4

A typical company that worked with project management with PMI methodology and resources.

Assume a specific business unit like:

  • 2 projects with different external companies (contract)
  • 2 project managers. They normally are linked to a customer accounts which in this case they have their 2 projects respectively.
  • 1 senior lead developer
  • A dev team.

Want to go over agile and you are transitioning progresively. Using a framework like Scrum we would need 1 Scrum master, 1 product owner and a Scrum team.

If you want to arrange roles for your 2 projects, your dev team would behave as the scrum team and you will empower them to be self-organizing and you will give all resources they need to accomplish their objectives. As I've been advised they should be only focused on one project at a time and not developing features from different projects in a sprint even if the product is the same. The final product is a platform and each project is for a procurement and accounting module. We will split the current team to be specialist on each module. We will have 2 scrum teams now, one per project/account.

  1. Would you give the role of product owner to the senior lead developer?
  2. Who will be the Scrum master? Will you encourage a lead developer from your teams to be the scrum master or the existing project managers since there will be 2 teams to communicate?
  3. Would you limit your project managers to customer negotiation and project direction?
  • 1
    If you are splitting the development team into two teams, one for each project, anyway then I would give the project managers the PO role for their respective teams. The SM role should go to someone who likes working with people over writing software. It might be beneficial to give the senior lead developer an architect role (not defined in Scrum) to ensure the modules stay with the overall concepts of the final platform. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Jun 20 '18 at 12:26
7

Would you give the role of product owner to the senior lead developer?

The Product Owner is your key stakeholder. They need to have the authority to prioritise the product backlog and enough domain knowledge to explain requirements to the development team.

It seems unlikely that your senior lead developer would be a good fit for this role. Is the senior lead developer's main focus the functionality of the product? Do they spend a lot of time talking with stakeholders (people from the business, including sales, marketing, etc.)?

To do the Product Owner role you do not need any technical knowledge, you just need to understand the product requirements. So you might want to consider a non-technical person such as an account manager or product manager in this role.

Who will be the Scrum master? Will you encourage a lead developer from your teams to be the scrum master or the existing project managers since there will be 2 teams to communicate?

The requirements for a Scrum Master are:

  • A good understanding of Scrum
  • Sufficient time to do the Scrum Master role
  • Able to work in a collaborative way

I have seen many different people transition to become Scrum Masters. This includes developers, project managers, BAs and many more. I would suggest that whoever is chosen to do this role should already be experienced with Scrum or should get Scrum training.

The Scrum Master is not the only person that communicates between teams. It is a good idea for members of the development teams to also share knowledge.

A lot of organisations that use Scrum will have a Scrum of Scrums which is a regular opportunity for members of Scrum teams to meet and share knowledge.

Would you limit your project managers to customer negotiation and project direction?

The Project Manager role does not fit well within a Scrum organisation. However, the activities that a Project Manager performs (dealing with budgets, contracts, etc.) may still be required.

It is best to think of these activities as just another skill set that the development team needs to deliver the product. It would be useful for the development team to have one or more individuals that can do these activities.

One approach I have seen is to have the Project Manager join the development team. This is a good temporary approach to use while an organisation transitions to working with Scrum.

2

I would give the role of Product Owner to a project manager and the Scrum Master role to one of the QA people in the team (hopefully you have a cross-functional team, not only developers).

The roles of Product Owner (PO) and especially of Scrum Master (SM) can be quite difficult to define when you are first approaching Agile and assigning this position or searching someone for the role.
Especially converting Project Managers (PjM) to Scrum Masters is filled with problems. They are all different roles, are not even superficially similar and they all require different skills but notably different mindsets; as such any “automatic conversion” will not always work.
Converting PjM to PO might be easier than PjM to SM, there is more overlap between the former two than between the latter two.
PjM can become PO if they have domain knowledge.

Product Owner role

Generally in Agile the PO is intended as the customer proxy for the team: express the work to be done to achieve a goal, order and organise it into a Product Backlog and ensure that is visible and understood by everyone in the team.
According to the Scrum guide:

The Product Owner is responsible for maximising the value of the product resulting from work of the Development Team.

The PO is the coordinator, or the glue, that pulls the team together to get them to buy into the underlying tradeoffs. The crux of coordination and resolving conflict across areas lies in developing a shared understanding of the business model.

This need for influence is why business-facing Project Managers can often make good POs. Again, far from automatic. PjMs want to get rid of problems whereas POs have to think about the product, quality, reputation.

Scrum Master role

On an Agile team there is no traditional command and control model.
Unlike a traditional project manager role, the scrum master has no direct authority; does not assign tasks (the team pulls them) and is not tracking the tasks to detect divergences (the team is self organising, if someone tracks progress against a product release then is the Product Owner).

But the SM has many other responsibilities.

The Scrum team is self-organising but the Scrum Master is responsible for the process and enforcing adherence to Scrum’s theory, practice, and rules.

This is why I like to say that the Scrum Master is a process referee.

In football, the referee doesn’t manage the teams; the referee enforces the rules of the game. It’s the same with Scrum, although Scrum Masters are usually asked to coach and evangelise too, rather than simply blowing the whistle or calling fouls.

Ken Schwaber said once, in a coaching session at Google, that the best people for Scrum Master are the Quality Assurance guys that are normally responsible for the process.

0

Where is the place for project managers in scrum

In a different role or different company...

Would you give the role of product owner to the senior lead developer?

As Barnaby Golden already explained the product owner does not need to have detailed technical understanding of the product. The core requirement of that role is to understand the needs of the customer and to be able to prioritize work to achieve the maximum value for that customer. If your project managers are already doing a lot of work with customers, requirements and specifications then I would offer them this role. If you've already got a product manager then that would be a good candidate as well. Otherwise I would recommend looking for people outside the development team to fill this role.

Who will be the Scrum master? Will you encourage a lead developer from your teams to be the scrum master or the existing project managers since there will be 2 teams to communicate?

Given the information from your previous question your Scrum Master will most likely have a full time job managing those two teams.

With an organization that is only just starting to move towards agile and scrum, you should really consider getting someone on board who's passionate and experienced in scrum.

You can repurpose and train a developer if you and him are ok with him no longer doing any developing. But it might pay to look for a new person to fill this position.

Would you limit your project managers to customer negotiation and project direction?

Again. "Project Manager" doesn't fit in the picture. If they do customer negotiation then their role is more like Sales. If they do requirements gathering and represent the customer inhouse then they can function as the product owner. If they try to direct the project then the Scrum Master should hit them on the back of the hand with a ruler. ;-)

0

You have already received a lot of good advices on Product Owner and Scrum Master therefore I will focus my answer on

Would you limit your project managers to customer negotiation and project direction?

I would not use the word limit here, the Project Managers will have a key role in ensuring the Scrum Teams can freely work in their sand box without Senior Management (or any other internal stakeholder with a negative attitude towards your change process) challenging their ability to self organise and implement changes at product level. Moreover you still have to look after the Project Board and the PM shall ensure the Project has clear tolerances defined and act within these. Continue Business Justification is as well on the PM shoulders. There are a lot of ‘traditional’ Project Management activities that the PMs will have to look after and that will enable your Product Teams to best perform. If the Project Governance is defined and managed correctly your PMs will be very busy people.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.