There are three fundamental roles in Scrum, which make up the scrum team :

  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner
  • The Development Team

Scrum teams are cross functional and self organising. When we say cross functional, it means that scrum teams are comprised of cross functional members, including software engineers, testers, QA experts, architects, UI designers and hence they have all the competencies to complete their tasks without depending on someone from outside. And being self organising scrum team know how to accomplish the best of their work without being directed by others.

The Scrum Master

The scrum master is a person who makes sure that scrum team adheres to scrum principles: theory, practices and rules. He acts as a facilitator for both the scrum team and the product owner. According to “Scrum Guides”, scrum master has been titled as a Servant-Leader for the scrum team.  The quality of best scrum master is that he feels satisfied in facilitating others in their work. The traditional project manager role is very different than the role of scrum master. And it is never a good idea to put the same person as a scrum master who has previously leaded the same team as project manager. As in that case team will keep coming to scrum master for instructions for the work, while by definition scrum teams should be Self Organising and they should interact with other teams, departments and external entities by themselves.

Become a Certified Scrum Master and improve your chances of recruitment. Here is How to become a certified Scrum Master. 

Responsibilities of Scrum Master 

Scrum Master has the three main responsibilities that he should serve the product owner, the development team and the organization. Below I have described what kind of services he has to provide to each of these roles and what are the responsibilities of scrum master related to them.

a- Service to the Product Owner

Scrum master helps product owner in following ways:

  • Finding effective techniques for product backlog management.
  • Ensuring the product owner knows they way to prioritise the backlog.
  • Helping product owner in understanding and practicing agility.

b- Service to the Development Team

  • Removes the impediments in the way of the development team.
  • Helping the development team understand the need for clear and concise backlog items.
  • Coaching the development team organisation and cross functionality.
  • Helping the development team to create high value products.
  • Facilitating the scrum events as requested or needed.

c- Service to the Organisation  

The scrum master also serves the organization in several ways :

  • Coaching the organization in its scrum adoption.
  • Planning and implementing Scrum within organization.
  • Helping employees and stakeholder to understand the scrum.
  • Co-ordinating with other scrum masters to work towards increasing the effectiveness of the scrum with the organization.

The Product Owner

Product Owner serves the combined duties of both the Product and Project Manager. The role of the product owner is to increase the value of the product and the work of the development team. He is the person who is responsible for the success of the project. Product owner outlines and prioritise the work in Product Backlog, depending on its value in the business. But besides that he also represents the wish of the customers and stakeholders. So in order to achieve all this Product Owner needs to work closely with the Scrum Development Team and must respect team’s ability to create its own plan of action. For the same reason product owner is not allowed to change the Sprint Log in the middle of sprint. If the product owner needs to make any alterations in the plans, he needs to wait for the next Sprint Planning Meeting. While making product backlog, although product owner keeps the teams desire in consideration, but still no one in the team is allowed to change the backlog or the priority of items in backlog except Product Owner.

All in all the product owner has following responsibilities to full fill :

  • Managing the Product Backlog.
  • Managing Stakeholders.
  • Managing Product Release.
  • Working closely with Scrum Team.

The Development Team

The development team is the team of professionals who work towards the delivery of the product or product increments during the sprint. The development teams are self-organizing and they are not dependant on other teams or departments to convert the items in the product backlog in to the deliverable increments. The development teams are cross functional, they are equipped with all the skills and includes all the roles necessary to successfully implement the product. But unlike the traditional development team, in scrum the team is not divided into roles such as designers, testers, architects or programmers rather they work and interact together on the tasks assigned within the sprint. Thus they all are known as “developers”.

The optimal size of the development team varies between 5-9. If the size of the team will be smaller than they might lack some skills essential to develop the complete product. Similarly in case of the large teams, it will be difficult for the team members to coordinate with each other efficiently. If the team will be too large much of the effort will be wasted on managing the team instead of focusing on the tasks.