What is a Scrum Team? Structure, Roles and Characteristics
A Scrum Team is a collection of individuals working together to deliver the product increments. The Scrum framework or methodology encourages a high level of communication among team members, so that the team can work towards a common goal. It is often designed for teams of ten or fewer members, 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 sprint review, to demonstrate the work done, and sprint retrospective to continuously improve.
In this article, you will learn
- Making of a Scrum team.
- Responsibilities of a Scrum team.
- Ecosystem of Scrum team.
Ok, let’s start.
Forming a 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
When you begin the journey of creating a Scrum team for a product development, it is always helpful to get an understanding of the purpose and clarity.
Some of the questions you would want to consider is
- 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 very important to bring in clarity for each of the roles present in the scrum team as the team goes to the multiple stages of formation (Tuckman model). During 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 imperative that you provide a safe environment for the team to collaborate and face the uncertainties with trust and confidence. The team is always 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.
Responsibilities of a Scrum Team
The below are some of the responsibilities of the Scrum Team by Roles,
- Facilitating Scrum events
- Looking for impediments and resolving it 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.
- Commit to sprint goal
- Plan the sprint
- Perform Sprint Execution
- Inspect and Adapt based on learnings
- Refine Product backlog to better understanding
- Implement the engineering practices
- 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
Ecosystem of Scrum Team
Scrum Teams are self-organizing in the eco system that delivers working software. Self-organization is an abstract term at face value and does not provide clear understanding of the responsibilities. However, over a period, team becomes increasingly capable through inspecting and adapting to solve problems on their own (as well by collaborating). If you see the ecosystem 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 there by 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 problem and feasible 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 need to feel physiologically safe while taking risks and do experiments. As you may be aware, Scrum 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.
In this article, we answered “What is a Scrum Team?” and discussed the responsibilities of team members. Although an investment in time and money involved while forming a scrum team from the scratch or ramping up, a clear understanding on the purpose, roles and clarity will certainly help you in forming the great team.
So what are some of the factors you considered while forming a great team?
Share your thoughts with the communitythrough the comments section below.
Ramkumar Arumugam is an experienced 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 currently working as Senior Program Manager in Cognizant and holds multiple certifications including PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSPO, CSP and ICP-ACC.He is a regular contributor to projectcubicle.com.