,,The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.ʻʻ Jim Rohn
Hey, we believe that you’ve found interesting and quite crucial facts about challenges in the life of Scrum Master and Product Owner. Especially in this text. Don’t forget – they need each other, not excluding their mutual knowledge, expertise, and experience. They are like Yin and Yang, complementary forces that interact as one and make fantastic results.
But, let’s focus on these important things…
…and they’re calling skills & responsibilities. That’s right. Both, Scrum Master and Product Owner have certain skills and responsibilities. To understand these segments, we’ll show you them through drawings (you said you liked them). 😊
Skills and responsibilities are closely related…
What’s wrong? Can you notice? Scrum Master is completely in charge of removing impediments – in order to solve them, not exclude or ignore them. The impediment is each (or almost each) thing/segment that slows the team or progress and for resolving impediments the team needs someone. Someone is their guardian – Scrum Master. Like on this drawing, impediment can’t be solved by itself. SM has to identify the type of the impediments. There’re all kinds of impediments. We have team issues (for example, a lack of skills, education or communication problems in the team). In that case, SM needs to talk with team members in order to understand and resolve them. There are project management issues (for example, lack of PO skills, lack of information, PO can’t make some decision…) where SM has to step in and get help for PO that he/she needs. If there’s a misunderstanding between the team and Product Owner, then Scrum Master needs to talk with both sides to find the best solution and resolve that kind of collaboration issue. Also, basic issues like – office conditions, technical problems, personal issues of each team member…those are all issues that SM has to deal with. We also mustn’t forget things outside the company, like hurricane, rain or COVID-19. Those are the obstacles that Scrum Master can’t solve, but can help and try to reduce their impacts.
There are soooo many impediments and the main point is that nothing can’t be resolved by itself and that SM role in removing any kind of impediments is crucial.
Who is a leader?
What’s wrong in this picture? Both, Scrum Master and Product Owner are leaders! But, how’s that? Scrum Master is an excellent Servant Leader. On the other side, the Product Owner is a Product leader.
By empowering the team to perform and provide unbreakable collaboration, SM is focused on needs of each member to contribute on a common goal. SM is leading the team through healthy conflict and debate, without arguing. He/she isn’t telling the team what to do, instead he/she is coaching them, he/she is leading the team through the world of agile, encourages, supports and enables the team to reach its full potential. For example, in Daily meetings, SM encourages the team members to take responsibility for their tasks as well as to exchange all important information. This is a great sample of desirable cooperation between team members.
Product Owner leads the product and he/she is responsible for its overall success. Don’t forget, the Product Owner is the bloodline of a product and the epicenter of product leadership. He/she owns an authority responsible for deciding the kind of features and functionality to build and the order in which to build them.
Can you see it? Product Owner and Scrum Master are special leader stars, each in their domain.
But, who is the guardian of the vision and value of the product?
Product Owner, for sure. Can you guess what’s wrong with this picture? Product Owner as a product leader can’t and mustn’t agree on everything what Client says, without trying to understand the reason(s) behind the change. All requests must be aligned with product’s vision and value. That’s why we say that PO is a guardian of the product vision and responsible for the product.. If Client has urgent changes, PO first must understand these changes and inspect why these changes are necessary right now.
When PO knows every aspect of the product, then he/she must now how to convert vision into product backlog or group of User Stories (a set of all the functionalities that the final product should have). In addition to creating stories, PM also prioritizes them. That gives everyone the insight about urgent and mandatory tasks. If there are some unexpected changes that are necessary, then the PO must collaborate with the SM and the team and work together on decision what to put out from the current sprint and make “room” for these new things.
* There’s the distinction between PO as a client and PO in outsourcing, but we’ll write in details about this topic in the following articles.
What previous facts mean?
When PO knows every aspect of the product, then he/she must now how to convert vision into product backlog or group of User Stories (a set of all the functionalities that the final product should have). In addition to creating stories, PM also prioritizes them. That gives everyone the insight about urgent and mandatory tasks.
Do you want anything to add? Share with us your experiences.
Read more: Scrum Master & Product Owner: Friends or foes? (Part 4)