Scrum team roles

Scrum team roles can be confusing for a lot of people starting up. Here is a clear-cut guide on what the roles are and which one you will need.

Scrum team roles

Scrum team roles are clear, defined, and not complicated. Their responsibilities are also specific and the communication between each other is not formal.

We will also focus on what makes a good starting scrum team for a small startup so you can easily get started.

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Scrum team roles are NOT part of the organizational chart - they are not job titles. They are roles that you play in a scrum team. For all we care, a marketing assistant can be a business analyst if the product permits.

Main scrum team roles

There are three main roles in the scrum team:

  1. The development team
  2. The scrum master
  3. The product owner

The development team

Scrum team roles

Is basically anyone that will help implement the project. The better part of a development team in a tech startup is usually the engineers themselves, but do not forget everyone else. For me, the development team also includes UX/UI designers, QA's, business analysts. Think of anyone that will help push the project forward in the course of the sprint.

IF you deliver something in a sprint THEN you are part of the dev team.

The scrum master

Scrum team roles

One of the key important roles in the scrum team. The scrum master is one person that follows the scrum ceremonies. This important team member:

  1. Makes sure that the development team is enabled to do their job.
  2. Takes care that all the sprint ceremonies (or internal processes) are followed.
  3. Enables the product owner to do the job.
  4. Is a key communicator and a key person that connects everyone together.
  5. Follows the key values of scrum.
Scrum team roles
The key values of scrum, supplied by scrum.org. What a scrum master should follow to the dot

A lot of people recommend junior scrum master. For me, a scrum master is a person with a spine, with a lot of experience in the tech industry that can "smell" trouble one mile away.

The product owner

Scrum team roles

As the name suggests, it is someone that owns the product. This person has the vision to understand how the product will get where it needs to be and prioritizes the backlog accordingly. The key responsibilities are:

  1. Makes sure that the key features or bugs are prioritized accordingly
  2. Manages the stakeholders and especially their expectations
  3. Handles the releases and when they happen so that all stakeholders are informed.

Your product needs a good product owner. No one else will make sure that it goes correctly.

What is a good starting point?

There is no correct way to handle it, but I usually follow these guidelines:

  1. You need at least one person to handle the product owner role and scrum master. In the very beginning, these do not need to be different people. Experience is key here. If your product is very technical, then get someone technical. If your developers are fairly junior, then get someone senior so that at least the processes are properly followed.
  2. Your dev team needs to have 2 members per role. Say that you have a website for a product. If this is developed by a full-stack developer, then consider having one for developing new features and one for developing bugs. These do not have to be full-time developer, and it can easily be filled by one person based on the load, but make sure that their time is equally divided into getting the product forward and fixing technical dept issues.

Is this clear for you? Let me know if this needs more information or examples.