Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

Practical advice for making agile work in the real world

The Agile Mentors podcast is for agilists of all levels. Whether you’re new to agile and Scrum or have years of experience, listen in to find answers to your questions and new ways to succeed with agile.

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#50: Choosing Your Path: Exploring the Roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner with Lance Dacy

May 31, 2023     35 minutes

Join Brian and his guest Lance Dacy as they explore the key differences, skill sets required, and the exciting opportunities in the roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner.


In this episode of the "Agile Mentors" podcast, Brian sits down with Lance Dacy to explore the dynamic roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner. They delve into the fundamental differences between these roles, highlighting the unique skill sets required for each.

Lance shares his valuable insights and personal experiences, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities that arise in these pivotal positions.

Whether you're considering a career in Agile or seeking to enhance your understanding of Scrum, listen in to this episode for practical advice and guidance for aspiring Scrum Masters and Product Owners and a deeper understanding of the crucial roles they play in driving successful projects and maximizing team productivity.

Listen Now to Discover:

[01:17] - Brian Milner has Lance Dacy on the show today to talk about a question emailed to the listener email address about the two different approaches to Scrum and which class would be a good fit for you, a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) or a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO).
[02:28] - Lance shares how he looks at the two different designations and what he looks at as the centerpiece of the process of Scrum.
[03:24] - Things to consider when deciding whether the CSM or the CSPO is right for you.
[04:34] - Where to start your Scrum journey as a beginner and when taking both the CSM and the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) classes might be beneficial.
[05:28] - You don't have to be a Scrum Master to benefit from the CSM class.
[05:54] - The dual focus of the Product Owner roles and the diminishment of Scrum roles.
[06:45] - The challenge of combining these roles effectively.
[07:54] - The goal is to be agile rather than just doing Scrum-Lance shares the importance of delivering value efficiently and early. Relegating the Scrum Master to facilitation and metrics tasks yields minimal ROI.
[08:28] - Do you ever see the coach playing the game?
[09:10] - Scrum is a tool - you have to know the tools, how to apply them, and, more importantly, how to use them for the appropriate case.
[10:16] - The distinction between programmers (those who code) and developers (anyone working to produce the product) and a look back at the developer role in Scrum.
[11:34] - What confuses most people about the different classes and roles.
[12:28] - The importance (and top challenges teams face) of capacity planning, Sprint planning, and daily work management in Scrum teams. Lance shares why addressing these aspects is valuable for software and product teams, including marketing and infrastructure teams.
[13:44] - The value of certifications as a standard and an advantage in certain situations, but it's like learning to drive - experience is crucial.
[15:42] - The importance of learning the values, principles, and tools associated with Agile methodologies to engage in experimentation and gain practical experience, whether a CSM, CSPO, or CSV.
[16:25] - How active involvement in user groups and communities (such as the DFW Scrum user group) provides valuable insights and career benefits, fostering collective knowledge sharing and continuous learning in Scrum (and beyond).
[17:23] - Mountain Goat Software, the sponsor for this podcast, offers certified LIVE online Scrum classes, including Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Advanced Certified Scrum Master (ACSM) and Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (ACSPO) classes. Book more than three weeks in advance for an early bird discount of $100.
[18:38] - Lance shares the three characteristics of a great product owner.
[19:28] - Advice for what you should do if you’re starting from scratch and aiming to become a product owner to gain exposure and valuable experience in the field.
[21:28] - The likelihood of moving from Scrum Master to product owner rather than vice versa.
[22:47] - The four requirements of becoming a Scrum Master requires strong facilitation, teaching, mentoring, and coaching skills, and the demands of being a product owner that makes it a higher barrier for entry.
[23:52] - The focus of a Scrum Master vs. a product owner.
[24:48] - It's like being the Zamboni for a hockey team—as a Scrum Master, you have the opportunity to work in diverse industries, ranging from space science and astrophysics to finance and software development, without being an expert in those domains.
[26:34] - A safer environment for experimentation and growth without the high stakes of individual accountability.
[26:58] - Brian shares the primary determining factor in deciding between product owner or Scrum master.
[27:51] - In the movie-making industry, like in software teams, there are distinct roles and responsibilities. You can choose to define the problem, manage the process, or contribute to building the product—pick your door and start running (and if you don't like it, you can always switch).
[29:06] Real knowledge comes from doing, BUT a class can get you started on the right foot to understanding how to do things and getting your hands dirty to cement further what you want to do.
[30:26] - Lance shares how obtaining a CSM or CSPO certification is like earning a black belt in karate—it's a pathway that empowers you to explore.
[33:24] - Still on the fence? Send us a note, and we'll gladly help you find your path.
[33:40] - Check out the Mountain Goat's training schedule to attend a class with Lance or Brian.
[34:01] - Exciting news! We have introduced an Agile Professional Directory to our Agile Mentors community. As a member, you can now sign up and claim your certifications, allowing you to showcase your expertise when interacting with others on the site.
[34:35] - Don’t forget, Mountain Goat Software offers a range of classes, including Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Advanced Certified Scrum Master (ACSM), and Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (ACSPO). We love having podcast listeners join our classes to explore further the topics discussed on the show (click here to subscribe).

References and resources mentioned in the show:

Certified Scrum Master Training and Scrum Certification
Certified Scrum Product Owner Training
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster®
Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner®
#4: The Developer Role in Scrum with Sherman Gomberg
DFW Scrum (Dallas, TX) | Meetup
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
Join the Agile Mentors Community
Subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts

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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He's passionate about making a difference in people's day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.

Lance Dacy is a Certified Scrum Trainer®, Certified Scrum Professional®, Certified ScrumMaster®, and Certified Scrum Product Owner®. Lance brings a great personality and servant's heart to his workshops. He loves seeing people walk away with tangible and practical things they can do with their teams straight away.