The PO – The Team – The Daily Scrum

I have some different views on this topic, and wanted to share them.

Your comments are of course welcome.

I am NOT asking what is or should be in the Scrum Guide. Or whichever ‘scrum bible’ you use. (In general, I prefer the Scrum Guide.)

I am sharing my thoughts and experiences, together, taught me.  I want to discover what is most effective for ‘pretty good’ Scrum teams.  (Maybe not best for super teams or for beginner teams.)  So, I am trying to have a conversation — maybe about what to add to Scrum — not a religious war.

OK.  My views expressed too quickly:

  1. The PO is very important to success.
  2. Understanding business value and understanding detailed ‘requirements’ is very important to success. Both these ‘activities’ are extremely difficult.  Both for the PO and for the Team.
  3. Knowledge creation as a full team is very important. In multiple domains. All domains impinge on all other domains. (Key example: cost-benefit analysis.)
  4. The full Scrum team delivers the product.  Each person provides his unique skills and ideas and creativity.
  5. The PO is definitely a member of the Team.  Given real life, often 100% of his time is not enough (see also #7 below).
  6. The only team that matters is the full Scrum Team.  It is this team that self-organizes, most importantly. (Yes, every person, pair, team self-orgs….not the most important aspect of self-organization though.)
  7. I do not think it is useful to talk about a team within the team. (I hardly ever say ‘Dev Team’.)  Talking about a team within the team often creates an us-them attitude. Anyway is not useful. At first, a bit confusing.
  8. The PO must spend a lot of time with ‘people outside the team.’  I will call them, customers. managers, business stakeholders, etc, etc.
  9. Still, the PO should attend the Daily Scrum as often as possible (by phone if not in person).  And should answer the 3 questions. His work affects the output of the Team.
  10. A simple example is: On Day 1, a question is asked by the coder. On Day 2, the PO can give the answer (or at least say ‘I’ve got the answer’) in the Daily Scrum.
  11. If the PO does not do the Daily Scrum (ever), I think most team members start to think or feel (sub-consciously): “Who is that guy? He is not part of the real team.”

OK.  This is my experience.  Maybe limited experience.   Maybe just bad thinking.

Imagine that you disagree.

Where we differ, I expect my main reaction or push-back would be: “Well, I can see that happening, and it has happened to me, but I think we should coach them to be better, and often, if we coach them to be better, they actually will be.”  Meaning: If the PO comes to the Daily Scrum (usually), then over time it will make them at least a bit better.

Certainly some of you have done different things and been fairly successful. For example, with the PO not coming to the Daily Scrum.  But could you have been more successful by having him attend?  Or might ‘my’ teams be more successful doing it your way?  This, to me, is the question.

Again, I am not sure I would coach all beginning teams to do it this way.  Due to the impediments that a beginning team may have at the moment. I am sure some super teams might be more successful another way.  My inquiry is: For most ‘good’ (but not super) teams, which is the best way to do these things? (PO, Team, Daily Scrum) Which is the most likely way to success?

Of course, there are many other things in life and in Scrum than just the 3 things I discuss above (PO, Team, Daily Scrum).

BTW, while what I am saying above is not exactly how it is described in the current Scrum Guide, I do not think it is contrary to what the authors would want.  But it may be more than ‘the bare Scrum framework.’  The minimum is all they describe there.



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2 thoughts on “The PO – The Team – The Daily Scrum

  1. Dean

    A potential risk is that with the presence of the PO the daily scrum can revert to a status meeting. Updating the PO rather than collaborating on getting another day closer to the sprint goal.

    1. Joe Little Post author

      Yes, it is a potential risk. But the benefits of having the PO there are greater than the potential risk. If the risk becomes real, then you have to talk to the Team and the PO, and fix that impediment. It might, in the very short term, be useful to ask the PO not to attend, but only for a short period. You don’t solve a problem by avoiding the problem.

      To use your words, the PO is a key part of the collaboration.

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