Roles in a scrum project team

What are the roles needed in a Scrum Project Team?

Scrum project management offers a framework for your projects; it’s a set course of action rather than being a theory to implement. When you move from traditional project management to Scrum, you need to know what team roles are needed.

Scrum is a different way of running a project day-to-day and needs everyone to be on board with the process. We’re going to look at:

  • How Scrum will feel different for your team
  • What roles are required to make Scrum a success
  • The type of person best suited to the defined roles

Meaning you’ll be able to put together the best team for the project.

What does Scrum look and feel like

The Scrum framework sets out guiding principles for how a project will be run. Scrum is all about your team learning together and collaborating in a flexible way, rather than being bound by tight processes.

A Scrum project starts with one person laying out the requirements, that’s the Product Owner. From there, the Scrum team work under the leadership of a Scrum Master in a “sprint” to complete the project. Each day there’ll be a Scrum; a fifteen-minute stand-up meeting to deliver news of changes, confirm everything’s on track, and restate goals.

Sprints should be a time of collaboration and collective understanding and growth. Rather than following standard workflows, a sprint can adapt to changing circumstances and needs a team that’s open to change. It’s a challenge to move from waterfall management to Scrum, but it’s eminently doable.

Who’s on a Scrum team?

There are three key roles in a Scrum team, each requiring different skills and characteristics. Assigning these roles will take some analysis of the people working on your project to ensure its success.

The product owner

This role is different from the product manager; it’s not usual to assign the role of product owner to the product manager because there are different interests that need to be represented.

The product owner is there to advocate for and protect the interests of the:

  • Business
  • Customer
  • Market requirements

To ensure that a product that is actually needed will be delivered.

What tasks need to be completed and by whom will be decided by the product owner. When the product, or its component pieces, will ship is also in the hands of the product owner.

A great product owner will understand the deliverable and what users need from it, will have strong communication skills to mediate between stakeholders and developers, and will work to get the best out of the team completing the sprint. Having an eye on the bottom line and market trends is also imperative.

The Scrum Master

The role of Scrum Master requires someone who understands the technicalities of a project and can communicate them succinctly. They also need to be an expert in the Scrum methodology because it’s their job to ensure the framework is adhered to.

The type of person you want as you Scrum Master is someone with:

  • Technical skills in the project area
  • A position of influence within the team
  • The ability to allocate schedules and resources well
  • Excellent communication skills

You can understand more about the role in our article dedicated to the details of the Scrum Master role.

Scrum development team

A development team is made up of the people who will create the end product of the project; the ones who complete the sprint. In this team you’ll have the skills needed to get the job done.

Your development team will need to work collaboratively, one of the key indicators of a Scrum development team is collective responsibility for all actions. Other important characteristics of your Scrum team are:

  • Self-organisation
  • Autonomous working
  • Highly motivated
  • Technically skilled
  • Located close together

The Scrum Team take away

The team roles needed in a Scrum project are clearly defined and this should make managing or overseeing a team using the Scrum framework easy. That’s in theory, although there will be challenges along the way.

Picking the right people, with the right skills and understanding of the business and the deliverables is important when wanting to pick your Scrum team. With the right people in place, running a Scrum team should become a smooth process.