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What are the Scrum Team Responsibilities? When a Company takes the bold step of moving from a Traditional IT setup to an Agile Environment, there are often teething problems because of the Culture Change. This is on several fronts:-.

  • the rest of the Organisation is still organised hierarchically and discover it hard to accept the way of Work of the Agile Teams.
  • the Traditional role-players within the IT Business Unit, such as Project Managers, feel threatened and redundant.
  • the Developers and Testers, who have to get to grips with the new method of Work.

Throughout the transition period, there requires to be thorough Change Management to produce understanding and consensus about how an Agile Team Works and Delivers. The Frameworks of Agile that have been chosen may make this journey easier; for example, if the business uses Lean to any extent, a Lean or Kanban Development Team will get greater Acceptance. This article takes a look at the Scrum Team from the viewpoints above.

How Scrum is Organised.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Scrum Framework, here is a synopsis of the Scrum Framework. A Scrum Project is performed by several small Teams, ranging from 6-9 members. The Team is Cross-Functional, other than for 2 specific Roles that are pivotal to the Scrum Team, the Product Owner (the Voice of the Customer) and the Scrum Master. The other Roles are Fluid and Team members can assume various Roles to fit the scenario.

The Work is broken down into Iterations called Sprints, that last from 2-6 weeks. The material of each Sprint is drawn from a Repository called the Product Backlog, which is Managed by the Product Owner. The Work is prioritised based on value, with highest Priority, most complicated and least-understood Items being assigned first, so that the most crucial Work is executed at the start of the Project.

The Project Meetings are an important Feature of Scrum. There are very clearly described Meetings that have specific outcomes. These are:-.

– ‘Sprint Planning’ – where Product Artefacts, like User Stories, are extracted from the Product Backlog, and assigned to the Sprint Backlog
– ‘Daily Scrum’ – a fifteen minute stake in the ground.
– ‘Sprint Review’ – On completion of a Sprint, a “show-and-tell” is held with all Stakeholders, where the Sprint output is demonstrated.
– ‘Sprint Retrospective’ – the efficiency of the Team and any improvements that might be used to the processes are discussed and used to improve the next Sprint. If this strategy is applied correctly, the Team’s performance should enhance Sprint by Sprint.

What you can get out of a Scrum Team.

The temptation is to compare Scrum Development to Traditional Development, however things are not that easy. This is a different, non-hierarchical and Collaborative kind of Working, although the objective is common – to Develop a Quality Software Product that satisfies the Customers’ Specification.

Below are the terms of reference for the Team as a whole, the Scrum Master and the Product Owner.

Scrum Team Responsibilities: The Scrum Team.

The Scrum Team is:.

  • A Small Team of 6-9 individuals.
  • An autonomous unit that is Self-Organising and Self-Managed.
  • Often organised as a Team simply for the current Product Development, who disband on conclusion, although it is suggested that the Team remains together for the next Scrum Project, as they have learnt to Work well together.
  • Plan the Work content for the Sprint in the Sprint Planning Meeting with the Product Owner.
  • They Work towards finishing the Sprint.
  • Do not have a Project Manager. The Team decide and act jointly
  • (Ideally) sit together in a dedicated area.
  • (Generally) a Jack of all trades, can move in between Roles, e.g. getting the User Story (atomic requirement) documented and later on Working as a Tester.
  • Develop through Tuckman’s 4 stages of Team development to end up being a Collaborative and effective Team.

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The Scrum Team is Not:.

  • Large Teams. Beyond the suggested size, if more resources are required, they need to be arranged into multiple Teams.
  • A group of Workers who are required to submit to pressures and directives from outside their Scrum Environment.
  • An irreversible Workforce. It is not a bad thing, however, to keep the Scrum Team a cohesive system for the next job.
  • Are designated Work packets by a Project Manager, based upon the Project Manager’s viewpoint.
  • They Work to Project due dates and milestones.
  • A Project Manager commands and manages the Project resources.
  • Sit in a space with coworkers with the very same Role, Job Description, e.g. Testers.
  • A professional in one thing, e.g. database design that does not acquire skills in the other domains.
  • Emphasis is on the person’s Development within the business, not as part of a Team.
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Scrum Team Responsibilities: The Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is:.

  • Promotes the message of Scrum to the external Stakeholders: is a Change and Communications Manager in this regard.
  • The Scrum Master offers assistance to the Team so that they can do their best Work.
  • Protects against outside interference.
  • Is the champion of the Scrum practice, and keeps the Team aligned with the Principles and Practices. i.e. the Scrum Quality Manager.
  • The Coach, who ensures that technical skills are enhanced where the Project needs it, for each Team member.

The Scrum Master is Not:.

  • Is not a Manager of individuals in the Team, but a co-worker.
  • Is not a Project Manager, and does not apply PMBOK, Prince2, MITP or any other Project Framework.
  • A trainer.

Scrum Team Responsibilities: The Product Owner

The Product Owner Is:.

  • The individual in the hot seat for successful Product delivery.
  • A Person with a comprehensive understanding of the Business and Works in the business.
  • An internal resource while the Product is being Developed.
  • Owns the Product Backlog and prioritizes its contents and ensures features align with the Minimum Viable Product.
  • Is fully committed to the Team and the Project while the Project is Under Development.
  • The arbiter on whether the Acceptance Criteria have been satisfied.
  • The person who authorises the release of a successful Sprint.
  • Able to cancel or stop the Sprint if they feel the situations require it.
  • A co-creator of the Product.
  • Responsible for ensuring ROI on the Project.

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The Product Owner is not:.

  • The recipient of the Product.
  • An IT resource.
  • The Product Manager, who is an external resource.
  • A Business Analyst.
  • An occasional visitor to the Team and is missing most of the time, Working on his day task.
  • A Manager.

These points merely provide an indication of who the Scrum Team are. Apart from the Sprint Retrospective, which is similar to the Project Retrospective or “Lessons Learnt” meeting in Project Management, the other Meetings, while keeping the Project on Track, are rather different and special to Scrum.

The Scrum Framework is best matched to Projects with a high level of unpredictability, such as Development of a completely new Product. As each Sprint is achieved, the Confidence Level and understanding increases. One also does not have to choose Scrum as the Agile Framework, Kanban permits for bigger Teams. The Scrum Master has the stewardship of the Scrum Practice and ensures adherence by the Team. If Sprints are executed as they should be, the Scrum Framework has a high success rate. If for some reason, the Project is deemed to be going off the rails, the Product Owner has the authority to cancel or suspend the Project. This can be done very quickly, and does not create the Waste of Time, Cost and Resources that an unsuccessful Traditional Project will accrue.

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