From time to time, our Scrum team (actually, the managers of the team and the Scrum Master – these being more senior stakeholders of the team) would be asked whether there was a need for the team to have a PM Officer associated with the team. We were nice people :-), and felt that we would not do something like this without talking to the team, since if there was a change to the team processes in any way, the team should be the one to make the decisions (the team accepted that there were many cases where decisions could be made without them, especially if there were any organizational changes involved; but they would feel impacted if there were such changes such as an additional person getting assigned to the team without they being part of the decision making). There was a period of around 2 days in which the team did research on the positives and negatives, talked to other teams which had used or were having a PM officer assigned to the team, and got a huge amount of inputs on this issue. Based on all this discussion, I would not like to immediately state whether the team agreed to having the PM Officer, but instead go through all the inputs that the team got on this issue. If you, the reader, have any inputs on this issue, please provide so in the comments. I would love to hear from you.
Initially, the feedback that we were receiving, even from the PM Organization was all positive, about how the PM Officer was somebody who was very organized, who would provide a lot of inputs to the team without seeming to try to force the team to do something, and so on. In addition, the PM Officer would also do such things such as take notes from the Daily Scrum meetings and the Sprint beginning and ending meetings such as the estimation meeting, the retrospective, and the Demo meeting. Also, there were items related to metrics for the team (however, there will be some problems that I will talk about in future posts) and so on, so all in all, everything seemed to be positive. Once all these were listed, the team had an obvious question when somebody would offer you easy money – What is the catch ? If everything was so positive, why were all other teams not using the services of the PM Office in their Sprints and Daily Scrum meeting; and so all of us, including members of the team, did more conversations and more discussions about what were some of the possible pitfalls with using a PM Officer. Now, it is not that all of these points were valid for the PM Officer that was suggested being assigned to the team, but these were all points that we needed to be aware of (the next person to come to the team could be having some of these qualities and then it would be more difficult for the team to change things so easily).
Well, here goes (and will continue this in more posts):
– The biggest initial issue is about whether the PM Officer would be assigned to multiple teams ? Once you have a person working with multiple teams (and because of budgeting and resourcing problems, this could be very much possible), you have to consider the amount of time that such a person would be able to spend with the team. Doing critical items such as notes, and other similar such items, and the team getting dependent on the person doing these can be problematic if the person is running short of time, and there may not be good metrics for determining whether the time available per person is enough.
Read more about this in the next post (PM Officer being assigned to the team – Part 2) ..