scrum teams separate (more than 9 devs is suboptimal, anyway) with their own Sprint boards, ceremonies, etc. The PO's may benefit from having a stream-specific product backlog as well as a combined product backlog showing everything. If cross-team dependancies and integration issues warrant it, you should look into the Nexus framework to sync their work. I'd also recommend reading about best ways of facilicating Scrum team formation discussions with your folks to evaluate the current team formation.

06:46 am May 21, 2024


I would suggest that as a Scrum master you need to educate teams about Scrum framework (start with 1 representative from each team and have a session with them and work with them at the team level to weed out issues). Educate them on the importance of the Scrum events and what purpose they serve. Treat the team representatives and SM for individual teams and through them drive the team level initiatives. You can attend the ceremonies (as much as possible as you have to look at 6 teams) and see how the teams need to be supported.

 Initially let the sprints be separate (but ensure that the duration is fixed) and have a daily meeting with representatives from all the teams. Making the dependency and blockers transparent is the best way to manage dependency and as a SM you could facilitate a 15 min cross team connect daily.

07:02 pm June 4, 2024


I totally understand your position and can relate with it. 

In my opinion, as a scrum master it is you responsibility to ensure that the scrum framework is being fully implemented. I understand and agree with @daniel, it is out of scrum scope to manage, however, practically in specific scenarios you have go a little extra mile. In this situation, your main goal is to teach the scrum to the organization as a whole. You need to highlight the differences between the scrum framework and pretend scrum that they are following. If i would be in your place, i would be going extra mile and setting up time with the higher management to bring it in their attention and request the improvements in the processes so that the scrum can be implemented with all its conditions.

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