Sunday, August 29, 2010

Responsibilities in Scrum, or Why Scrum Developers Should Get Paid More!

Scrum Responsibility Matrix
During last week's CSM/Jumpstart in Bern, Andreas Schliep and I were asked for a "RACI" -- a responsibility matrix for Scrum. We turned the question around and asked our participants to come up with one. Using dot-voting, they identified who is responsible for the following:
  • Selecting Team Members and Tools
  • Planning Tasks; Ensuring good implementations
  • Defining and Imposing Standards
  • Budget, Scope, Priorities, Coordinating Work
  • Commit to Delivery Dates (release)
  • Assign Tasks; Customer Communication
  • Remove Impediments; Reporting
  • Change Management; Risk Management; Compliance
  • Return on Investment; Improving Performance 
A couple of interesting things were visible from the poll (excel Scrum Responsibility Matrix). First, is a project manager still needed in a Scrum project? No! In a classical approach, the project manager is responsible for (almost) everything, but in Scrum, all of the responsibilities of a project leader are covered. The management facing roles are generally covered by the Product Owner, the getting-things-done roles by the Development Team. What would a separate Project Leader do?

Project Leader vs.
Scrum Leadership Roles
Second, a closer comparison between the Project Manager role and the Scrum leadership roles highlight some important gaps in the classical approach. Who is responsible for ROI? Who is responsible for systematically improving performance? Unfortunately, I didn't ask the latter question, but no one thought the Project Manager was responsible for ROI! Some thought the Product Manager was responsible for ROI, but there were many abstentions.  In Scrum, these duties are clearly delegated.

Several people in the course asked, "Where are we going to find Product Owners in our organizations who can fill the bill?" When I look at the duties of each, it seems the all-singing, all-dancing super-man is the project manager role. The P-O is only responsible for 8 instead of 12 disciplines and gets much more help on the rest. Perhaps people are wary of taking on (or delegating) responsibility for ROI? So, yes, it will be a challenge to find good P-O's, just like it is difficult to find good PL's.

Increased Responsibilities
for Scrum Developers
Third, the role of the developer (and tester, because testing is part of the development process) has been upgraded substantially. In a classical approach, the developer is not really responsible for anything (except when the project is late or buggy, then it is their fault!).

Under Scrum, the development team assumes several responsibilities which used to belong to the project leader: full responsibility for selecting tools, planing tasks, ensuring good implementations, defining and imposing standards, coordinating work, delivering committed scope every sprint, and estimates, and shared responsibility for selecting new team members, communications with the customer, change and risk management, compliance and improving performance.

One of the premises of employee compensation is "equal pay for equal work." Equal work is defined among other things by the educational and experience prerequisites, the job responsibilities, and the extent to which is the work must be supervised, is self supervising and/or supervises others. Clearly Scrum-Team members are substantially more self-supervising, have higher responsibilities and probably need more training and experience to apply modern engineering practices like Test Driven Development or Continuous Integration successfully.

So what do you think? Should a Scrum developer get paid more than a developer in a classically managed project? Do you see signs that this is happening?


manuel aldana said...

You should get paid for the outcome and success of results (of course success has to be somewhat defined...). In my experience (real)-agile teams performed often better. Therefore they should also get rewarded better (it doesn't need always to be the money though). I wouldn't limit this to scrum.

AMIT MALIK said...

Hello Peter,

Thank you for posting such a great article. RACI/Roles & Responsibilities in scrum is very important and critical where scrum master and project manager both exist. They have many task those have overlap in terms of responsibilities and accountability. I am preparing a detailed list of RACI Matrix for the roles like Development Manager, Scrum Master, Product Owner, QA Manager, Program Manager and Team.

This article really helped me. Thanks once again.

Peter said...

Hi Amit,

Why do you feel a need for a Project Leader if you have a Scrum Team? Given that you have this role, how do you divide their duties?