If you’ve ever taken on a complex project, you have likely encountered the pitfalls that come about when your undertaking lacks clarity and team members are deprived of solid direction. Without a clear definition and way to get you there, projects can sometimes be left to flounder in the abyss, never to be seen or heard from again.
If this sounds familiar, then you might consider Scrum.
Why Scrum? Scrum teams provide the following benefits:
- Fine-tuned project control
- Ability to quickly pivot workload
- Improved team collaboration and happiness
- Better return on investment
- Faster time to market
- Increased customer/stakeholder engagement
A crucial part of working within this framework is the Scrum team. Knowing who fits where on the Scrum team and understanding each role is a requirement for success. Take a look at the following Scrum team roles.
The backbone of the Scrum team: Product owner
The product owner functions as the backbone of the project, the glue that keep all the pieces in place. This person understands the key objectives and interacts consistently with team members throughout the entire process.
It is the role of the product owner to understand how the product will ultimately be used and to define the individual steps needed to get from concept to market.
Responsibilities of the Scrum team product owner include:
- Defining the overall goal of the project
- Identifying and outlining individual project tasks from beginning to end
- Constant communication with team members to assess progress
- Shifting priorities and assigned tasks to achieve end goals as needed
The Scrum product owner does not manage team members or the work.
Example: Product owners might determine what features a piece of software needs and describe the characteristics in detail, but not be involved in the assigning tasks or the day-to-day tasks of developing the attributes.
The defender of the Scrum team: Scrum Master
The Scrum Master is the individual on the team who keeps all the parts moving. Their primary goal is to drive the project from start to finish. You might be asking how the Scrum Master differs from the product owner on a Scrum team.
Quite simply, Scrum Masters ensure the Scrum team has what they need to complete their tasks and that they are free from distractions that arise.
Responsibilities of the Scrum Master include:
- Constantly acting as a go to for Scrum team members needs
- Removing distractions from the work process
- Managing internal disruptions that might hinder work
- Instructing team members on Scrum principles throughout the process
The Scrum Master does not take responsibility for the quality of work or ensuring the tasks fit the end goals, but rather oversees and guards the integrity of the Scrum process.
Example: The Scrum Master might resolve an internal dispute about resources or provide necessary supplies to the development team.
The core group of the Scrum team: Development team
The development team is a group of self-sufficient members who work their way through assigned tasks to accomplish the details of the project. This part of the Scrum team typically consists of 5-9 key individuals who undertake the functional work.
One of the primary elements for Scrum success depends on the autonomous nature of the development team and the ability of members to work collaboratively. However that occurs is entirely up to the development team.
Responsibilities of the development team include:
- Assessing and assigning tasks to relevant team members
- Completing outlined tasks with a focus on quality
- Communicating with the Scrum team regarding progress and roadblocks
Example: The development team would undertake coding and quality control to create the product itself.
In some situations, it may not be possible for a desired person to join the Scrum team as a fully engaged participant. These scenarios allow for the consultation of an SME (subject-matter expert). SMEs will offer their expertise directly to the development team in support of achieving project goals.
It is a common pitfall to step beyond the boundaries of the roles outlined by Scrum team roles. Your Scrum team will see success when understand their roles well.
If you would like to learn more about how scrum teams can help you, please contact us today!