Learn how the opposing roles of the product owner and scrum master can help move your scrum team into high gear.
- Given the focus of the product owner on the product, and scrum master on the team, it makes sense that they could naturally fall into opposition or conflict. The product owner has been given this team to deliver their product vision. In agile, and scrum, we've told the POs that they can have this team for a specific period of time; those are their constraints. They can't take longer or spend more. Naturally, the PO is going to want all the features in their product that they can possibly get.
I sure would. On the flip side, the scrum master is saying that we need to stay within the guardrails of scrum. We need each and every ceremony, and we need to do them well. We also need the team to work at a sustainable pace. Sustainable pace means the team is working a normal work week, not weekends and overtime, but a normal work week. The scrum master is also saying that the team needs to focus on improving their performance as a team. Not improving the product, improving the team.
With all this focus on the team, the product owner might start to get a little anxious about how the team is going to deliver the product. The PO might even disagree with the scrum master about the focus on process, and team health, over the product. The scrum master will, of course, voice the importance of staying within the scrum guardrails. The scrum master will also argue that higher quality comes from a healthy team. This could go on and on. The bottom line is that this is healthy opposition.
This is a good thing. When you have two opposing forces pulling in opposite directions like this, the team can find a sense of balance. This is like the third law of motion: for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. For example, when you lean against a wall, the wall exerts an equal force against you, so you don't crash through the wall. This is balance. Think of the scrum master and PO as being the two opposing forces that keep the team in balance.
This opposition should always be respectful and professional, but it should exist. The team, then, strives to attain the goals for the product, while maintaining team health. This is why a scrum produces such high quality products, while maintaining team well-being. Add a little opposition between your PO and scrum master, and watch the team blossom.
- Adding finesse to your scrum
- The product owner and scrum master roles
- The relationship between the product owner and scrum master
- Product owner as business representative
- Product owner as a team's business guide
- Scrum master as team advocate
- The forming and storming stages of team development
- Taking a team from norming to performing
- Scrum master as team guardian