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?

Scrum Breakfast/September Introduction to Lean and Agile

Usually I moderate the monthly Scrum Breakfast and leaving the speaking to rotating volunteers. As the Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zurich takes place next week, I thought an introduction to the basic topics and current trends in project (and company!) management would be an optimal warm-up to the conference. So I am going to take the floor with an

Introduction to Lean and Agile

As a Project Manager, Software Engineer, Line Manager, Business Analyst, Developer, Tester you have probably heard a lot about Lean and Agile. Perhaps you are using some of the major practices, like Scrum, Kanban or Extreme Programming (XP). Why all the hype? Is this just hype, or is a more profound change happening which is driving companies to a leaner, more agile approach to creating value and developing software?

This talk will give your an overview of the current trends in Management and Engineering Practices, in particular as they relate to software product development.
  • What are Lean and Agile?
  • What are the primary practices of each?
  • What are the challenges and failure modes of each?
After attending this talk, you should understand how Lean and Scrum relate to each other, how are they different and what you should watch out for when implementing them in your company.

Registration, Coffee & Gipfeli
Talk & Discussion 
Networking, Coffee & Informal Discussion
Free Coaching! Bring a problem or help with the solution! 3x 20 Minute Sessions in the coaching room.

Time, Location, Registration:
  • Date: Wednesday, 1 September 2010
  • Location: SwissICT, Vulkanstrasse 120, 8048 Zurich (above the Jeep-Dealership).
  • Registration through the SwissICT
  • The LAS core team will meet from 11.00 to 12.30. Interested people are more than welcome!
P.S. If you are not yet a member, please support the SwissICT and become a member! They provide the venue, coffee and gipfeli without charge so this can stay a free event.