In a perfect world, we’d like all of our Scrum team members to be fully dedicated and committed to delivery on a project. The reality is that scrum masters and product owners have to deal with less than perfect conditions under which they have to deliver high-quality software. It’s always the “other project” that prevents our resources from executing on the project we are managing. So, what do we do? I think there’s a simple strategy that can help everyone involved.
I recommend deliberately and consistently scheduling project available time. Let’s say you are 25% allocated to another project. In a 40 hour (yeah, right!) work week, which equates to 10 hours of available time to work on that project. That could be done 2 hours per day, or maybe one full day plus a couple of hours on another day. What that means is that during those scheduled times, you are unavailable to do anything but work on the other project – no meetings or anything – like you are not even there. Use your online calendar or team project management system to clearly lay out the schedule for the whole team to see.
Consistently following a schedule will help you time-box this effort, help with consistent planning and execution, plus it will help colleagues respect these boundaries such that everything can get done. It will take a little discipline to respect these boundaries, but I believe it is what is necessary to mitigate the risk of partial resources being on the project.