Yep. Ultimately it boils down to a responsibility conflict: the scrum master is supposed to take a meta perspective. Observe how the people work together, what tools and processes they do, how they fall into the trap of wrong assumptions, and find ways to help the team work better. As the Product Owner, on the other hand, you are interested in what the customers’ need. You are very much involved in the work itself. Switching between a meta perspective and a non-meta-perspective all the time is a hard thing to do. It doesn’t give you the chance to focus and do one of the two responsibilities right.

There is also the risk of a double binding situation: you end up telling the team what they need to work on for the customer and at the same time help them understand what they need as a team. Sometimes this can be in conflict, at least in the short run. Let‘s say, your customers demand a lot and deadlines are pressuring, but your team is struggling with something internally, diminishing their effectiveness. Wouldn‘t you, as the scrum master, want them to focus on that to sort it out? But as the PO you are still responsible for the value, so …

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