It is imperative for each member of a project team to know what he/she is supposed to do in a project. Not just that, each member should also be aware of what other members of the team are supposed to do. An explicit definition of roles and responsibilities is mandatory for the successful delivery of any project and delivering projects using Scrum is no exception.
In this read context, we are going to focus on the core roles in a Scrum project and how each role contributes to and impacts a project’s success.
So, what are the Scrum Core Roles?
There are three core roles in Scrum that are ultimately responsible for meeting the project objectives. The core roles are the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Scrum Team. Together they are referred to as the Scrum Core Team. It is important to note that, of these three roles, no role has authority over the others.
Let us go through these core roles one by one.
The Product Owner
The Product Owner represents the interests of the stakeholder community to the Scrum Team. The Product Owner is responsible for ensuring clear communication of product or service functionality requirements to the Scrum Team, defining Acceptance Criteria, and ensuring those criteria are met.
In other words, the Product Owner is responsible for ensuring that the Scrum Team delivers value. The Product Owner must always maintain a dual view. He or she must understand and support the needs and interests of all stakeholders, while also understanding the needs and workings of the Scrum Team. Because the Product Owner must understand the needs and priorities of the stakeholders, including customers and users, this role is commonly referred to as the Voice of the Customer.
The Scrum Master
The Scrum Master is a facilitator who ensures that the Scrum Team is provided with an environment conducive to completing the product’s development successfully. The Scrum Master guides, facilitates, and teaches Scrum practices to everyone involved in the project; clears impediments for the team; and, ensures that Scrum processes are being followed.
Note that the Scrum Master role is very different from the role played by the Project Manager in a traditional Waterfall model of project management, in which the Project Manager works as a manager or leader for the project. The Scrum Master only works as a facilitator and he or she is at the same hierarchical level as anyone else in the Scrum Team—any person from the Scrum Team who learns how to facilitate Scrum projects can become the Scrum Master for a project or for a Sprint.
The Scrum Team
The Scrum Team is a group or team of people who are responsible for understanding the business requirements specified by the Product Owner, estimating User Stories, and finally creating the project Deliverables.
It is important for the Scrum Team to possess all the essential skills required to carry out the work of the project. It is also necessary to have a high level of collaboration to maximize productivity so that minimal coordination is required to get things done.
The optimum size for a Scrum Team is six to ten members—large enough to ensure adequate skill sets, but small enough to collaborate easily.