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If you’ve tried Scrum, you’re probably familiar with the Scrum Master and Product Owner roles. But in case you don’t, here’s a quick breakdown. The Scrum Master is responsible for making sure the team follows the Scrum process, and the Product Owner makes sure the team spends its time building what brings the most value to the organization. These roles sound deceptively simple, so in some cases he tries to tackle both by himself.

This can occur in the underlying implementation of Scrum if a Product Owner is not formally assigned to a team and a Scrum Master is supposed to fulfill these responsibilities. It can also happen if the Scrum Master on the team is also an individual contributor and is simply too overwhelmed to focus on the Scrum process. In these cases, the Product Owner may try to lead the process in addition to his or her own responsibilities. Regardless of the reason, when a team tries to lump all responsibilities into her one role, it rarely ends well. Let’s look at some reasons why this might go wrong and how to fix it.

Scenario 1: Scrum Master acts as Product Owner

Most commonly, these roles are combined, with the Scrum Master wearing the Product Owner hat. Although it may sound logical, Scrum Masters may not have access to customers to gather valuable feedback. Without actionable feedback, teams simply break untested products into smaller parts and deliver each piece incrementally. While incremental delivery is an improvement over a single large delivery, it’s really just a more efficient way to deliver the wrong product.

When a Scrum Master acts as a Product Owner, it’s easy to miss a consistent vision for the team and end up delivering low-value work. This can happen when the Scrum Master lacks customer access or true vision for the product and simply piles up the most interesting or familiar items on the backlog. As a result, teams end up throwing garbage at the app by making minor enhancements to existing features or cleaning up low-priority bugs, but accomplishing no meaningful work. . In this case, don’t confuse low value with low quality. A team may be producing high-quality work, but that doesn’t mean it’s having a meaningful impact on the product.

Scenario 2: Product Owner acts as Scrum Master

Product ownership is a full-time job. This means that responsibilities outside of this role are easy to fall into. When a Product Owner acts as a Scrum Master, we usually see the less visible parts of the Scrum process slowly start to decline. Retrospectives are often the first casualty, as their results can (falsely) appear less relevant to busy product owners. Although the Product Owner cannot formally cancel a retrospective, he or she may decide to leave scheduling to the Development Team, deeming it most relevant to the Development Team. Such meetings will seem unimportant to the organization and will eventually disappear.

Other times, the symptoms may not be obvious enough to cause you to miss a meeting. In some cases, regular meetings will continue to take place, but you will begin to notice a subtle shift in focus. For example, stand-ups occur daily, but rather than serving as an opportunity for the team to plan the day’s work, they gradually transform into status meetings in which each team member reports progress to the product owner. I’ll go. Similarly, sprint planning meetings will still be held, but rather than the team coming together to arrive at an estimate and sprint plan, an overzealous product owner may be pushing unpleasant commitments.

How to fix

Being a Scrum Master and Product Owner is a full-time job in most cases. If the same person attempts to fill both roles, the results are almost always disastrous. If the Scrum Master fulfills the responsibilities of the Product Owner, the simplest solution is to relieve the individual of the responsibilities of the Scrum Master and allow him/her to focus fully on the Product Owner role. Many Scrum Masters end up drawn to the role of Product Owner, and these days this has become a very popular career advancement for those with a penchant for product management.

However, keep in mind that the team still needs a Scrum Master. This is an opportunity to identify members of your team who are working on the challenge and coach them into new roles. If successful, there will be a new dedicated Scrum Master chosen from within the team and a new dedicated Product Owner with experience in the Scrum process. That’s a pretty big win.

If the Product Owner is playing the role of Scrum Master, the solution is to find a new Scrum Master who can focus on the role. This not only frees the Product Owner from managing the Scrum process, but also helps create a healthy tension between the Scrum Master and Product Owner. Ideally, the Scrum Master and Product Owner function as opposing forces. While the Product Owner represents the customer’s interests, the Scrum Master represents the team’s interests. When one person tries to fill both roles, this healthy tension is lost and the fulcrum inevitably leans too far in one direction.

This is common when a product owner tries to play both roles, but the fulcrum can tilt toward a larger feature set and rush to market, thereby reducing the team’s investment in quality. Not only can it be costly, but it can also be damaging to your overall well-being. By allowing the Product Owner to fully focus on product ownership, while allowing a completely different individual to focus on the Scrum process, it helps restore balance and better deliver the end result.


There are exceptions to every rule, and it is possible for one person to fill both roles successfully. Please note that this is not standard and should not be a long-term solution. To give your organization the best chance of success when using Scrum, have two different individuals fill these roles. If you’re struggling to find people with the right fit, you’re more passionate about growing into each role than one individual who’s talented and struggling to balance both. It would be better to have his two personnel who have .

I want to know more about agile Really does it work? Check out Jeremy’s courses. Agile in the real worldfor specific strategies to make the best agile methodologies work for your team.

Make money with Oziconnect referral program
Make money with Oziconnect referral program
Make money with Oziconnect referral program
Make money with Oziconnect referral program

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