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Scrum: Who are defined as external stakeholders vs. people intricately involved with the team

In the previous post (External Stakeholders influence in Scrum), we talked about how the external stakeholders can have a huge amount of influence on the Scrum team, including deciding the priority of features, as well as doing a lot of talking in the Daily Scrum meetings, and many other examples. These cause a problem to the morale of the team, and seem to be going against the Scrum concepts and principles that they would have read about. Once I wrote this post, I came across some questions from people about how you can separate the Scrum team into chickens and pigs, clear in some cases, but maybe not so clear in some other cases. So I thought about writing a post on defining who are the chickens, the external stakeholders.
At its very simplest definition, an external stakeholder (also know in Scrum parlance as a ‘chicken’) is somebody who is not part of the development team (is not the Product Owner, or a developer, or a tester, or a person from the UI design team working on the Scrum team). They are still linked to the overall project / product development in the following ways.
– They could be the senior management for the team, paying for resources, and responsible overall for the development and future of the product
– They could be another team that is dependent on the Scrum team (such as when dependencies are involved)
– Could be somebody from the client (such as when the Scrum process is being used for a project geared towards a specific client)
– Also, it is also used to depict somebody who does not have to suffer the long hours (and sometimes missed weekends) that members of the Scrum team have to suffer.
So, nowhere do we say that the external stakeholders do not have any dependency on the Scrum process. For example, when you take the case of Senior Management, or middle level management, they have the responsibility to ensure that the Scrum team is building a strong set of features (in the case of products, the features need to be one that can help build and increase the market for the product) in the desired timeframe, and without over-run of costs. It will not be the Scrum that will be asked for answers if the team fails in any of these parameters, but the middle and senior management who are overall responsible. The process being used to develop the product cannot be set as a factor for any failures, since it is assumed that the senior management would have signed off any process after due thought and approval.
Similarly, if you consider a group that is developing a standard technology that is to be used by other teams, the members of the other teams are external stakeholders, depending on the Scrum team for ensuring that the required feature set is provided along with the required level of quality. If the team does not deliver, it can impact the schedules and features of the other teams, and their managers and leaders can be considered as external stakeholders as well.

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