Be Agile and Learn All the Different Roles in the Scrum Team Structure

By Nathan Cavet
Published: 3/18/21
definition backgroundBe Agile and Learn All the Different Roles in the Scrum Team Structure

What is the Scrum Team structure? It might vary from one company to another, however, the scrum team has a clear definition.

Its definition is simple: it is an organized group of people who participate in the realization of a project, following the principles of the Scrum framework. It is part of the large family of agile processes and requires few things to work effectively in your company.

Is it that "simple" in practice? The functioning of such a team requires specific knowledge about the Scrum model, and in particular about the distribution of roles and responsibilities. The Scrum team takes a different approach toward the traditional team architecture.

You are working in project mode, and would like to know more about the application of the Scrum methodology within your team? Whatever your practice of agility or your level of expertise, it is essential to know how to clarify the roles of each team member, in order to gain efficiency.

This is the role of this article: to untangle the interactions within the team, in order to better understand "who does what" in the Scrum project universe!

Ready? Go!

The Scrum team structure

Who is part of the Scrum team?

You have decided to run your project according to the Scrum framework, in order to bring more flexibility and reactivity to your project.

This implies respecting a certain number of rules defined in the Scrum Guide, which contains all the key principles for an efficient application of the method. The composition of the team is one of them.

Scrum Teams are cross-functional, meaning the members have all the skills necessary to create value each Sprint. They are also self-managing, meaning they internally decide who does what, when, and how.

© Scrum Guide

Any Scrum team must have 3 distinct players, which are embodied by one or more people:

  • 👤 a product owner
  • 👥 a development team,
  • 👤 a Scrum master.

💡 Multidisciplinary means that all the required skills are present within the team and that no third-party is needed in order to complete the project.

How the Scrum Team works

To accomplish its work, the team must be self-organized, meaning it must be able to carry out its project in total autonomy. For this to be possible, the team:

  • does not depend on other external actors,
  • makes each of its members accountable,
  • is very well organized to optimize the synergy between its members,
  • has all the skills and expertise necessary for the project,
  • manages the functional, organizational and technical aspects.

A Scrum team's organizational ability and complementarity are the two main ingredients of its success.

💫 The team is the engine of the project, around which other elements revolve, including:

The size of a Scrum team

As the Scrum Guide indicates, the scrum team structure must be between 3 and 9 members. The purpose is to remain efficient and reactive (not including the product owner and the Scrum master). Beyond that, the team could encounter coordination and communication difficulties, thus impacting its speed and agility.

Hence, the team model may vary slightly in size, yet 3 key roles are always essential components to keep the project on track. Let's look at these in more detail.

What are the roles of Scrum?

The role of the Product Owner

The role of the Product Owner (PO) in Scrum is to develop a product that meets the customer's expectations as closely as possible, in accordance with the budget and time constraints imposed. The PO has a determining role in the success of the project, at the crossroads between:

  • the company's vision,
  • the customer's demands,
  • user expectations,
  • and the technical realization of the product.

As keeper of the product vision, they make sure to bring the highest possible quality.

✓ The PO has a wide range of activities and responsibilities, including:

  • writing and prioritizing the backlog for which they have exclusive management,
  • receiving and understanding customer needs,
  • identifying the appropriate features and translating them to the technical team,
  • following the product development steps,
  • ensuring the progress of the sprint,
  • ensuring the proper alignment of the stakeholders with the developed product.

The role of the development team

The role of this team, with its varied skills, is to develop the best possible product. Depending on the organization, it can be composed of profiles such as:

  • developers,
  • architects,
  • business analysts,
  • testers,
  • UX designers, etc.

All these operational profiles are complementary and contribute to the project, according to their specialization. The implementation team is also responsible for the quality of the delivered product.

✓ The development team has different activities and responsibilities, including:

  • studying the requirements,
  • Writing User Stories and estimating story points to assess the workload,
  • developing the product,
  • performing tests,
  • determining its own organization in complete autonomy,
  • being in a constant process of continuous improvement.

The role of the Scrum Master

The role of the Scrum Master is to facilitate exchanges and to strive for greater efficiency. As an expert in the Scrum model, they are the guarantor of its proper application. Depending on the organization and the context, they can be an integral part of the development team or hold this position in their own right.

✔ The Scrum Master has several activities and responsibilities, such as:

  • coordinating the development team and guiding them to success,
  • writing reports and tracking metrics,
  • helping the Product Owner manage the backlog and make decisions, sharing product direction,
  • ensuring the smooth running of scrum ceremonies,
  • ensuring that the developers understand the expectations,
  • removing obstacles and mediating in case of conflict.

Tips for an effective Scrum project team

If followed and applied properly, the Scrum framework provides all the conditions to ensure the success of your project. There are different ways to adapt the scrum team structure and build subteams that can change how your company is working. At the end of the day, what really matters is to find the system you feel comfortable working with.

To go further and stay efficient in your project management, here are our last tips for the optimal functioning of your Scrum team:

  • Learning the principles of the Scrum methodology to know how to apply them and better segment the roles of each person.

  • Making sure that the team size is adapted to the project scope and that it contains all the necessary skills.

  • Making sure that each member understands the project's stakes and the product vision, to spur the continuous improvement process.

  • Encouraging collaboration and solidarity: all team members will benefit from helping each other and taking joint responsibility for the quality of the product.

  • Equipping yourself with the right tools, such as project management software compatible with the Scrum principles and constraints in order to better coordinate the team and remain effective in the agile management of the project.

Finally, the whole Scrum team tends towards a common goal: working together to develop the best product capable of satisfying users' expectations.

Do you feel more at ease now navigating the Scrum universe? Let us know if you are used to working with this method!

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