We have shipped our application. Now we have to do internationalization of the application shipping to 15 countries each country its own branded site.

We have many email templates and landing pages that need to get themed/branded e.g. color for header/buttons/icons, master images and logos etc...

As a developer I do not want to determine the sections of the email templates/landing pages which must be brandable.

So whos job is that? The product owner just said he needs the current application branded!

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    Even if this was your responsibility to figure out, it's never okay for the product owner to give directions as vague as "we need it branded". That's clearly not a user story with acceptance criteria ready to be added to the sprint. – Ixrec Apr 16 '16 at 14:21

The literal answer to your question is "the product owner". The product owner is responsible for delivering valid stories with acceptance criteria to the team.

However, scrum is merely a framework to help teams learn to be self-directed. The rituals and practices are there to guide a team. At the end of the day, the goal is for a team to work together to solve a problem. Given that, it's the role of the team as a whole to decide how to get the work done if the PO isn't giving proper guidance. It is the role of the scrum master to help the team do that.

If the product owner is not helping by providing valid user stories with usable acceptance criteria, the team should take it upon themselves to create these stories. That might mean bringing in an outside source such as a marketing expert or graphic designer.

The scrum master and product owner should be the ones doing this legwork so that you have proper stories to work from, but again, at the end of the day it is the team that is tasked with producing a product. If the product owner and scrum master can't help you, you have the power to help yourself.

  • You advice is most practical and I think in that kind of company it can and will only work like "..at the end of the day it is the team that is tasked with producing a product." And we have to deliver something to satisfy the management... – HelloWorld May 1 '16 at 9:53

It is the job of the product owner and scrum master between them to ensure that the user stories on the backlog are in a state where they can be estimated by the development team. If that isn't happening (and "I need the current application branded" can't be estimated), then you need to be pushing the user stories back.

  • ACK, +1 but let me add that a) the product owner should be supported by a graphic designer or user experience engineer in the first place and b) the team has to support the product owner on techical issues (constraints, requirements, complexity). – try-catch-finally Apr 16 '16 at 19:29
  • Well the PO sometimes discusses about branding concerning fonts, colors etc.. but he leave it very open also to us that we will hopefully do a good job. Well the PO is actually a building architect that his first software product being a PO... Our user stories have no acceptance criteria. They just contain a title sometimes even a technical description... The PO does not know how scrum actually... – HelloWorld Apr 16 '16 at 20:18
  • The user story seems good enough, let's call it A: "The user wants it localized and branded so he can understand the content and feel at home". The trouble seems to be you do not have a clear view of the amount of work involved. So you need to fix that first. Story: "As a developer I want to know what localization and branding means so I can implement user story A". A way to do that could be to take 5 pages, do them, see what you encounter, show them to some people, get feedback. Everybody happy? Then you will have a better idea of the amount of work and you can estimate for all pages. – Martin Maat Apr 16 '16 at 20:39
  • Well actually there is no time to try things out like get feedback and know it was the wrong way. We have fixed dates, they are even already communicated... yeah i know 'what has this to do with scrum' you might say... Would it not be good if the PO would have red underlined all the stuff on the pages he want to have branded/themed? Would that be a OK approach? At least I suggested that now to the PO. – HelloWorld Apr 16 '16 at 20:48
  • It is not necessarily bad that the PO doesn't know exactly what branding or theming means. It is bad though (and meaningless) to promise something will be done if something is not defined yet. Does the client even know what to expect? If so, does anyone of you know what the client expects? You should be talking. And then iterating. If there is "no time", then "no can do". It is your responsibility to reject a story if you lack the resources to give it a shot. Only then the PO will learn what can be done and what it takes, which is the main purpose of scrum. – Martin Maat Apr 18 '16 at 19:27

The scrum guide is pretty clear in this regard. Everyone must agree on what "done" means.

Once done criteria are set, you have a body of work to start with and can start putting the work into sprints.

Until someone (hint: product owner) grasps the nettle and does/facilitates this work it cannot be allocated to a sprint as it is an obvious fatlog.

  • We have no Definition of done nor acceptance criteria. – HelloWorld May 1 '16 at 9:51

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