Friday, December 18, 2009

Accountability and Scrum

So this blog post is all about the core question of who is accountable for the team's execution of its sprint commitment.

We all know that "product owners" are the single wringable neck for the backlog. He/She makes the final call regarding the prioritization of the work for the team. The Scrum Master is responsible for making sure the team is following Agile\Scrum best practices especially at daily scrum, sprint review, and sprint retrospective.

This core question of execution responsibility is especially complicated because:
  • Teams are often cross functional (developers, QA, UX, etc.) and each individual has their own functional manager. You can't make the functional managers responsible for the team's performance since there are likely several of them.
  • I struggle with suggesting that the scrum master be responsible for the teams commitment as he/she may not have the authority in the organizational strcuture.
So now that we have discussed the question, let's discuss a possible solution. My suggestion is simple:
  • Make everyone on the team except the Product Owner report into a single manager. That manager is responsible for the performance of all the team members. Since the performance of the individuals of the team are directly tied to the body of work the team commits to and the execution of that work, he/she is responsible for the team's execution.
What are your thoughts...let me know who you think is responsible for the team's execution...