What is a Scrum Team? Structure, Roles, and Characteristics
A Scrum Team is a group of professionals working together to deliver the product increments. The Scrum framework or methodology facilitates communication and collaboration among team members to make sure the common goals are achieved. Typically, a scrum team involves five to ten individuals who break their backlog items to be completed within, time-boxed sprints or iterations (no longer than one month and most commonly two weeks).
The Scrum Team tracks progress in 15-minute time-boxed daily meetings, which are called daily scrums. At the end of the sprint, the team holds a sprint review, to demonstrate the work done, and a sprint retrospective to ensure continuous improvement.
In this article, we will answer the following questions;
- What is a Scrum Team?
- How to Build a Successful Scrum Team?
- What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum Team?
- What is a Scrum Environment?
What is a Scrum Team?
Each individual who is a part of a scrum team undertakes different tasks and responsibilities regarding the delivery of the product. The team members should work in close coordination because each role is inter-related. In order to achieve success, they should follow the same goal and show respect to each other.
How to Build a Successful Scrum Team?
Scrum framework encourages a high level of interactions among team members so that the team can:
- March towards a common goal
- Adhere to the agile principles
- Adhere to the scrum values
In order to build a successful team for product development, you need to get an understanding of the purpose and clarity.
Some of the questions you would want to consider are as follows;
- How you are going form the team?
- How the teams structured with the right mix of skillsets?
- How the responsibilities between the team’s members vary?
- Who are the members of the team?
- What do they bring to the table?
It is essential to bring clarity for each type of role and responsibilities in the scrum team as the team goes through multiple stages of formation (Tuckman model).
During the early stages of development, team members may not feel that they are in a perfectly safe environment and what is expected out of them.
It is indispensable that you provide a safe workplace environment for the team members to improve collaboration and face issues with trust and confidence. The team is often a good mix of cross-functional skills with development, business, and testing, and database knowledge.
The three main roles while forming the scrum team are the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development team.
Let’s go deeper and analyze each role by focusing on their roles, responsibilities, and characteristics.
Responsibilities of a Scrum Team
The Scrum Master is a facilitator who keeps the team together and removes any roadblocks to improve the team’s productivity. The Scrum Master and the team come together to review the commitments and evaluate the performance. Note that the Scrum Master involves coaching, guiding, and motivating the team rather than enforcing rules to them. The below are some of the responsibilities of the Scrum Master;
- Facilitating Scrum events
- Looking for impediments and resolving them for the team
- Have the team focus on their Sprint goals.
- Coach skill-sets that require improvement
- Ensure scrum policies are enforced (like DoR, DoD, etc.)
- Encourage engineering practices.
The Development team is guided by the Scrum Master and empowered by the organization to regulate and manage their own work. The below are some of the responsibilities of the Development Team;
- Commit to the sprint goal
- Plan the sprint
- Perform Sprint Execution
- Inspect and Adapt based on learnings
- Refine Product backlog to a better understanding
- Implement the engineering practices
The Product Owner is a team member who is responsible for defining the product vision and translating the customer’s requests and values back to the Scrum Team. The below are some of the responsibilities of the Product Owner;
- Defining the product vision
- Managing the product backlog
- Defining prioritizing
- Overseeing the product development
- Evaluating product increment at each iteration
- Acting as a liaison between product, end-users, and other stakeholders
What is a Scrum Environment?
Scrum Teams are self-organizing in the environment that delivers working software to the customers. Self-organization is an abstract term at face value and does not provide a clear understanding of the responsibilities. However, over a period, the team becomes more and more talented in understanding and adapting to solve problems on their own (as well by collaborating). If you see the environment has some powerful roles like Scrum Master, or the Agile Coach for that matter, is not who can help the team solve the problem for themselves. Every problem presents the occasion for a team to grow their ability to solve the challenges thereby learning.
Instead of allocating or helping the team on work assignments or solving problems for the team, have the team come up with solutions themselves. Scrum Master or Agile coach should play a pivotal role in getting the best of out the team. The value of a great Scrum Master or an agile coach is that he/she is capable to ask powerful questions that are needed to help a team understand what the cause of the problem is and the possible solutions.
Note that the environment plays a key role in bringing the best of the teams and the Scrum master, product owner, and other stakeholders should encourage fail fast and learning from mistakes. The team needs to feel physiologically safe while taking risks and do experiments. As you may be aware, the team will be dealing with many challenges and hurdles both internally and externally. The stakeholders and the management need to be supportive enough to get the help needed for the team to tide through tougher times.
Scrum framework facilitates delivering working software fast to the customers with enhanced value. In this article, we answered the question”What is a Scrum Team?” and discussed the responsibilities of team members. Although investment in time and money involved while forming a team from the scratch or ramping up, a clear understanding of the purpose, roles, and clarity will certainly help you in forming a great team.
So what are some of the factors you considered while forming a great team?
Share your thoughts with the community through the comments section below.
Ramkumar Arumugam is working as a Sr. Program Manager with 15+ years of success in leading all phases of diverse technology IT Projects in retail, e-commerce, insurance and pharma market research industries. He is a regular contributor to projectcubicle.com