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Scrum – Role of external stakeholders (Chickens) in the team and their reponsibilities

In the previous post (Role of external stakeholders), we talked about who external stakeholders are, and what their interests are. In this post, we will talk more about their interests in the overall Product Development, and why they feel the need to get involved in many details of product management. Stakeholders can be spread across many different functions, and with the impact being small or significant, and we will try and explain this in some more detail; the idea being that if you are a Scrum practitioner, you will understand their motives, even if they do interfere in the process.
So, you have external stakeholders getting involved when a Daily Scrum is happening, which leads to the thinking that such external influence is bad on the morale of the team, and against the Scrum process. So, let us try and understand the stake that Chickens have, and how the Scrum team workings can affect them.
First, the most important concept is that Chickens are also significantly impacted by the workings of the Scrum team. For people who are junior in the Scrum team, or who are relatively new to the concept of organizations, this may not be so clear; but the fact is that senior management and other stakeholders bring a lot of value to the whole product development effort in terms of direction, defining the types of features, delivering the resources required for the project, customer inputs and interactions, and taking an overall responsibility for the feature. They impart the necessary checks and balances that ensures that the project goes through the various rounds of evaluation (in the start, and through the product development cycle) to ensure that the project is delivering what it was tasked to do.
And there can be a set of circumstances in which the Chickens could feel that they need to step in, such as:
– Features are not being delivered at the desired frequency, the Velocity of the team is low, or the quality level of features delivered so far is low enough that there is concern about overall quality
– When the Scrum process implementation is new, and the Chickens are not really comfortable with the level of empowerment of the team and the consequent perceived loss of control (even though the Chickens would have been exposed to the required level of presentations on the Scrum process)
– When other external stakeholders feel that their priorities are not getting adequate attention by the feature team (which is also a fault of the Product Owner, since the Product Owner is supposed to set the proper priorities of the features taking into account all the diverse needs)
– When things are complex, and the project is fairly critical; in such cases, Stakeholders can take a significantly increased stake in the project, to the extent that their involvement starts breaking the processes that need to be followed.

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