I’m looking for a little advice…. let me start at the beginning….
My Organisation is very traditional and our organisation structure a little strange. Our web team are part of the marketing department (which includes content, social media, support & development) and are responsible for all public facing websites. IT are their own department are responsible for back end systems. In the past few years the lines between these two sections have become blurred with a web based backend CRM system that plugs into the public facing website.
Last summer we changed the development team model to an Agile methodology and we’ve seen big gains in performance and efficiency. I am part of the Development team but had been working (sub consciously as a Product Owner) with IT implementing their new web based system so I am now the Product Owner for the web team. We have a scrum master & 3 developers and we all report to the Web Team Manager.
Now onto the problems… I am acting as Product owner for all software products (regardless of which department is responsible for them) which means I have to operate on an organisational perspective rather than any single product. While the Dev team report to the Web Team Manager, ultimately they work on all web based systems we have. Our manager has placed herself into the Dev team as a pseudo-tester which they feel enables them to attend stand-ups & retro’s and the dev team feel they cannot be open in their retro as a result. They also act as the point of contact with the organisation on all changes to our websites thus making them the customer also. Our backlog refinements are now the same people, the Scrum Master, Web Team Manager and myself s Product Owner. In our sprint demo’s we demo to the manager as they are technically the customer. On a more operational basis, Dev team members request their holidays through the Web Team Manager, but they always check with me first, then make their request and then the Web Team Manager contacts me to see if request is ok.
So my questions are:
As a Product Owner, should some of these Line level tasks be routed to me instead or is it best to focus on the product?
As a Product Owner, should I be the person dealing with all customers within the Organisation on new pieces of work?
- Is it appropriate for the Web Team Manager to assume the many hats that they have?
- Given our somewhat unusual Organisational structure, what feedback would you give on how our structure is setup and what changes would you recommend to bring clarity on responsibility for developing and maintaining our software?