CHOW 260: PO overpowering SM

Murugan joined an organization as a Scrum master. One of the teams that he was asked to coach has been in running mode at a fast pace for 2 months already. The team has been doing basic agile practices such as having a time-boxed work commitment, daily standup, and demo to the Product owner and business. However, there have been some issues with respect to requirements and backlog quality, which might impact the tight timelines of that team has. The project is a very important project, and the first release is scheduled in just 2 months of him starting. He started participating in meetings and understanding the domain/project etc. Within few days, PO escalated that Scrum master is not good and he is not able to fully align with the team, communication skills not good, etc. Murugan had a meeting with the Project manager to understand the issues so that he can improve. Again, after few days, PO escalated that I want the SM to be changed as he thinks that he is not the right fit? Murugan is at loss on how to handle these as he is new to an organization and new to the team. What do you think that as a recommended action to help Murugan?


PO and SM relationship is quite important. Even if there are small conflicts, the Scrum Master and Product Owner must work together to resolve them before they escalate into a full-blown misunderstanding. A supportive relationship with plenty of giving and take is necessary for the health of the team as a whole. As a first step, he should connect with PO to understand the issues as sometimes it could be just misunderstanding or miscommunication. After that, if the issues are something that he can work on, he can come up with a plan of action with concrete timelines. If some of them need organizational intervention, he can reach out to his management and project management of the team to see if he can get help to resolve those issues. Align the Plan of action with the timelines with PO so that they can start working together.

What do you think?

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