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In my current project I'm very confused about my role and who I should go through in regards to getting information about requirements/stories and who I ask questions from.

Project team:

  • 1 x Project manager (this is the main role I'm confused with). Also acts as Scrum master
  • 1 x Team lead developer
  • 3 x Developers (I'm one of these)
  • 1 x Tester

NOTE: I don't think we have a project owner as such but if I had to guess I suppose it would be combination of our Project manager and the clients project manager.

Project steps to date:

  1. Project manager met with the client to identify initially project scope
  2. Project manager and two developers met with the client to further discuss scope
  3. Project manager worked with client to identify stories and prioritization
  4. Project manager discussed stories with development and asked for estimation
    • The PM needed this as the client needed a quote for the work
  5. Development team estimated stories but also had questions which Project manager took back to client (This occurred a couple of times)
  6. Project manager and development lead met with client a few times to discuss work/questions as well as future work.
  7. Rest of team members started development work. Team lead was stuck on other projects for first sprint only attending client facing meetings.
    • Team lead decided which stories each developer would do and assigned them at the first scrum.
    • After assignment of tasks developers started developing
  8. Towards the end of the sprint the tester started working on Acceptance criteria (tester did not work with programmers at the beginning on creating these which I thought strange?).
  9. On completion of a task the tester tests the story and assigns back to tester if not complete.

This is the part as well I'm getting confused with especially:

  1. When a developer has a question about a user story they have gone back to the project manager who has then contacted the customer contact person directly

We did not complete anything for the customer after the first sprint, and we are yet to start the next one.

So my core questions are:

  1. There seems to be something wrong with our approach to agile here. But as I understand agile is all about being agile and favoring people over processes, maybe we are just flavoring it to suite our clients needs?

  2. Should developers contact the customer representative directly, or should we do it through our PM? This I have found hard because of things like "questions lost in translation" and "time delay in getting answers". It's a good point that one of our developers English (not saying they are not a good developer) is not that good so maybe this is the reason we have gone down that route?

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1 Answer 1

First of all, you are not using Scrum :) Have a quick look on http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(software_development)

You are missing a Product Owner, which would be the person you could ask with respect to requirements.

Now I start with some interpretation of the rare facts. Companies not running on Scrum sometimes perform something between Scrum and classical project management concepts. Leading to a project manager who tries to act as scrum master and usually as product owner. Within classical project management, the project manager should bring enhanced communication capabilities. Those would enable him to communicate with a customer from the companies point of view. In addition "one face to the customer" is a well known approach.

The answer to the second questions is quite simple:

  1. Follow your company / project rules. May be you have some kind of Communication Management Plan?
  2. If you don't agree with you company / project rules, talk to your PM / manager. Try to present an improved alternative.
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