One of the most essential parts of scrum is the roles that it assigns to the team members. The scrum role responsibilities differ from traditional project management responsibilities and it’s crucial to stick to these roles only. They promote cooperation among the Scrum team members and remove misunderstandings.
The scrum role responsibilities are split between the Product Owner, a Scrum Master, and the Developers. The Product Owner is responsible for managing the relationship between the business and the customer, so he must know the business very well. The Scrum Master acts as a coach to help the team follow the scrum values. And the Developers create and deliver the products and services.
It’s an advantage for the entire team if the people in these roles understand more what the others do. So you can review from time to time what are the responsibilities for each one of the team members.
Responsibilities a Product Owner should master
The Product Owner is managing stakeholders. If you’re a Product Owner, make sure that you are always in contact with the stakeholders and you understand very well what their vision is and what problem they are trying to solve. However, managing stakeholders is not only about converting their needs into features, it is also about saying no when ideas don’t fit with the product. Just be sure you explain this to them in a way that makes them understand why you are not comfortable building something they want.
Managing and maintaining an ordered Product Backlog is one fundamental piece of work that Product Owners must do. The development team can help you identify dependencies between items and tell you how the way you are organizing the PBI’s can impact their work. Sometimes you’ll reorder the backlog based on what new information you have from the team. But, don’t forget that in the end, it’s your decision if you’ll delay a feature release for a technical impediment, or not. To make the right decision, you have to know the business needs very well.
They have a good collaboration with the UI/UX designers. Product Owners must know how to expose the vision and the scope of the features or product. They work closely with the designers very early in the project to allow them to prepare their wireframes and mock-ups.
Product owners identify business needs and develop direction and strategy. They are closely working with stakeholders and conducting market research to understand customer’s needs. As a Product Owner, you have to understand the people who will consume the product, identify pain points and find solutions that will fix them.
They gather, prioritize and manage the product requirements. The product requirements represent the needs of the customers. Based on how crucial a feature might be for the business, Product Owners have to organize these requirements in a way that will bring value very early in the development phase. The most important business needs will be always on top of the list.
Writing user stories also falls under the Product Owner’s responsibilities. You can write user stories by yourself or together with the Development team. The user stories must meet the definition of ready, which is agreed by the entire Scrum Team. The user stories don’t have to be 100% complete from the start, but you must have an agreement about what is enough for the team to start working on those items. Such as what’s the right amount of design details, description, or acceptance criteria, enough for the team to start their work.
Make time to work together with the development team daily and answer questions and make decisions. As a Product Owner, you will have to accept or reject the features developed by the engineers, so you have to be close to them and have continuous communication. You’ll hear about many issues encountered during development, so you have to be prepared to respond quickly.
Determine release dates. As you are the one knowing best the business needs, you should have very clear timelines and milestones for what you want to deliver. But make sure that you show the development team what your plans are as early as possible. This way they can make better technical decisions to meet these goals.
Scrum Masters hold it all together
Coach the team into following the scrum values and practices. It won’t be an easy job right from the start. Sometimes your team members won’t accept your different way of approaching things, but be patient.
As a coach, you will help them understand the scrum values. Many follow scrum rules without seeing the real benefit. But you can show them why it can work so well and bring so much value, by helping them put these values into practice.
Take a minute before your Daily Scrum starts and tell them how it should work and what should be the outcome. At the beginning of your planning session, tell your team why it is important for them to be engaged in the discussion. Is the Sprint Review approaching? Make sure the team knows what the people who will be there expect to see. And in your retrospectives try to concentrate on inspecting the things that happened in the last sprint. Then, adapt by taking action points.
Remove impediments. The Scrum Master’s responsibility is to identify, track and remove impediments. Some examples of impediments can be:
- Illness of team members
- Changes in team composition
- Unavailability of the Product Owner
- The conflict between team members
- Meetings that are irrelevant for the team
- Issues with tools
The Development Team can often remove some of their impediments but sometimes this is beyond their ability. In that case, the Scrum Master seeks help outside of the team.
Promote good cooperation between the team and stakeholders. The Scrum Master should not be the point of contact between the developers and Product Owner or stakeholders. It would have a negative impact on the team’s communication, by having one person who’s communicating back and forth. The Scrum Master should enable communication between the team and stakeholders, and guide the team to talk about their impediments directly with the ones who can help.
Guides the team to ensure that sprint goals are met. From your role as a Scrum Master, is your responsibility to guide the developers and the product owner during the development phase and ensure that the scrum practices are implemented.
Supports individual and team development. Each team member needs support to develop their skills and to grow in the company they work in. The Scrum Master will ensure that the team members have all the guidance they need to reach their goals. We are talking about technical skills which might not be the Scrum Master’s area of expertise. But as the great facilitators they are, they can facilitate discussions between the developers and technical people who can guide them.
What does a developer do in a scrum team
Developers create and deliver the products or services. They are in charge of the “How?” in product development. There should be no one to interfere with their decision of how they will do the work, as long as they follow the code guidelines and deliver what is expected.
Is self-organized and self-managed. The teams should be able to determine their own workload and how they will get it done. They will be in charge of the estimations. And, at the same time decide how much they can deliver each sprint.
Is cross-functional. Development teams must not focus on one type of skill but must combine individuals with multiple different skills. And even if the team members have different skill sets, they focus on the same goal.
Identify improvement opportunities. Yes, developers can identify improvements in the product as well. They have a good knowledge of what happens behind all those fancy interfaces customers see. Security and technical improvements are some of the things that might easily slip away in some cases.