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What Is The Role Of The Scrum Team? This Might Surprise You!

The Scrum Framework recognizes three roles:

  • The Product Owner,
  • The Scrum Team Member,
  • The Scrum Master.

In addition to other programs it's providing to its worldwide students, International Scrum Institute™ provides three primary training and certification programs for these three roles.

These programs are namely Scrum Product Owner Accredited Certification™ (SPOAC™), Scrum Team Member Accredited Certification™ (STMAC™), and Scrum Master Accredited Certification™ (SMAC™) .

A proper scrum organization must adequately possess people from all these three skill-sets. That's particularly essential to succeed with the scrum software development framework.

None of these roles is indispensable and irreplaceable. They cannot be combined with the other scrum roles and functions. Each Scrum Product Owner typically works together with one scrum team. Each Scrum Team has its own Scrum Master, and each Scrum Master cares and works with one single Scrum Team.

Please don't underestimate the importance of understanding the purpose and function of these roles and employing them with adequate talents.

Many times we observed that the root cause of difficulties of a scrum team is either because these roles are not understood or they don't employ the right people.

Each of these roles has a defined set of responsibilities. Only if the owners of these roles fulfil these responsibilities, closely interact, collaborate, and work together, they can finish a Scrum project successfully.

What Is The Role Of The Scrum Team? This Might Surprise You!

Scrum Roles & Stakeholders

The Scrum Team

Within the Scrum Framework, dedicated Scrum Teams do all work delivered to the business clients. A Scrum Team is a collection of individuals working together to provide the requested and committed product increments.

To work effectively, it is essential for a Scrum Team that everyone within the team:

  • Embraces values of the Scrum Framework such as Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect, and Openness,
  • Adheres the same norms and rules,
  • Follows the common goal, which wires them to both IT and business outcomes.

When setting up a new Scrum Team, you always need 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.

What Is The Role Of The Scrum Team? This Might Surprise You!

Tuckman’s Stages of Team Development

How long it takes until the Scrum Team reaches the Performing Phase varies from team to team. Hiring good basketball players for the same club will not make a good basketball team as soon as they start to play together. They first need to learn and adapt their playing styles, their strengths and weaknesses to assist each other, and to play in harmony. Scrum teams are not that different. Therefore, it's vital to keep in mind that it usually takes about 3 to 5 Sprints until the team becomes mature enough to deliver its results effectively and predictably.

Characteristics of a Scrum Team

Scrum Teams 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,
  • The Scrum Team is working as autonomous as it is possible,
  • The Scrum Team is self-organizing,
  • The skills within the Scrum team are balanced,
  • A core Scrum Team is small and has no sub-teams,
  • The Scrum Team members are dedicated to their teams with 100% capacity,
  • Scrum Team members are collocated, and they ideally share the same room.

Rules & Norms

The environment, business, IT, and geographical ecosystem of Scrum Teams invisibly define some of the norms the teams follow. And yet, to become a truly successful Scrum Team, some rules and norms should be explicitly developed and exercised during the Norming phase.

These common standards are essential, and they can't be overemphasized to deliver smooth gameplay, IT, and business results. Otherwise, the Scrum Team members would have to continually switch back and forth between different value systems and rule sets, and they waste their valuable time. Just a few examples of such norms and rules are:

  • The goal, scope, duration, location, participants and outcomes of Scrum Rituals (Events),
  • Required level of details to write clear, concise and unmistakable Definition Of Dones (DoDs),
  • Guidelines to prioritize and estimate user stories and tasks,
  • Guidelines, procedures and the level of details to create living documents,
  • Tools to use and tools not to use (remember, sometimes less is more),
  • Coding standards,
  • Tools and guidelines to build/perform manual/automated tests and ensure quality,
  • The process to resolve bugs,
  • The process to handle change requests,
  • The process to prepare to product increment demonstrations during Sprint Review Meetings,
  • The process to handle the outcomes of each Scrum Ritual (Event),
  • Frequency, depth, and duration of Backlog Refinement Meetings.

Accountability

The Scrum Team as a whole is responsible for delivering the committed user stories in time and with the highest possible 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 the team commits to deliver at the end of the Sprint,
  • How the committed user stories will be broken down into tasks,
  • Who will perform a specific task and in which order the tasks are implemented.

Only if the Scrum Team is empowered to decide these and similar internal decisions, the team members will work with higher performance and motivation for the interest of their client stakeholders.

Balanced set of skills

Each Individual within the Scrum Team will most certainly have specialized skills, focus, and personal preference of interests. However, to achieve the best possible performance, your Scrum Team needs to have a balanced set of skills. Only then the Scrum Team will be able to deal with the ever-changing IT and business challenges, and they can act as autonomous as it is possible.

That means a Scrum Team should be multidisciplinary (designers, developers, testers, architects, etc.) right from the beginning. On the other hand, this also means that each team member should learn a little bit from each other's specialization. For instance, to be able to finish a committed user story until the end of the Sprint, a developer should willingly write and execute tests, and consult the tester whenever necessary.

The roles of the Scrum Team members are not compartmentalized like the architect, the developer, the tester, and so on. They all share the same title, "Scrum Team Member" regardless of their core personal competencies.

Size of the Scrum Team

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

Note that if the Scrum Team contains more than nine members, your team will most probably suffer due to excessive overhead of alignment and communication. And yet, there is no one size fits all answer. Your Scrum Teams may still productively function even if they have less than five or more than nine members.

The only way to find this out is to test, learn, and adapt. If you find out that a team of 13 people cannot perform well enough, then these Scrum Teams need to be split into two teams. These Scrum Teams should closely align, and they correlate their goals and user stories. Besides that, they work independently.

Collocation

To minimize unnecessary communication overhead, each Scrum Team should be collocated. If the work has to spread over multiple geographical locations, independent Scrum Teams need to be created. These teams need to align and correlate their goals and user stories.

Responsibilities of the Scrum Team

The Scrum Team has specific responsibilities they need to fulfill:

  • They have to breakdown the user stories, create tasks, define priorities and estimates, and they self-organize the implementation. In other words, they have to create, process, and deliver the Sprint Backlog.
  • They have to perform Daily Scrum Meetings.
  • They have to ensure that at the end of the Sprint, potentially shippable product increment is delivered and demonstrated.
  • They have to update the status and the remaining work efforts for their tasks to allow the creation of a Sprint Burndown Diagram.

What Is The Role Of The Scrum Team? This Might Surprise You!

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