Rethinking Scrum and XP

September 9, 2009 Mike Cottmeyer

Lately we’ve been exploring the idea of moving past the specific practices of Scrum and XP and focusing more on what we are doing rather than how we are doing it.  Rather than focusing on having ScrumMasters and Product Owners, we need to start thinking about the value these roles are delivering and how we can deliver that value at scale.  Meta-Scrums and Chief Product Owners might be part of the solution… but our organization might require more.

To that end… if we are going to create situationally specific strategies at scale… we can start by talking about the core capabilities these roles have to deliver at the team level:

Product Owner

  • Set Product Vision
  • Define Product Roadmap
  • Define Requirements
  • Sequence Work
  • Communicate Requirements to Development
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • Manage Stakeholders
  • Set release date


  • Ensure Process Adherence
  • Remove Impediments
  • Ensure Internal Communication
  • Ensure External Communication
  • Maintain a Productive work environment
  • Team Building

Development Team

  • Assign work to team
  • Make commitments
  • Throttle work
  • Design the solution
  • Write software
  • Maintain code quality
  • Take corrective action
  • Deliver features
  • Deploy the Solution


  • Continuous Improvement
  • Define working agreements
  • Resolve Conflict
  • Manage Risk
  • Set delivery heartbeat

Over the next few weeks we’ll explore how these core team capabilities get expressed at each of our five levels of agile adoption.  For now I’d like know if you guys think we’ve got this list right.  Is there anything we need to add?  Anything that needs to be removed?  Your feedback is really appreciated.

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