I am working in a company that wants to migrate their development process to Scrum.

The company did not have much of a development process up to now but had well organised sales and marketing departments.

At the same time the company wants to start an R&D department in the East Coast from scratch (currently there is an R&D dept in the West Coast).

The question I 've been asked is to propose a new organizational structure for the company that will encompass the new development team in the east coast and foster development in the company.

The company works in different projects at the same time, (possibly unrelated) and plans to have around 30 developers in the near future.

I proposed a scheme which is project based, where each project consists of the basic Scrum roles (Product owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team).

Teams WILL be spread across sites, with some of the members in the East coast and some of them in the West coast. One reason is that for some projects there is prior knowledge of existing platforms required and this knowledge is in the West Coast whereas the main development workforce will be in the East Coast. Scrum master will be located at the site were the majority of the development workforce of the project will be.

I expect this to gradually change as development efforts are moved in the East coast, but this will not take place immediately.

Projects will be coordinated by a person that assigns priorities to projects and can move people from one team to another (The scrum of scrum master).

I believe that it is incredibly risky to do all of this things at once but this is a decision I cannot alter.

The questions I have are the following:

  • Do you think the above setup is reasonable? If not what do you think are the downsides
  • In terms of HR management, who should be responsible and what would be his/her role in the chart. For example, who should decide on hiring/letting staff, making staff appraisals? Will a separate manager be required? where does he lie in the whole picture?
  • I think a separate manager will be required in the East coast dealing with day-to-day activities. (Requests for leave? appraisals? anything a typical PM would do?). How do you think will be the best way to handle this?
  • This is a huge question with lots of ins and outs and while at a very conceptual level is agreeable, I would suggest that you reach out to someone or many someones to talk it through and get ideas and discuss dynamics your company may have beyond just choosing a process or structure, especially with goals like "foster development". This is a great question for a good dialogue, less of a question that only needs a short answer for here. Please reach out if you would like a dialogue. Mar 7, 2014 at 5:51
  • I am not really a stackexchange expert so I wouldn't know how to "reach out" but yeap I am up for a dialogue for this topic
    – Vice Roy
    Mar 7, 2014 at 6:07
  • On a separate comment, my goals are more measurable than "foster development". Within 6 months we should have a 50 (or so) user stories long project delired. We should be able to trace changesets to user stories and test cases. We should be able to identify builds with changesets. We should have practiced continuous integration via automatic builds. We should be on budget. We should have the majority of the functionality descibed by our product owner delivered to her satisfaction. (In a summary these are my immediate goals)
    – Vice Roy
    Mar 7, 2014 at 6:16
  • I don't believe there is messaging here, so feel free to reach out via my contact page on my website that is listed in my profile. Mar 8, 2014 at 14:51
  • I'd agree with @ErinBeierwaltes this question is huge. I dont think it is suitable for a Q&A site in its current form and you should consider breaking it up. I'd agree that getting external help in would be useful, before you do that you should read some books about adopting Scrum. Mar 10, 2014 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


I don't think there is much flaws in process which you mentioned. My suggestion is, as you said team should not have 30 members. Ideally in Scrum, the team should be 7 to 9 members. It includes dev team, testers, scrum master and product owner. I would suggest to divide your team to smaller units and have a Business Analyst who manages the team goals, Scrum Master to ensure the team follows process, (Business Analyst and Scrum Master can be same person), Project Manager to ensure the project goals are met and a HR to managing resource, leave, appraisals etc.

You should have separate person as HR to take care of hiring, appraisals, leave management, employee welfare, motivation etc.

It would be better to have separate managers in East coast and West coast.

If you need any clarification in roles and responsiblities or process of Scrum, please refer


  • I probably didn't explain my self with regards to the team size. The 'total' number of developers will be around 30 and they will be divided according to their projects in different teams. So I do not expect to be more than 7-8 per scrum team in any case
    – Vice Roy
    Mar 6, 2014 at 11:49
  • @ViceRoy, I think that Scrum Master should be a separate role from Business Analyst. Product Owner (PO) is responsible for Business Analysis and additional ones can be hired if it is needed. Only a person that understands Scrum and can coach others (Development Team, PO, Organisation) should be chosen for the Scrum Master (SM) role. Project Manager (PM) should be separate from the Development team. PM should manage resources and budget and communicate to PO only. Product management and interaction with the development team is responsibility of PO. Apr 20, 2014 at 23:31

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