In a typical non-Scrum environment, a Project (or, Product, maybe) Manager will be the one responsible for project/product success, and so assigns tasks to the members, make sure it gets completed. Gives pressure to the assigned members.

When considering a developer's performance, whether you use Waterfall or Scrum, unless a developer has a very highly professional mindset, there exists a certain amount of pressure (to complete the job) which would make the performance of developer at its highest, I think.

I'm trying to learn Scrum, but cannot figure out what (or who) would be the one giving this pressure to the developers. Or, does Scrum (when ideally practised) trust each developer to control his or herself and do whatever is necessary to optimize their performance, on their own?

  • 4
    Why do you think "pressure" is necessary? Agile frameworks are not based on command-and-control, so where's the value?
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Oct 17, 2016 at 2:21
  • here you intend to contrast, command-and-control <-> self-organizing team ?
    – J. Doe
    Oct 17, 2016 at 2:48
  • 2
    Yes, those two are pretty much in direct contrast. How can you be self-organizing when your boss is trying to organize you?
    – Sarov
    Oct 17, 2016 at 13:13

4 Answers 4


In general, knowledge workers work better under Theory Y, meaning creating an environment such that the primary motivation driving them is their own desire to see the project to completion. This also ties well into Scrum's mandate of a 'self-organizing team'.

That's not to say the business can just dump a project onto the Team's laps and then wander off, providing no input nor constraints from then onward, of course (putting aside that the stakeholders should be receiving updates and providing feedback every sprint at the Sprint Review meeting). For what you seem to be looking for, someone responsible for making sure each individual requirement is completed to satisfaction, the role of Product Owner fits best.

The Product Owner's role is to be the evangelist and, well, owner, of the product. This includes not only things like prioritising the backlog and ensuring the Development Team understands each requirement, but also managing the stakeholders' expectations. Hypothetically speaking, if the Development Team isn't 'properly' completing tasks, but all of the stakeholders are still fully satisfied, then there isn't really a problem. If the stakeholders aren't satisfied, then it becomes the Product Owner's job to fix that - either by adjusting the stakeholders' expectations or, as is more in vein with your question, bringing the issue up to the Development Team.


You make an important assumption - that pressure is necessary. This assumption maybe true or false - but it does limit your view of the world.

Scrum operates under different assumptions. You will not 'get' Scrum because you will keep looking for a way to apply pressure.

I am not saying that either you or Scrum are right - or wrong. But your worldview is different; like trying to explain the benefits of a bicycle to a bird.

This will not change your view on the world but it may open you to the possibility that there are more ways to get people to do their work:

Dan Pink: The surprising truth about what motivates us.


Having a self organizing team doesn't mean you cannot measure their performance (as a team or individually). Scrum solves the part of how to handle the work to be done, but you still need to manage your team somehow, in this case not assigning them tasks and pressuring them to finish quicker, but letting them self organize and then analyse whether the bad performance (if goals are met then you don't have anything to worry about) is because an individual, bad coordination or external factors.


In my opinion, there is no need to apply pressure when doing Scrum. Agile is all about constant feedback. For example, with the Sprint Review every two weeks, developers know they will have to show something, so they will push themselves to deliver.

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