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Agile Scrum Team – Roles & Responsibilities

Posted by Tara Hamilton-Whitaker on August 12, 2009

The Scrum Team is responsible for the high-quality and timely delivery of sprint commitments in line with the expectations of the Product Manager and Product Owner.

The Scrum Team is cross-functional and multi-skilled– they know their strengths and work together to support eachother through challenging times. They’re not all experts in every area, however between them they have a wide range of abilities and areas of expertise.

The Scrum Team takes responsible for their commitments and are held singularly accountable for their actions and decisions – they are as one.

The Scrum Team works closely with their Product Manager – approaching him/her for guidance and confirmation and reassurance/acceptance during the course of the Sprint. The Scrum Team demonstrate their output to the Product Manager and relevant Product Owner(s) and Stakeholders at the end of each Sprint – this is when they are granted/denied approval for having achieved their pre-agreed Sprint Objectives.

The Scrum Team self-organise in order to deliver Sprint commitments. This may include introducing Work in Play Limits, Team Rules and Team Traditions. This may also include Pair Programming – they do whatever is required in order to deliver the highest quality/value output during a sprint.

The Scrum Team strive to better themselves and their output with each sprint whilst maintaining a sustainable pace.

There are two animal roles in Scrum (I’m still unsure about this particular idea! : oP) The Scrum Team are known as ‘Pigs’, whilst eveyone else (observers) are known as ‘Chickens‘…

A chicken and a pig are together when the chicken says, “Let’s start a restaurant”. The pig thinks it over and says, “what would we call this restaurant?”. The chicken says, “Ham n’ Eggs”. The pig says, “No thanks, I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved.”

Key Characteristics of a Scrum Team

  • Intensely collaborative
  • Self-organising
  • Empowered by eachother and by Management
  • Committed to delivering their Sprint Goals
  • Trusting of one another
  • Make decisions as a Team
  • Constructive in their criticism of themselves and eachother
  • Creative and innovative
  • Responsible and accountable
  • Business-value oriented
  • Reliable
  • Multi-skilled
  • Self-disciplined

Key Responsibilities of the Scrum Team

Requirements Workshop

  • Question the Product Manager/Product Owner to ensure they fully understand the requirements of the Product Owner and end-user
  • Provide top-level effort estimates (e.g. T-shirt sizing) where required to assist the Product Manager with the prioritisation process
  • Offer insight into the risks/issues with requirements requiring further consideration or clarification
  • Take note of requirements that may need a degree of technical investigation/review in advance of the effort estimation (Sprint Planning) workshop

Poker Planning

  • Work as a team to agree the level of effort required to deliver each story
  • Share concerns/considerations that may assist with the estimation process e.g. the team members offering the highest and lowest estimates on a particular requirement will explain their rationale and re-estimate until a consensus has been reached.

Sprint Planning

  • Agree a set of Sprint Objectives with the Product Manager
  • Work together to agree a set of achievable Sprint Commitments (i.e. User Stories)
  • Work together to define a Sprint Delivery Strategy, which may include breaking User Stories into tasks and estimating them in hours
  • Consult the Product Manager when defining the Sprint delivery strategy to ensure that requirements are fully understood and addressed

Daily Scrum

  • Ensure that all Task Cards/Story Cards are updated with revised estimates/status prior to the Daily Scrum
  • Ensure that the burndown chart is updated and available for all to see prior to the Daily Scrum
  • Inform one another of what they’ve achieved since the last Scrum and what they’re planning to do that day
  • Highlight dependencies between Sprint activities e.g. “once you’re done with that, can you let me know so I can start the next bit?”
  • Highlight any impediments or blockages that may prevent them from proceeding as planned
  • Highlight any known risks that have a high likelihood of being realised during the course of the sprint
  • Agree to branch off into smaller discussion groups after the Daily Scrum, where appropriate
  • Be accountable to one another for their individual sprint commitment and participation
  • Arrive on time and keep it short!

Sprint Review

  • Demonstrate Sprint deliverables to the Product Owner
  • Offer insight into sprint challenges and achievements so the Product Owner/Product Manager are aware when the team have overcome barriers or pulled out all the stops to deliver their objectives

Sprint Retrospective

  • Discuss what went well, what didn’t go so well and what they will do (together and individually) to improve performance in the following sprint.
  • Be supportive to one another and encourage openness and honesty

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