Product Owner and Scrum Master

Scrum framework separates Product Owner and Scrum Master, would this be necessary?

Separating the roles of Product Owner and Scrum Master is absolutely advisable because they correspond to two very different and important functions within the team. The role of Scrum Master serves to lead and coach the team to ensure that the Scrum methodology is understood and respected and generally facilitate interaction among the team, the Product Owner on the other hand will make every effort to get the most value from the product and team and will manage the Product Backlog to ensure clear communication and optimal prioritisation of backlog items.

Would it be possible for the Product Owner to do the Scrum Master role as well for this project?

It would be extremely difficult (practically impossible) to take on both roles at the same time because the time available will need to be divided between two functions and it is likely that the Scrum Master role will take up a considerable amount of that time. This means that the Product Owner will not have enough time to focus on working with the development team and the client.

What are the issues when the Product Owner also acts as Scrum Master?

As mentioned the role of Scrum Master will probably takeover in terms of the amount of time and focus dedicated to facilitating the meetings and Scrum methodology. The development team will lack the guidance and feedback from the Product Owner and this may also have a negative impact on the relationship with the client. It is also possible that the Product Owner will attempt to overload the team with too much work and not enough interaction, clarity and feedback, cramming in tasks that the development team may not fully understand or be in a position to commit to.

Others issues include the risk of losing focus as the Scrum Master near the end of the Sprint when instead of planning and conducting a proper retrospective the role of Product Owner will take over, and again there will be a shortage of time to dedicate to completing all of the Scrum Master’s duties.

Related: Which Project Management method would be best equipped to handle change in requirements? Why?

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