Scrum Guide

Introduction to Scrum Team and Roles

Introduction to Scrum Team and Roles

Unlike other Agile frameworks like Kanban or linear planning methodologies like Waterfall, Scrum relies heavily on team roles. Scrum team members are critical for enabling quick delivery, facilitating a clear understanding of duties, and upholding Scrum principles. There are three main human Scrum roles. Let’s explore these distinct but critical titles.

What are the three Scrum roles?

Scrum team structure involves three distinct roles. The three Scrum roles are:

  1. Product owner 
  2. Scrum master
  3. Development team

These Scrum roles are often different from official job titles, meaning that the development team, for example, can be comprised of testers, designers, programmers, and more. 


How do Scrum teams work?

A Scrum team is typically made up of “ten or fewer people,” as outlined by the Scrum Guide. However, the team’s size depends mainly on the project in view. The objective of the Scrum framework is to deliver value to the end-user by following a structure for iterative planning and fast delivery.

For Scrum to be effective, there has to be strong communication, accountability, and collaboration between team members. Here are other important characteristics of high-performing Scrum teams.

  • Transparency: Product owners specifically need to be clear and precise when distilling information about the product backlog and customer/stakeholder priorities. The development team should also be transparent about roadblocks and impediments so they can be resolved quickly. 
  • Accountability: Members of the Scrum team are accountable to themselves and to the delivery of the final sprint goal.
  • Self-organization: Every member of the team should understand their role and responsibilities and be proactive in problem-solving.

Scrum events and meetings

Scrum team members should understand what role they play and how their participation in each Scrum event brings them closer to the sprint goal and overall project goal. 

The events and meetings Scrum teams attend are:

  • Scrum sprint planning meeting: This occurs before every Scrum sprint. Here the Scrum team works together to determine the goal of the sprint and establish details around capacity and workload. 

  • Daily stand-up meetings: As the name suggests, this meeting happens every day during a Sprint. It is a short, time-boxed event and serves to update the rest of the team about individual progress and impediments.

  • Scrum of Scrums meetings: This meeting is an example of Scrum at Scale happens two to three times a week — depending on the group’s preference. Scrum of Scrums doesn’t require the attendance of every team member. Ideally, one representative from each Scrum team in the organization will meet to synchronize efforts, discuss interdependencies, and inform each other of potential cross-team impediments.

  • Sprint review: A sprint review happens at the end of the sprint. Team members come together to offer feedback and review the outcome of the sprint.

  • Sprint retrospective: The purpose of the sprint retrospective is to increase the quality and effectiveness of the next sprint by reviewing the issues that arose from the previous sprint. This enables teams to improve and overcome any process obstacles that proved tricky during the sprint. 

Product owner

A product owner acts as a mini CEO. Think of them as a decision-maker, liaison for the stakeholder, and advocate for the customer’s needs. A product owner’s responsibilities include:

  • Defining the sprint goal: A product owner prioritizes the backlog according to the product roadmap. With the help of the rest of the Scrum team, the product owner establishes the goal and priorities for the next sprint.

  • Managing the product backlog: The product backlog consists of features, user stories, tasks, and deliverables. It is the product owner’s responsibility to make sure the backlog is regularly refined.

  • Creating a product vision: The product owner is also the owner of the product vision. The product vision is a statement that outlines the ideal customer, the product execution and mission, as well as its purpose and end-user value. 
Read more
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How To Get the Most Out of Stand Up Meetings


What Is an Agile Scrum Master?

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Fundamentals of the Scrum Methodology

Scrum master

Often viewed as the facilitator, the Scrum master is a servant-leadership position within the Scrum team. The Scrum master’s responsibilities include:

  • Facilitating Agile Scrum principles: The Scrum master is in charge of upholding and training team members on Agile Scrum principles and enforcing its application. They keep the product owner and development team on the Agile track as needed. The Scrum master also facilitates Scrum events like the daily stand-up meeting. Often, they coordinate the time, venue, participants, and any other factor necessary for the success of the meeting.

  • Coaching The Scrum master acts as a guide for the Scrum team, making sure they are focusing on the sprint goal and collaborating effectively with other members of the team

  • Removing roadblocks and distractions: In cases where external influences start to affect the team’s deliverables, it is the job of the Scrum master to ensure that these distractions are eliminated.

  • Mediating: Sometimes, the development team and product owner have disagreements. The Scrum master can often help resolve these issues. 

Development team

Unlike the other roles, the development team isn’t a person but a group of people. They are the technical part of the Scrum team. They are experts in their specific field and can be UX designers, front-end developers, quality testers, etc. The project type will determine the roles needed on the development team, so there isn’t a template for it. The characteristics of a development team are:

  • Experts: The development team needs skilled experts or people with knowledge of how to carry out the project’s technical requirements.

  • Accountable: The development team is held accountable for a missed deliverable or an error in the end product. As they are the team’s technical part, any issue that may arise from the product delivery itself is linked to the development team.

  • Self-organizing: The development team, like the rest of the Scrum team, is self-organizing. This means that they take ownership of their individual tasks and are proactive in problem-solving. It is necessary that every development team member is able to organize their tasks, complete daily work on the product, attend meetings and meet deadlines

  • Cross-functional: The development team includes people who have different skills needed to achieve the product goals. 

Building successful Scrum teams with Wrike

Scrum enhances product delivery speed and empowers teams to deliver the best. Scrum roles help make that happen. 

The product owner makes key decisions about how product development will advance, the Scrum master facilitates the successful implementation of Agile Scrum processes and principles, and the development team handles the technical work. Together, they work to achieve the sprint goal.

Agile project management software can unlock any Scrum team’s potential. Wrike Agile project management software enables product owners to manage the backlog and efficiently liaise with stakeholders. Subtasks allow development teams to manage work at a granular level and Scrum masters can ensure the team is leveraging digital project management tools effectively with Wrike’s flexible and easy-to-use features. 

Learn more about tools and software for Scrum teams further in this guide.

Further reading
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Scrum for Newbies: How to Use Scrum to Tame Chaos


What Is Scrum in Project Management?