Scrum Resource Center

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Teams Can a Scrum Master Be On?

This isn’t a ‘How many can…’ question. It’s a ‘How many should…’ question.
I mis-quote him all the time, but I remember that Michael James (MJ) said it very well once, a long time ago “A good Scrum Master can be on 2, maybe 3 teams. A great Scrum Master can be on 1 team.”

Can the Scrum Master also be the Product Owner

Yes & No. 

The 2017 Scrum Guide specifically stated that the Scrum Master and Product Owner must be two different people.  The Scrum Master and Product Owner accountabilities definitely take a large amount of time to fulfill, so taking on both is not only extremely stressful, time consuming, and nearly impossible to do both roles justice, they are also often at odds with each other. 

The 2020 version of the Scrum Guide removed the language that prohibits the Scrum Master and Product Owner from being the same person, but that doesn’t change the nature of the 2 separate accountabilities.

How Many Teams Can a Product Owner Be On?

Product Ownership extends and envelops the Product.  So, the answer here is very different to the similarly asked Scrum Master question.  A Product Owner owns the whole Product.  That means they are the Product Owner of all teams developing that specific Product.  If you find that this means the Product Owner is on 25 different teams, you probably have a different problem – around really knowing what your Product is.

Why Do You Say the Scrum Master Shouldn't Keep Team Metrics?

Tracking team-level metrics is a managerial duty.  Scrum Teams are self-organizing, and should specifically make a determination on whether they want the Scrum Master to take on these kinds of duties.  There aren’t a lot of wrong decisions in a self-organizing team, but having the Scrum Master do this is probably one of them.  When the Scrum Master becomes akin to a manager, self-organization dwindles and team morale drops significantly (compared to truly self-organized teams).  Team-level metrics should be tracked by the team, for the team.

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