I'm the new Scrum Master of a Team that develops a software for a customer outside our company. This is my first time working as Scrum Master; I have no background in this field. Our company is just a small software development contractor and our customer is a big multi-national corporation. We rely heavily on them in that a big portion of our projects are done for this customer.
Our customer however doesn't really care that we're doing Scrum. They don't seem to have any product vision and constantly change their opinion about what they want next. That in and of itself shouldn't be a problem (the PO should have the vision and that the customer can't make their mind up is the whole point of agile); however it's happening to such a degree that our PO has no chance of creating a Product Backlog. Most of the things we work on are unknown until the day the Sprint Planning takes place. During Sprints we are constantly pushed to change the scope of the current Sprint (i.e. add more things).
This has the following effect on our Team:
- We have no Product Backlog.
- We never have a Sprint Goal, Sprints are just a combination of unrelated features/ change requests/ bug fixes.
- There are things added to our Sprint Backlog during the Sprint.
And all this leads to us never getting anything done.
My understanding is that those problems come from the fact that our Product Owner lacks the authority to say "no" to our customer. I understand that following Scrum-Theory I as Scrum Master should refuse both the constant change of sprint-scope and the working on features which are completely unknown until the Sprint Planning. However there's no point in saying "no" to the PO: it's not him who wants to do those things anyway. He knows what the effect on our team is, but he's forced to do it.
Are there any ways to improve this situation?