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When implementing Scrum for the first time, it can get a bit confusing on how to apply the Scrum Team roles in the most effective manner. Should all team members get new titles, should new people be added to the team, or should everything remain the same?
To make sure you have a smooth transition, let’s explore these questions as well as look over what each Scrum Team role is meant for.
Before we begin, check out this article if you want more information on Scrum as a practice:
To better understand the Scrum Team roles, let us first define what is a Scrum Team. According to the Scrum guide:
So, A Scrum Team is a small cross-functional and self-managing group of people able to create value during each Sprint. It is the Scrum Team that decides what is being done, by who, and when. To keep such a team effective, it is recommended that it is composed of no more than 10 people. This means dividing larger teams into several units using the same Product Goal, Backlog, and Owner.
The Scrum Team is responsible for all product-related activities and executes them within the structure of Sprints. There are 3 key accountabilities defined as the Scrum Team roles – Developers, Product Owner, and Scrum Master.
Let’s see what each of them is about.
The Developers are the largest group of people on any Scrum Team. These are the team members that actually complete the Product Increment during the Sprint.
Despite the name, these can be any type of professionals that are required for the product – from engineering to marketing. Developers is simply the name reflecting the development of the Product Increment during a Sprint.
The Product Owner is 1 person on the team responsible for the outcome of the product. It is their responsibility to prioritize and communicate the stakeholder needs to the Scrum Team.
To do so, the Product Owner registers all the required improvements in the Product Backlog, adds information to make them understandable, and prioritizes them for the team. Using the Product Backlog, Product Goal, and Product Increments they are maximizing the value of the product.
It is important to understand that the Product Owner is not in charge of the Scrum Team. Their main responsibility is to effectively communicate the Product Goal and priorities. While the Developers organize themselves in trying to reach this goal.
The Scrum Master is the third and last of the 3 Scrum roles. This is also a 1-person role that supports the Scrum Team in the implementation of Scrum.
It is important to understand that this role is intended as a master of Scrum, not a master of the Scrum Team. And as such, this should be filled by the most knowledgable Scrum practitioner on the team, not just offloaded to the former manager. The Scrum Master’s role is to help the team to understand Scrum and improve their practices in order to present better results.
You can often find Scrum Masters working in several teams at a time and helping organizations go through the Scrum transformation.
Looking for a one-page summary of all that is Scrum? Grab our Scrum cheat sheet!
So, now that you know what the Scrum Team roles entail, you may be thinking, but what about the job titles of my team? Should they be changed? Do I need additional people to take the Product Owner and the Scrum Master roles? What other changes are there?
Well, the short answer is none. Adding in the Scrum roles does not change the job titles of the team members and it does not require additional people as long as your current team has the experience for the newly added responsibilities. If you already have all the competencies in your current team, simply assign the roles to the team members and begin your Scrum journey.
However, if you are unsure about certain roles, consider asking for help. For most new Scrum Teams the most important and difficult-to-fill role is the one of a Scrum Master. As it requires quite a bit of knowledge and experience with Scrum. Thus, you will often see organizations and teams adding in outside experts to help them set up the initial process.
In such cases, the Scrum Master role is filled by an outside consultant that helps the entire organization during the transformation. They then coach the current team members who gradually take over the roles themselves.
Ready to start your own Scrum journey with your team? Consider using an Agile project management solution like Teamhood to make the transition even smoother.
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