Scrum Roles

Discover Product Owner, Scrum Master, Development Team

A Scrum Team consists of three roles:

  • Product Owner: 1 person, Full-time or part-time, Business oriented
  • Scrum Master: 1 person, Full-time or part-time, Scrum coach and facilitator
  • Development Team: 3 to 9 people, Full-time (recommended), Specialist

NOTE: It is possible for a single person to be assigned to more than one roles, but it is not recommended.

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Scrum Team

Discover only three roles (PO, SM, dev), self-organized, cross functional, performing organization, optimize flexibility, creativity and productivity

About the Scrum Team:

  • There are only three roles in a Scrum and it is not allowed to define any other roles as it might harm the unity of the team.
  • The Scrum Team is a part of the performing organization,  the company which executes the project either for itself or as a contractor for an external customer.

The Scrum Team has two essential characteristics:

  • Self-organized: the Scrum Team manages its own efforts rather than being managed or directed by others, as opposed to the other traditional methods where management efforts and specialist efforts are separated and centralized.
  • Cross-functional: the Scrum Team has all the expertise and competencies needed to get the job done without any help from outside the team.

These two characteristics are designed to optimize flexibility, creativity and productivity, needed for the Agile environment of Scrum.

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Product Owner

Discover business oriented, max ROI, product value, respect the PO decisions, final say, responsible for Product Backlog

Product Owner descriptions:

  • The Product Owner is a business oriented person, whose aim is to maximize the product value and the work of the Development Team.
  • The Product Owners role belongs to one person from the performing organization rather than from the client.  
  • If there is a committee to handle the responsibilities of this role, there should still be only one person, the Product Owner, representing the committee.
  • They do not need to have application area knowledge of the project but focused on the business aspect and understand how the business operates.
  • The entire organization must respect the Product Owner decisions for the project to be successful and not even the CEO, should allow themselves to try to override those decisions.
  •  No one should tell the Development Team what item to deliver, except for the Product Owner who sets and orders the items.
  • A Product Owner’s decisions might be influenced by others, but he/she must have the final say.

Product Owner responsibilities:

  • The Product Owner is responsible for the Product Backlog. The Product Backlog is a prioritized list of items (aka stories or user stories) that the client expects from the project; this is the main planning tool in Scrum.
  • It is also the responsibility of the Product Owner to make sure that each item (user story) is easy to understand for the Scrum Team, and other stakeholders.
  • Product Owners understand the business, so they can rank each Product Backlog item based on its return on investment as well as any other factor they find suitable for the business point of view of the project. The items will be sorted based on their value, so the higher they are on the list, the sooner they will be developed by the Development Team.
  • Product Owners should communicate effectively with the customer (the inevitable success factor in every project management method), and use the information to keep the Product Backlog updated with all the changes.
  • They also measure the performance of the project, forecast the completion date, and make this information transparent to all stakeholders.
  • A Product Owner might delegate some of his/her responsibilities (such as preparing the list of items for the Product Backlog) to the Development Team, but stays accountable for them.

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Scrum Master

Discover servant-leader , coaching the Scrum Team, removing impediments, leads organization in agility

Scrum Master description:

  • The Scrum Masters is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team, which manages the Scrum process rather than the Scrum Team.
  • It is possible for a single person to be both Scrum Master, and a member of the Development Team, although this is not recommended.
  • Being a Scrum Master of a project might not occupy 100% of the time of a person; in this case, the best solution is to assign that same person as the Scrum Master in more than one project, rather than making them a member of the Development Team.

Scrum Master responsibilities:

  • The Scrum Master helps coaching the Scrum Team and ensures that all Scrum processes are implemented correctly.
  • The Scrum Master is responsible for removing impediments to the Development Team, facilitating their events.
  • The Scrum Master helps the Product Owners too, by helping or consulting them on finding techniques, communicating information and facilitating related events.
  • The Scrum Master leads the organization in its effort to adopt Scrum helping those outside the Scrum Team understand the appropriate interactions with the Scrum Team to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team.

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Development Team

Discover application area experts, cross-functional, self-organized, product-based way, same role, collaboration, responsible for delivering backlog items

Development Team description:

  • Members of the Development Team are application area experts.
  • They should be cross-functional, being able to implement all tasks for each Product Backlog item.
  • They are self-organized, finding their own way instead of receiving orders.
  • They are aligned with the goal of the project and should always work in a product-based way
  • It is highly recommended for members of the Development Team to work full-time on a single project, to stay focused and agile. The composition of the Development Team should not change so often. If there is a need to change team members, then this change should not happen during a Sprint and there will be a short-term decrease in productivity when the composition of the team changes.
  • Scrum is mostly effective when there are 3 to 9 Development Team members but for large projects, we can use a scaled model with multiple Scrum Teams. 3.5. Other Roles
  • All members should have the same role, and the same title: Development Team member.
  • Scrum is completely depended on collaboration and Product Owner. Development Team members should be united and completely aligned with the goal of the project.

Development Team responsibilities:

  • Members of the Development Team are responsible for delivering backlog items and managing their own efforts.
  • A task might be assigned to a single member throughout the Sprint, but the whole Development Team will be responsible and accountable for that task; no individual owns any task.
  • The Development Team delivers the final product of the project in step by step Increments, as defined in the Product Backlog.
  • Each Development Team member is responsible for all the outputs created in the Development Team, even though each of them might be focused on a specific set of tasks.

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Other Roles

Discover external stakeholders, involved but not considered internal , customer considered as another stakeholder,

  • Other persons can also be involved but they are not considered internal to the project and should behave in certain way (e.g. respect how a Scrum project works)
  • When the project is not internal, the customer should be considered as another stakeholder and should understand/adopt the Scrum framework.
  • You may or may not have a separate customer, but you always have some external stakeholders (management, users, analytics…) and should consider them in your development style.

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No Project Manager

Discover no traditional project manager, very different responsibilities, PM responsibilities are distributed

  • There is no traditional project manager role in Scrum.
  • Scrum Master responsibilities are very different than a traditional project manager.
  • There is no centralized project management in Scrum and the project management responsibilities are distributed among the three roles of Scrum and

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