Saving some resources in Scrum

Updated: Sep 5


Agile training

Often companies don't have the resources or the budget to hire a person for every role in their project organisation.

In these cases the ideal solution would be to combine multiple roles and have 1 person be responsible for these roles. In theory this sounds like a great idea, but is that really the case. In this post we will be talking about combining 2 of the most common roles in an Agile Scrum Project organisation : developer, scrum master and product owner.


  • Developer and scrum master

Even though there does not appear to be a big issue in combining these roles, it is far from ideal because of the focus that both of these roles have.

The developer should mainly be focussed on developing and delivering all the tasks that were planned for a sprint. A scrum master is there to make sure there are no impediments and facilitating the team to accomplish their sprint goal. This means the scrum master needs to have a bigger picture, while a developer needs to be getting into the details. Not many people out there can do the two at the same time in a different role. And in this case we're not even talking about the difference in roles between a scrum master and a developer during sprint plannings and retrospectives.

  • Scrum master and a product owner

Well this is just plain wrong. The product owner's job is to be on the business side and to get as much accomplished as possible in the least amount of time. The scrum master's job is to protect the team and keep focus. Combining these two roles will always end up with at least one unhappy party, the business or the team. There is never a winner.

  • Developer and product owner

Well this is like the previous combination (for more or less the same reasons) a poor combination. The product owner should be working with the business on the vision and the backlog of the project. If he plays this role well, there won't be any more time to develop, because he needs to keep up with an entire development team. The team usually burns quicker through a backlog than the time it takes for a product owner to add to it.


Conclusion :

Even though Scrum allows you to adapt to your organisation, as you probably know, it isn't really a great idea to combine roles.

Nevertheless if you really need to combine roles, the better option would be to combine developer and scrum master. It has the least amount of impact, but then you need to change the way you do a planning meeting or a retrospective meeting. In the end the developer is a part of the development team as well.

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