How can you work according to Scrum as a company and use external staff? What kind of service contracts would be proper in this case?

Submitted by Yuliya Mijuk on 05/22/2014

"I have recently looked intensely into the subject of Scrum. But the intersection "Scrum and the use of external staff" (especially on service contracts) has left a lot of confusion in me. Even after the most detailed research on the internet, I could not obtain accurate and helpful information. Do you have a tip or information for me, how to work as a company with Scrum and external personnel on service contracts successfully, without disregarding the rules? My question concerns first of all the legislation in Germany (such things as authority to issue directives, prohibition to handle the agency staff as your own etc.) "

Yuliya Mijuk: For using third-party personnel in Scrum "Time & Material" contracts are common: implementing of separate work packages, dedicated work in Sprints charged according to the hours spent. But the trust between the client and the contractor must be present. If the trust is not given, one must first work on that and then on the contract.

Here there are several resources that can help you to find the proper contract form for your company:

The issue is not simple as related to the legislation in Germany, but most of the pitfalls of using third-party project staff lie not in the legislation but in the inflexibility of the corporate policies. Finally, a legally secure contract - as in the case of our colleague Mrs Benefield - arise only through cooperation between agile experts and specialist lawyers. I've heard here in Germany nothing of this kind, at least not as a general offer.

Heiko Stapf:  The theme is in the enterprises more than critical at the moment. In some cases hundreds of externals are shown the door in the truest sense of the word. In some large companies third-party personnel can not be used in Scrum teams (because of the authority to issue directives).

Many of the problems are homemade. But the fear among the lawyers is deep because the legal situation is completely unclear (you can find judgments that go diametrically in the opposite direction). Since the enterprises in this area are afraid of the bad press, they play it safe and take out the external staff. We discussed that at the PMCamp in Stuttgart. Session documentation can be found here:

PM Services in the Time of LoM (Lease of Manpower) (in German)

In my opinion, currently applies:

  • Basically we try to continue to seek service contracts (decision lies on the customer's side)
  • For inveterate customers, we will apply for the permission for temporary workers for our future co-workers
  • Various measures should be taken into account (a clear boundary between the activities and the roles that are already present in the company / liability insurance / no integration in internal time recording or vacation systems / if it goes no internal email address
  • As a CEO / limited partner I have some "free rein" - this must be first made clear to the enterprises.
Yuliya Mijuk

About the author

Yuliya Mijuk

Yuliya’s professional life started with Scrum. She is a Certified Scrum Professional and received her certification as ScrumMasters in 2006. She studied Computational Linguistics at the LMU in Munich. After the graduation in 2004 she came to WEB.DE where the transition to Scrum was taking place. Later on Yuliya worked as a ScrumMaster and Scrum Coach at SPRiNT iT and billiger.de (solute GmbH).

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