Scrum Roles

What is the Scrum team?

A scrum team has a slightly different composition than a traditional waterfall project, with three specific roles: product ownerscrum master, and the development team.

Product Owner

The product owner is responsible for what goes into the product backlog and prioritizes it. The product owner also represents a project’s key stakeholders and makes sure that group’s interests are at the forefront.

Effective product owners:

  • Build and manage the product backlog
  • Closely partner with the business and the team to ensure everyone understands the work items in the product backlog
  • Give the team clear guidance on which features to deliver next
  • Decide when to ship the product with the predisposition towards more frequent delivery
  • Single person responsible for maximizing the return on investment (ROI) of the development effort
  • Responsible for product vision
  • Constantly re-prioritizes the Product Backlog, adjusting any longterm expectations such as release plans
  • Final arbiter of requirements questions
  • Accepts or rejects each product increment
  • Decides whether to ship
  • Decides whether to continue development
  • Considers stakeholder interests
  • May contribute as a team member

Scrum Master

Scrum masters are the champion for scrum within their team. They are also the team facilitator or “servant leader”. An effective scrum master deeply understands the work being done by the team and can help the team optimize their delivery flow. This person ensures teams have what they need to get the job done and sets up meetings to coordinate efforts. Rather than possessing management authority, these individuals empower their colleagues to work more efficiently with each other and related departments.

  • Facilitates the Scrum process
  • Helps resolve impediments
  • Creates an environment conducive to team self-organization
  • Captures empirical data to adjust forecasts
  • Shields the team from external interference and distractions to keep it in group flow (a.k.a. the zone)
  • Enforces timeboxes
  • Keeps Scrum artifacts visible
  • Promotes improved engineering practices
  • Has no management authority over the team (anyone with authority over the team is by definition not its ScrumMaster)

Developers & Testers

Developers & testers write code and make sure it does what it’s supposed to do. In an agile environment these individuals are free to choose whichever development method they think is most suitable for a situation. All members of the team help one another to ensure a successful sprint completion.

They forecast how much work they believe they can complete over the iteration using their historical velocity as a guide. Keeping the iteration length fixed gives the development team important feedback on their estimation and delivery process, which in turn makes their forecasts increasingly accurate over time.

  • Cross-functional (e.g., includes members with testing skills, and often others not traditionally called developers: business analysts, domain experts, etc.) Self-organizing / self-managing, without externally assigned roles
  • Negotiates commitments with the Product Owner, one Sprint at a time
  • Has autonomy regarding how to reach commitments
  • Intensely collaborative
  • Most successful when located in one team room, particularly for the first few Sprints
  • Most successful with long-term, full-time membership. Scrum moves work to a flexible learning team and avoids moving people or splitting them between teams.
    3–9 members (5 ± 2 members)

Want to pass the Certified Scrum Master Exam (CSM)? Practice as often as you want with our realistic CSM Practice Exam.

Check Also

What does a Scrum Master do all day

What does a Scrum Master do all day?

As you consider a career as a Scrum Master you may be asking yourself what a typical ScrumMaster does all day. In general a Scrum Master helps Facilitating...