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I am the co-founder of a software startup (reporting software with a lot of statistics and mathematics). There is a CEO and a "project manager" (actually a sales person with no experience in software project management)

I created the software and hired mostly junior programmers.

I'm still de facto the technical leader as I'm very often needed to help with tasks and problem solving, release planning and deployment.

Now I have proposed an Agile course to everybody included managers and started to act as Scrum Master because I want people to take more responsibility and split roles (and because we don't have resources to hire a Scrum Master full time). I hold a Scrum Master certification, but it's my first practical experience.

However I feel like I'm everything... - co-founder (so probably a stakeholder in the Agile methodology) - CTO - Scrum Master - technical leader - and yes, programmer

Doesn't that clash a little bit with a Scrum/Agile methodology? How should I deal with that (since personal issues from the group will probably arise)?

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There is nothing in the Agile approach nor in the Scrum framework that says one individual can't have multiple roles.

However, there are some risks in the approach you are taking:

  • Do you have the time to do all of these roles effectively?
  • In a Scrum Development Team there are no roles other than 'team member'. Having a CTO/Technical Lead in the team can limit the self-organising and empowerment benefits of the Scrum framework.
  • There can be a conflict of interest between the stakeholder and Scrum Master roles. The Scrum Master needs to focus on facilitation and making things run smoothly. It is difficult to do that while prioritising and explaining requirements.

My advice would be to use your retrospectives to carefully evaluate how well things are working. If you and the team identify problems, it may be necessary to adjust or drop some of the roles you have.

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    I do understand that there a no roles in the dev team, but my role is "natural"...arises because of my skill experience and responsibility...I do stress that the team has no roles... – mmele Dec 18 '16 at 14:26
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    There is always the danger that a junior developer doesn't feel empowered to argue with the CTO. But if it works for you and the team members are happy to press their case in arguments then it's nothing to worry about! – Barnaby Golden Dec 18 '16 at 15:44
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Scrum master usually spend his days facilitating (not participating in) the daily standup; helping the team maintain their burndown chart; setting up retrospectives, sprint reviews or sprint planning sessions; shielding the team from interruptions during the sprint; removing obstacles that affect the team; walking the product owner through more technical user stories and encouraging collaboration between the Scrum team and product owner. Based on these duties a Scrum Master performs, your team may be able to get away without a dedicated individual if your product owner knows everything about the customer and is always there for the development team without guidance from the Scrum Master; your development team has such a healthy communication culture that daily standups are redundant and add to the overall process overhead; the burndown chart and other artifacts are maintained automatically and don’t create any overhead for the development team; the team operates free of distractions and can easily clear all obstructions on their own.

  • Hi user, welcome to PMSE! Seems that your answer has part of THIS BLOG post - being that the case, would be nice to add a disclaimer to your answer. – Tiago Cardoso Mar 3 '17 at 14:45

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