There are situations where you have a Scrum team member who – unfortunately – is your line manager. The cultural behavior here in Indonesia is that people tend to put hierarchical issue above other.
This situation sometime makes a team member cannot tell another team member what to do or cannot remind another team member if he/she is making mistake just because that other team member is higher in the organization hierarchical position.
This will definitely cause a problem in the Scrum Team, as well as in the delivery of the increment.
In this article I want to share my experience about similar situation. Enjoy 🙂
In one of my scrum team, I had my line manager as the Product Owner. He is a very busy man.
Since his knowledge about Scrum is good enough, I didn’t remind him about what he needs to do as a Product Owner. I was paying more attention to the Development Team, since they are quite new to Scrum.
In this case, I admit my mistake, which was not helping the Product Owner to “Understanding and practicing agility” as what scrum guide said.
The issue came few days before we plan to deploy our increment to production. After the deployment, we had to run Production Verification Test (PVT) and the PVT was planned on Saturday, meaning business key stakeholders need to come to do the PVT.
By that time, I assumed that the Product Owner already made a proper communication with the key stakeholders.
Apparently, he forgot! #sigh
The key stakeholders were annoyed since they already had a plan to finish their pending jobs on that Saturday and the plan will be put on hold because of the PVT.
They also complained because our “project” was not communicating the plan earlier and they didn’t get the visibility and transparency on what we were working on.
Our stakeholders were still used to the Waterfall approach, where PM was in charge of this kind of communication and not even realize the existence of Product Owner.
Somehow they were putting their finger at me for this case.
Well, that upset me.
Get It Done
In this situation, you have to know your function in the Scrum Team.
Since I was the Scrum Master, it was one of my responsibility to make sure all things running as per Scrum “rule of the game“.
So I tried to push away all the hesitation of addressing the Product Owner (which is my line manager) about his careless.
First I sent him an email, telling him that he should reach the key stakeholders for Saturday PVT.
After he did as expected, I went to his office and told him that I somehow felt disappointed at him for not doing what a Product Owner suppose to do.
The response was good. He realized his mistake and try to fix that.
I spread this message to the whole team, that no matter what position you are in the “food chain“, once you are part of the Scrum Team, you play by your role.
Say it properly without loosing the politeness aspect.
If you say the right thing with the right way, your message will land on the right target.
Addressing if someone is making mistake doesn’t mean that you’re being not polite. Look at that as you’re being helpful in making someone understand his/her role.
In the end, that’s what team are for. Support each other, work as a team for a greater good.