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Scrum Team - Roles and Responsibilities - International Scrum Institute

Before starting the first Sprint

Alex is assigned as the Scrum Product Owner of a new software development project. One of his first tasks is to start requirement engineering. He writes down the most important use-cases and discusses them with the architects, customer representatives and other stakeholders. After collecting the high-level use-cases and requirements, he writes them into the Scrum Product Backlog and initiates an estimation and prioritization session with the architects and some senior developers. As a result of this session all the items in the Scrum Product Backlog have an initial rough estimation and a prioritization. Now he starts to break-down the high-level requirements into smaller-grained user stories. With this list he then calls for the first Sprint Planning meeting.

Within the Scrum Framework three roles are defined:

  • The Scrum Team
  • Scrum Master
  • Scrum Product Owner

Each of these roles has a defined set of responsibilities and only if they fulfill these responsibilities, closely interact and work together they can finish a project successfully.

Scrum Roles & Stakeholders Scrum Roles & Stakeholders

The Scrum Team

Within the Scrum Framework all work delivered to the customer is done by dedicated Scrum Teams. A Scrum Team is a collection of individuals working together to deliver the requested and committed product increments.

Within the Scrum Framework all work delivered to the customer is done by dedicated Scrum To work effectively it is important for a Scrum Team that everyone within the team

  • follows a common goal
  • adheres the same norms and rules
  • shows respect to each other

When setting up a new Scrum Team one always has to keep in mind that no new team will deliver with the highest possible performance right from the beginning. After setting up the team it has to go through certain phases as described by the Tuckman-Model: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing.

How long it takes until the Scrum Team is in the Performing Phase depends on the team, and yet it normally takes about 3 Sprints until the teams is mature enough to deliver their results in a predictable way.

Tuckman Model Tuckman Model

Characteristics of a Scrum Team

Scrum Teams always have the following characteristics:

  • Team members share the same norms and rules
  • The Scrum team as a whole is accountable for the delivery
  • The Scrum Team is empowered
  • It is working as autonomous as it is possible
  • The Scrum Team is self organizing
  • The skills within the Scrum team are balanced
  • A Scrum Team is small and has no sub-teams
  • The people within the Scrum Team work full time in the team
  • People are collocated

Rules & Norms

Of course their environment defines some of the norms the teams have to follow, but some rules and norms are developed during the Norming phase. This set of common rules is quite important. Otherwise the team members would have to constantly waste valuable time to switch between different value systems and rule sets. Examples for such norms and rules are:

  • time and location of the Daily Scrum Meeting
  • the Definition Of Done (DoD) used to decide if work is finished or not
  • coding guidelines
  • tools to use


The Scrum Team as a whole is responsible to deliver the committed delivery in time and with the defined quality. A good result or a failure is never attributed to a single team member but always the result of the Scrum Team.

Empowerment & Self organization

The Scrum Team has to be empowered to define

  • what it will commit to deliver at the end of the sprint
  • how the expected results have to be broken down into tasks
  • who will perform the task and in which order they are performed

Only if the Scrum Team is empowered to decide these things it will work with the highest possible motivation and performance.

Balanced set of skill

Individuals within the Scrum Team will most certainly have specialized skills and focus. However to achieve best possible performance it would be optimal to have a balanced set of skills. Only then the Scrum Team will be able to deal with the ever-changing challenges and can act as autonomous as it is possible.

On one hand this means that a Scrum Team should be multidisciplinary (developers, tester, architects etc) right from the beginning. On the other hand this also means that each team member should learn a little bit of each other's specialization, e.g. a if required to finally reach the committed goal a developer should also perform or write tests.

As a consequence this also means that within the Scrum Framework it is not differentiated between e.g. "tester" and "architect", they all share the same title "Scrum Team Member" even if the primary skill is not to develop production code.

Size of the Scrum Team

Scrum Teams are small. The ideal size is 7 +/- 2 people.

If there are more people the communication overhead gets too large and the team should be split into multiple Scrum Teams. These Scrum Teams should be coordinated and communicate with each other but otherwise work independently.


To minimize unnecessary communication overhead each Scrum Team should be collocated. If work has to be spread over multiple locations, independent Scrum Teams should be created.

Responsibilities of the Scrum Team

The Scrum Team and each of the team members has certain responsibilities which have to be fulfilled:

  • They have to breakdown the requirements, create task, estimate and distribute them. In other words this means that they have to create the Sprint Backlog.
  • They have to perform the short Daily Sprint Meeting.
  • They have to ensure that at the end of the Sprint potentially shippable functionality is delivered.
  • They have to update the status and the remaining efforts for their tasks to allow creation of a Sprint Burndown Diagram.

Addendum: Real-Life Scenarios and Proven Protips for Scrum Professionals

Welcome back to the International Scrum Institute's comprehensive guide on The Scrum Team - Roles, Responsibilities, Norms, Protips, Caveats. We hope you found the original article informative, shedding light on the fundamentals of the Scrum framework and the core roles and responsibilities within a Scrum Team. But now, it's time to take our exploration to the next level.

In this extended section, we delve into real-life scenarios and introduce you to case studies featuring actual individuals. We'll share practical insights, proven protips, and invaluable knowhow that will empower you as a Scrum Professional. The world of Scrum is dynamic, and it's crucial to evolve with it. The wisdom and guidance you'll discover here are a smooth addendum to the foundational knowledge you've already acquired. We're delighted to have you with us on this journey!

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Real-Life Scenarios
    • Unveiling the essence of real-life scenarios.
    • Exploring the relevance to your Scrum journey.
  2. Case Study 1: John - Mastering the Scrum Master Role
    • John's experience as a Scrum Master.
    • Lessons learned from his journey.
  3. Case Study 2: Sarah - Navigating Product Ownership
    • Sarah's challenges and triumphs as a Product Owner.
    • Valuable takeaways for Product Owners.
  4. Case Study 3: David - The Agile Developer's Perspective
    • David's story as a developer in a Scrum Team.
    • Key insights into a developer's role in Scrum.
  5. Protips for Scrum Professionals
    • Time-tested and proven advice from seasoned Scrum practitioners.
    • Boost your effectiveness and success with these protips.

Introduction to Real-Life Scenarios

Real-life scenarios are where theory meets practice. In this section, we bridge the gap between what you've learned about Scrum in theory and how it plays out in the fast-paced world of software development, project management, and beyond. These scenarios are more than just stories; they are valuable lessons from the trenches of Scrum implementation.

Each of the case studies we present here reflects the experiences of real individuals, working in diverse roles within Scrum Teams. As you read through these narratives, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the challenges, successes, and personal growth that come with adopting the Scrum framework.

We invite you to absorb the knowledge shared here and apply it to your own Scrum journey. It's not just about theory; it's about actionable insights that can help you excel in your Scrum roles.

Without further ado, let's dive into the first case study featuring John, who has mastered the Scrum Master role.

Case Study 1: John - Mastering the Scrum Master Role

Meet John - Your Scrum Master Role Model

In the world of Scrum, the Scrum Master plays a pivotal role in facilitating the Scrum process and ensuring that the Scrum Team operates effectively. John is a seasoned Scrum Master with a wealth of experience. In this case study, we'll walk you through John's journey, highlighting his challenges, successes, and the wisdom he's gained along the way.

John's Early Days

John's initiation into the Scrum Master role wasn't all smooth sailing. Like many starting their Scrum journey, he faced challenges that tested his adaptability and problem-solving skills. However, he was determined to excel, and his perseverance paid off.

Lessons from John

John's story is a testament to the importance of continuous improvement in the Scrum Master role. As you explore his experiences, you'll discover valuable takeaways that can help you navigate the complexities of this role with confidence and grace.

Takeaways for Scrum Professionals

In John's case study, you'll find insights into the following key areas:

  • Servant Leadership: How John embodies the concept of servant leadership and its significance in the Scrum Master role.
  • Conflict Resolution: How John navigates conflicts within the Scrum Team and fosters a harmonious working environment.
  • Effective Communication: The art of communication and its impact on team dynamics and project success.
  • Continuous Learning: John's commitment to continuous learning and how it elevates his effectiveness as a Scrum Master.
  • Adaptability: How John adapts to change and ensures the Scrum process remains agile and responsive.

These insights are not just theories; they are John's real-life experiences and the key factors that have contributed to his success as a Scrum Master. They serve as protips for anyone looking to master this crucial role within a Scrum Team.

As you continue to explore our case studies, you'll find that each one offers unique perspectives and practical lessons for Scrum Professionals. We encourage you to absorb the knowledge shared here, reflect on the lessons, and apply them to your own journey in the world of Scrum.

Case Study 2: Sarah - Navigating Product Ownership

Sarah's Journey as a Product Owner

In the Scrum framework, the Product Owner plays a vital role in defining and prioritizing the product backlog. Sarah's story as a Product Owner offers a fascinating perspective on the intricacies and challenges of this role. Her journey sheds light on the art of navigating product ownership within a Scrum Team.

Sarah's Challenges and Triumphs

Like any Scrum Professional, Sarah faced her share of challenges. Juggling stakeholder expectations, managing the product backlog, and ensuring alignment with the Scrum Team weren't always straightforward tasks. However, Sarah's dedication and strategic thinking led her to triumph over these obstacles.

Lessons from Sarah

As we delve into Sarah's case study, you'll discover key lessons that are invaluable for Product Owners:

  • Stakeholder Collaboration: How Sarah effectively collaborates with stakeholders to ensure the product meets their needs and expectations.
  • Backlog Prioritization: Sarah's approach to prioritizing items in the product backlog and maintaining a clear product vision.
  • Cross-functional Team Alignment: How she fosters alignment and collaboration between the Scrum Team's various roles.
  • Iterative Improvement: Sarah's commitment to iterative improvement and enhancing the product over time.
  • Effective Communication: The role of effective communication in bridging the gap between stakeholders and the Scrum Team.

Key Takeaways for Product Owners

Sarah's journey is a testament to the significance of adaptability, communication, and strategic thinking in the role of a Product Owner. By immersing yourself in her experiences, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and rewards associated with this role.

These insights are not abstract concepts; they are the practical knowledge that has empowered Sarah in her role as a Product Owner. As a fellow Scrum Professional, you can draw inspiration from her experiences and apply the lessons learned to your own product ownership journey.

Stay tuned for more case studies, each offering unique perspectives and actionable insights. We're excited to guide you through the diverse roles within a Scrum Team and provide you with real-life scenarios that enrich your Scrum knowledge.

Case Study 3: David - The Agile Developer's Perspective

Exploring David's Journey

The Scrum Team wouldn't be complete without its developers. David, an experienced developer in a Scrum Team, offers a unique perspective on how the Scrum framework functions from the trenches. His story illustrates the importance of the developer role in Scrum and the agile mindset required to excel in it.

David's Story as a Developer

David's journey as a developer in a Scrum Team wasn't solely about coding. It was about embracing the agile values and principles, collaborating effectively with the Scrum Team, and delivering value to the end-users. His experiences provide valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities that developers face in the agile world.

Key Insights into a Developer's Role

As we delve into David's case study, you'll uncover significant insights into the developer role in Scrum, including:

  • Agile Mindset: How David embodies the agile mindset and why it's essential for developers in a Scrum Team.
  • Collaborative Development: The art of collaborative development and how it enhances the quality of the product.
  • Continuous Integration: David's approach to continuous integration and the benefits it brings to the Scrum Team.
  • Technical Excellence: The pursuit of technical excellence and its contribution to successful Scrum implementations.
  • User-Centric Focus: How David keeps the end-users in mind during development, ensuring that the product meets their needs.

Lessons for Agile Developers

David's journey showcases the importance of collaboration, technical excellence, and an agile mindset for developers in a Scrum Team. These insights are not just theoretical principles but practical lessons drawn from David's real experiences.

Whether you're an experienced developer or just starting your journey, David's case study offers valuable wisdom to help you thrive in the developer role within a Scrum Team. As we continue to explore Scrum in action, we encourage you to take these lessons to heart and apply them to your own Scrum endeavors.

Protips for Scrum Professionals

Now that you've delved into the real-life scenarios of John, Sarah, and David, it's time to equip yourself with a set of time-tested and proven protips that can elevate your performance as a Scrum Professional. These protips are derived from the experiences of seasoned practitioners and are tailored to address the unique challenges and nuances of the Scrum framework.

  • Protip 1: Foster Open Communication
    Effective communication is the lifeblood of any Scrum Team. Create an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. This openness fosters collaboration, drives innovation, and helps the team adapt swiftly to changing circumstances.
  • Protip 2: Embrace Continuous Learning
    Scrum is all about adaptability and continuous improvement. Stay current with the latest Scrum trends, practices, and frameworks. Investing in your knowledge and skill development will enhance your ability to guide your Scrum Team toward success.
  • Protip 3: Prioritize Stakeholder Engagement
    Stakeholder collaboration is vital for project success. Actively involve stakeholders in your Scrum processes, gather their input, and ensure their expectations are managed effectively. This approach not only leads to better products but also builds trust and transparency.
  • Protip 4: Encourage Self-Organization
    Empower your Scrum Team to self-organize and make decisions collectively. This autonomy fosters a sense of ownership, responsibility, and accountability among team members. As a result, the team becomes more self-reliant and can tackle challenges with confidence.
  • Protip 5: Maintain a Clear Product Vision
    A well-defined product vision keeps the Scrum Team aligned and motivated. It provides a sense of purpose and direction. Ensure that the product vision is understood and shared by all team members, so everyone is working toward a common goal.
  • Protip 6: Emphasize Quality
    In the pursuit of delivering value, don't compromise on product quality. Maintain high standards, adhere to best practices, and prioritize testing and validation. Quality is not just a checkbox; it's a fundamental aspect of sustainable success.
  • Protip 7: Celebrate Small Wins
    Acknowledge and celebrate the small victories along the way. These milestones keep the team motivated and engaged. Recognizing achievements, no matter how modest, reinforces the commitment to continuous improvement and excellence.
  • Protip 8: Stay Adaptable
    Change is inevitable in the world of Scrum. Embrace it with open arms. Be ready to adapt, iterate, and pivot as needed. The ability to navigate change gracefully is a hallmark of successful Scrum Professionals.

As you absorb and implement these protips, remember that they are drawn from the collective wisdom of experienced Scrum practitioners. They are your compass for navigating the intricate world of Scrum, and they will help you excel in your respective roles within the Scrum Team.

Conclusion: Elevating Your Scrum Journey

In this extended guide, we've embarked on a journey through the heart of Scrum, exploring real-life scenarios, case studies, and time-tested protips that are essential for your growth as a Scrum Professional. We hope you've found these insights valuable and enlightening.

Remember, the Scrum framework is not a static entity. It thrives on adaptability, continuous improvement, and the dedication of Scrum Professionals like you. By embracing the lessons and experiences shared in this addendum, you are well-equipped to excel in your role within the Scrum Team.

As you continue your Scrum journey, keep the following principles in mind:

  • Collaboration: Foster a culture of collaboration within your Scrum Team. Encourage open communication and cooperation, and watch your team thrive.
  • Learning: The path to mastery is paved with continuous learning. Stay curious, explore new ideas, and never stop expanding your knowledge.
  • Empowerment: Empower your team members to take ownership of their roles and decisions. Trust and autonomy are the keys to unlocking their full potential.
  • Adaptability: Be ready to pivot and adapt in the face of change. In the dynamic world of Scrum, adaptability is a cornerstone of success.
  • Quality: Never compromise on the quality of your work. Quality is the foundation upon which trust and customer satisfaction are built.
  • Celebration: Celebrate the small wins and milestones along the way. Recognizing achievements keeps the team motivated and focused on the bigger picture.

We hope you've enjoyed this addendum to our original article. Your Scrum journey is an exciting and rewarding adventure, filled with opportunities for growth and success. By applying the knowledge and insights gained here, you are poised to make a lasting impact on your Scrum Team and your organization as a whole.

Thank you for being a part of the International Scrum Institute's commitment to promoting excellence in Scrum practice. As you put these insights into action, may your Scrum journey be marked by continuous improvement, success, and fulfillment.

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