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International Product Owner Foundation

Steen Lerche-Jensen


Identifying People Requirements is one of the initial steps in selecting the Scrum Master and the Stakeholder(s). It is important to document the roles and responsibilities of all those who would be involved in completing the Tasks in the project. This includes all individuals involved in the project in any capacity, regardless of whether their role is core or non-core.

3.1 The four main actors in Scrum

In Scrum there are four main actors

  • The Stakeholders
  • The Product Owner
  • The Scrum Master
  • The Team (see Chapter 4).

Usually, the Product Owner or the Scrum Master work with the Human Resource Department of the company to determine and finalize the People Requirements for a project.

Prior to selecting the Scrum Master and Stakeholder(s), their availability must be confirmed. Only Team members who will be available and can fully commit to the project should be selected. People Availability and Commitment are commonly depicted in the form of calendars showing when human resources will be available to work throughout the duration of the project.

To be effective, Scrum Teams should ideally have six to ten members; and replacing persons or changing Team members is not advisable in Scrum Core Teams. Therefore, it is important to have persons in the Scrum Core Team who are available and fully committed to the project.

3.1.1 Stakeholder(s)

Program Stakeholder(s) is a collective term that includes Customers, users, and sponsors for a program. They influence all the projects in the program throughout the project’s development. Program Stakeholder(s) can also help define the project vision and provide guidance regarding business value.

Program Stakeholder(s) interface with Portfolio Stakeholder(s) to ensure alignment of the program with the goals and objectives of the portfolio. They are also involved with appointing Stakeholder(s) for individual projects and ensuring that the vision, objectives, outcomes, and releases of individual projects in the program align with that of the program.

3.1.2 Choosing the right Product Owner

Finding the right person to fill the Product Owner role is challenging. How do we as a company choose the right person to be Product Owner?

In general, there are two ways to organize Scrum Teams:

  • Feature Teams
  • Component Teams Feature Teams

A Feature Team implements a cohesive set of requirements, such as one or more themes of features. The result is an executable vertical slice that cuts across major parts of the software architecture. Feature Teams are organized around the Product Backlog. Component Teams

A Component Team creates a component or subsystem. Component Teams are organized around the software architecture.

Both Team setups have advantages and disadvantages. Component Teams ensure architectural integrity and reuse. Unfortunately, they often cannot utilize Product Backlog items expressed as User Stories or use cases but require detailed technical requirements. Feature Teams, on the other hand, can normally work in parallel. They encounter fewer integration issues and can utilize the requirements stated in the Product Backlog. Ensuring architectural integrity and reuse can be a challenge. As a rule of thumb, companies should employ Feature Teams whenever possible and use Component Teams only if absolutely necessary. Common mistakes when choosing Product Owner

Finding the right Product Owner can be difficult, here a list of common mistakes:

  • The underpowered Product Owner
  • The overworked Product Owner
  • The partial Product Owner
  • The distant Product Owner
  • The proxy Product Owner
  • The Product Owner Committee Product Owner

In the advanced course we will go into detail regarding these mistakes.

3.1.3 Scrum Master(s)

The Program Scrum Master is a facilitator who ensures that all Project Teams in the program are provided with an environment conducive to completing their projects successfully.

The Program Scrum Master guides, facilitates, and teaches Scrum practices to everyone involved in the program.

  • Provides guidance to Scrum Masters of individual projects
  • Clears away impediments for the different Project Teams
  • Coordinates with the Scrum Guidance Body to define objectives related to quality, government regulations, security, and other key organizational parameters
  • Ensures that Scrum processes are being effectively followed throughout the program.

The Program Scrum Master interfaces with the Portfolio Scrum Master to ensure alignment of the program with the goals and objectives of the portfolio. He or she is also involved with appointing Scrum Masters for individual projects and ensuring that the vision, objectives, outcomes, and releases of individual projects in the program align with those of the program.

Large projects require multiple Scrum Teams to work in parallel. Information gathered from one Team may need to be appropriately communicated to other Teams—the Chief Scrum Master is responsible for this activity.

Coordination across various Scrum Teams working on a project is typically done through the Scrum of Scrums (SoS) Meeting. This is analogous to the Daily Standup Meeting and is facilitated by the Chief Scrum Master. The Chief Scrum Master is typically responsible for addressing impediments that affect more than one Scrum Team.

To learn about the Scrum Team, turn to Chapter 4.

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