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What are the Roles in Scrum?

Scrum teams consist of a Product Owner, Scrum Master and the Development Team. Scrum teams are self-organising and cross functional.

Self-organising means that the team itself decides how to best complete the work, rather than being told by someone outside of the team.

Cross functional means the team has all the skills required to complete the work.

 

product ownerProduct Owner

The Product Owner (PO) is responsible for maximising the Return on Investment of the product development and this is usually done through the prioritisation of the Product Backlog Items.

The PO is the business contact for the team – they will liaise with stakeholders within the business to determine their desires for the product. However, only the PO can decide on the priority of these items.

The PO must also ensure that Product Backlog Items are clearly understood by the Development Team and has the final say on requirements decisions.

 

development teamDevelopment Team

The Development Team does the work to build a potentially shippable product increment every Sprint. They are self-organising, so only the team themselves decide how to create the increment.

They are also cross-functional so that the team has all the required skills to complete the work.

All members have the same title of Developer, so although members may have specialised skills, the team as a whole are responsible for all of the work.

Development Teams should have 3-9 members. Less than 3 makes it difficult to complete enough work within a Sprint, while more than 9 increases complexity.

 

scrum masterScrum Master

The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team. They have a variety of responsibilities, which can be seen in full in the Scrum Guide, but the most important of these are:

  • They facilitate the work of the team by ensuring Scrum practices are understood and followed.
  • Protect the team from distractions such as stakeholders trying to sneakily get their feature worked on first.
  • Remove impediments.
  • Enforce time boxes.

The Scrum Master is not a Project Manager. A Project Manager runs the project and team, and is accountable to the business for completing that project. They may set work for team members, prioritise features and manage risk.
A Scrum Masters’ role is to facilititate the process and the team. Their accountability is to the Scrum process.

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