re: How can developers and product managers work better together? VIEW POST


What has worked well?

I'm a software engineer. We use a Scrum-like process, except we don't have Scrum Masters and the PMs take on parts of the role of Product Owner.

The PMs prioritization of the work has worked really well.

What could have been improved?

Our code base has had some neglected necessary maintenance. Which means we have a lot of technical debt. Which means feature development takes a lot longer. Yet we never have time to take care of the technical debt. The PMs equate technical debt with bugs, but those are separate from one another. Bugs are user-facing; technical debt is developer-facing.

Also, I think it would be interesting to try to do by the book Scrum. Just for a year. To see what it is like. But I don't think that will happen where I work.

Last but not least, we use Jira. I am not a fan of Jira. It's slow, cumbersome, awkward, and models the workflow poorly. But I do not know of any tool that is better than Jira.


Also, I think it would be interesting to try to do by the book Scrum. Just for a year. To see what it is like. But I don't think that will happen where I work.

I've thought the exact same thing, Eljay! We unfortunately have a traditional waterfall process and while we've adopted "Agile-like" and "Scrum-like" elements into our workflow, it's not a replacement for the real thing. The longer I'm in my role the more evident it has become that Scrum might help us become more innovative and get things out quicker. But that's just my assessment. :) Thanks for sharing!


If you do get a chance to do by the book Scrum, there is a short series of blog posts by Kelly Waters called How to Implement Scrum in 10 Easy Steps.

The website lists them in reverse chronological order, and I suspect their internal links are broken when the blog posts were archived.

Nice. I have my Professional Scrum Master certification and have a foundational understanding of the framework. But I am keen on understanding how it looks like when applied (especially in large companies that have always been waterfall).

Just wondering if you're an engineer yourself. I've found that a scrum master with no (software) engineering experience is woefully inefficient in organising work as they can't understand how some stories fit into the dev stream. It often consumes a lot of dev time in assisting the SM to organise this. Any insight into how a scrum master works well would be really appreciated 😁

Truth be told, or part time scrum master doesn't really know scrum, so that didn't help

I’m not an engineer myself but my situation is different; I actually sit on the engineering team, and I know the engineer’s work stream because our team processes were built around it. In practice my role is a blend of product management and technical program management. In fact, what prompted me to ask this question was less about my own experience than it was about understanding how this has worked for other people. I have an excellent working relationship with my developer colleagues; we all complement each other and our skill sets very well.

And based on your description, it sounds like your SM was actually a Project Manager? Scrum emphatically differentiates between an SM and a PM, with those on the development team responsible for organizing their own work. But I know in practice this is not always the case.


Agree wholeheartedly on Jira. It's powerful, but there's a lot you usually don't need. It's so much easier to link Trello, Git[whatever] issues, and a user feedback form that creates cards in Trello, and you can even categorize based on bug/feature request/whatever. IFFFT helps for a lot of integrations too. Or just use Trello internally and nothing else. Or just Git[Hub/Lab] issues/projects.

As for "by the book" anything, I disagree. I often tell people, "Project management methodologies are just sets of tools. Use the ones that make your life easier, and ignore the ones that don't make sense. If you follow any PM methodology like religious dogma, then you've missed the point entirely."

Oh, and there's really no reason to have a standup meeting anymore in 2020. Set up a DailyBot or similar where everyone submits their worked on/working on/blockers by a certain time in the morning, and you get an actionable dashboard of all of them in one place, no 15-minute meeting required.

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