Scrum Roles

Three core roles exist in the Scrum team; the Product Owner, Development Team, Scrum Master. The team can work remotely, but for the greatest potential for delivering a shippable product ideally the team will be co-located.

Product Owner

Representing the stakeholders and acting as the voice of the customer, the Product Owner is responsible for creating the product roadmap, maintaining the product backlog, and ensuring the outcomes delivered by the team provide the maximum value. The Product Owner communicates the requirements in common language so that all parties from stakeholder down to acceptance testing can understand and agree what is required and when a deliverable is considered complete.

The product backlog is the list of known deliverables in varied states of readiness for development, from a simple idea to a fully specified definition ready to be adopted into a sprint. The Product Owner maintains the priority order of these deliverables so that the Development Team address requirements in the correct order of importance.

Scrum teams consist of a single Product Owner, the one true voice and decision maker focusing on the business value and spending the majority of their time with the various stakeholders. The Product Owner should not be concerned with the technical solution a team reaches, and only ensure they are available to address questions and concerns the Development Team come across during the development of an outcome.

The Product Owner is the core communicator, responsible for conveying the organisational goals, values, required outcomes, and priority. The ability and willingness to effectively communicate with team members and stakeholders is key to ensuring the product development maintains the correct direction. 

The ability to convey empathy is important, to put on various hats and appreciate the perspectives of players involved throughout the product definition, development, and delivery make a great Product Owner. Willingness to have difficult conversations and make difficult decisions are crucial in such a fast paced framework, to actively collaborate and declare the best course based on the information available at any given time.

Development Team

Consisting on between 3 and 9 members, the Development Team conduct all tasks required to build and deliver the product increment including; analysis, design, development, testing, technical writing. The Development Team members are generally referred to as Developers, even though each individual can represent a specific discipline.

Self-organising and cross-functional, the Development Team consisting of software designers, engineers and testers, core responsibility is in delivering a potentially shippable product at the end of each sprint.

Scrum Master

The Scrum team is facilitated by the Scrum Master, the team member who is responsible for removing impediments and unblocking tasks.

The Scrum Master is not a leader or manager of the team, but a coach and servant to the team ensuring the principles of Scrum are followed to ensure the optimum team velocity and prevent any distracting influences.

Facilitating ceremonies, the Scrum Master is there to assist and encourage  the team to improve working practices to deliver more effectively.

Core responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • Assisting the product owner in maintaining the product backlog, ensuring the needed work is well communicated and understandable so the team can move forward with developing
  • Helping clarify the definition of done for the product
  • Coaching Scrum principles to deliver high-quality features
  • Promoting self-organisation
  • Addressing and removing impediments, whether internal or external of the team
  • Facilitating ceremonies to ensure regular progress
  • Educating key stakeholders on Scrum principles
  • Coaching the development team in self-organisation and cross-functionality