Scrum Roles

Scrum Teams are self-managed and cross-functional, meaning they internally decide who does what, when, and how. They have all competencies needed to accomplish the work without depending on others not part of the team and choose how best to completed their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team and designed to optimize flexibility, creativity, and productivity.

The Scrum Team is small, typically 10 or fewer people as smaller teams communicate better and are more productive. If Scrum Teams become too large, they should consider reorganizing into multiple cohesive Scrum Teams, each focused on the same product. Therefore, they should share the same Product Goal, Product Backlog, and Product Owner.

The Scrum Team is responsible for all product-related activities from stakeholder collaboration, verification, maintenance, operation, experimentation, research and development, and anything else that might be required.

Scrum defines three specific accountabilities within the Scrum Team: the Developers, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master.

Product Owner

The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.

The Product Owner is also accountable for effective Product Backlog management, which includes:

  • Communicate vision and value to the Development Team
  • Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal
  • Creating and clearly communicating Product Backlog items
  • Ordering Product Backlog items
  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is transparent, visible and understood.
  • Ensuring the Development Team understands items in the Product Backlog to the level needed
  • Leverage Scrum for frequent product inspection and adaptation

The Product Owner may do the above work or may delegate the responsibility to others. Regardless, the Product Owner remains accountable.

For Product Owners to succeed, the entire organization must respect their decisions. These decisions are visible in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog, and through the inspectable Increment at the Sprint Review.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization.

The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness. They do this by enabling the Scrum Team to improve its practices, within the Scrum framework. Scrum Masters are true leaders who serve the Scrum Team and the larger organization.

Scrum Master service to the Scrum Team

  • Coaching the team members in self-management and cross-functionality
  • Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value Increments that meet the Definition of Done
  • Causing the removal of impediments to the Scrum Team’s progress
  • Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox

The Scrum Master service to the Product Owner

  • Helping find techniques for effective Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management
  • Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items
  • Helping establish empirical product planning for a complex environment
  • Facilitating stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed

The Scrum Master service to the organization

  • Leading, training, and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption
  • Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization
  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact an empirical approach for complex work
  • Removing barriers between stakeholders and Scrum Teams

Development Team

The Development Team consists of professionals who do the work of delivering a potentially releasable Increment of “Done” product at the end of each Sprint. The Development Teams are structured and empowered by the organization to organize and manage their own work.

The specific skills needed by the Developers are often broad and will vary with the domain of work. Developers are always accountable for:

  • Creating a plan for the Sprint, the Sprint Backlog
  • Instilling quality by adhering to a Definition of Done
  • Adapting their plan each day toward the Sprint Goal
  • Holding each other accountable as professionals

Other Roles

Some organizations may have enabler roles that are not part of the Scrum Team to support their business practices and culture, which fall outside the Scrum Framework. These roles and responsibilities vary widely across organizations and may include:

  • Direction of corporate strategy
  • Growth of individuals and team
  • Project Level Performance and Quality Reporting
  • Staffing and Resource Onboarding
  • Performance reviews and career development
  • Establish engineering standards and best practices
  • Provide necessary tools, processes and policies
  • Define engineering and quality standards/strategy
  • Owner of organizational level obstacles
  • Design a lean organization/team structure
  • Develop leaders who lead teams
  • Lead the organization through change
  • Address organizational issues that get in the way of team(s).
  • Be more strategic, less tactical
Product Manager
  • Customer and market research by analyzing the industry and competition
  • Identifies customer needs and voice of the customer
  • Drives Pl objectives and release content via prioritized features and enablers
  • Maximize value, revenues and return on investment
  • Owner of the product vision, program backlog, product strategy and roadmap
  • Ensuring requirements that impact other projects (internal and external) are submitted to the other products’ requirements lists or backlogs
  • Release planning, execution and product launch
  • Product sustaining and retirement
  • Business case development and realization
  • Responsible for value delivery through business ecosystem
  • Establishes feature acceptance criteria
  • Responsible for feature, schedule and cost trade offs
  • Brings products to market
  • Validating with Product Owner that the release is operating as expected
  • Support Product Owner with priorities and requirements
  • Project budget management and forecasting
Project Manager
  • Facilitate Release Readiness & Deployment Management
  • Project budget management and timesheets
  • Project Level Performance and Status Reporting
  • Staffing and Resource Management 
  • External Risk & Dependency Management
  • Escalate and/or remove external team impediments
Business Analyst
  • Participate in refinement and sprint grooming sessions
  • Take notes during requirements gathering sessions
  • Highlight requirements, risks, gaps, dependencies 
  • Identify requirements with stakeholders/business owners
  • Capture and link any technical dependencies 
  • Help product owner in creating user stories
  • Support Product Owner with priorities and requirements
Technical Expert
  • Expert of a product or technical processes
  • Solution Architect support
  • Provides support to the team as needed
  • Assists the PO/BA in writing technical stories
  • Helps identify dependencies or technical constraints
  • Attends Product Refinement sessions as needed
  • Enterprise Release Management
  • Corporate Security
  • Infrastructure/Architecture/Network
  • Operations and Support
Change Management
  • Apply lead change management activities
  • Support communication efforts
  • Assess/ complete change management assessments
  • Support training efforts
  • Identify and manage anticipated resistance
  • Manage the change portfolio
  • Integrate change management activities into project plan
  • Create deliverables for the change management levers: 
    • 1. communications plan
    • 2. sponsor roadmap
    • 3. coaching plan
    • 4. training plan 
    • 5. resistance management plan