Zoom out and see the big picture of Scrum roles

Zooming out and seeing the big picture is a form of systems thinking, and we see how it helps to understand Scrum roles.

Distributed project management

"Distributed project management" is a very powerful exercise regarding Scrum roles. We start to write down all project management tasks in post-it notes, then, group them based on which Scrum role does it. The below is the typical outcome.

Blog - zoom for Scrum roles - 1.jpg

It shows that project management is distributed among Scrum roles, without the role of project manager. The key points for each role in relation to project management are as following.

  • Product Owner: manage the release, in terms of items, sprints, and teams
  • Team: manage the sprint, in terms of items/tasks, days and team members
  • ScrumMaster: develop the team so that members would work together to deliver the product
  • Others (undefined in Scrum): form the project team, which is done very differently after shifting from project mode to product mode with Scrum

Often, people would draw another couple of conclusions:

  1. ScrumMaster does not have much work to do
  2. Product Owner is the project manager

This is a common manifestation of fast thinking. We started from project management tasks in this exercise. If you reasoned well with slow thinking, you would notice that this only touched the project management work.

The more solid conclusion would respectively be:

  1. ScrumMaster does not have much project management work
  2. Product Owner does some project management work

And we still need to see the bigger picture, beyond the project management work.

Systems thinking

One important aspect of systems thinking is seeing the big picture. The wonderful children book "Zoom" illustrates the approach of zooming out and seeing the ever bigger pictures, with one sample shown in the below.

Blog - zoom for Scrum roles - 2.jpg

Similarly, we zoom out and see the bigger picture of Scrum roles.

Blog - zoom for Scrum roles - 3.jpg

Now, we go beyond the project management work, and the bigger picture shows the below.

  • Product Owner: the main job for PO is product discovery, i.e. find the valuable work, see 80% product discovery and 20% project management
  • Team: the main job for team is product delivery, with self-management, i.e. manage its progress and process
  • ScrumMaster: focus on coaching for self-organization and continuous improvement, rather than short-term delivery.


Click "Zoom out":)

Blog - zoom for Scrum roles - 4.jpg 

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lv Yi published on June 22, 2018 4:19 PM.

My view of LeSS was the previous entry in this blog.

Seeing system dynamics in organizational change: 1) from change resistance to limits to growth is the next entry in this blog.

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