Scrum team roles

Girls with a scrum board


The Scrum Team members mutually respect their independence and competency. Everyone undertakes to achieve the goals of the Scrum Team. Members of the Scrum Team have the courage to do the right thing and overcome the difficulties. Everyone in the Scrum Team is focused on working in Sprint and the goals of the Scrum Team. The Scrum Team and stakeholders agree to remain open to all aspects of work and the challenges associated with it. This team model was designed to improve flexibility, creativity and productivity. It helps improving the effectiveness in any kind of complex work.

Within the Scrum framework three team roles are defined: Product Owner, Development Team and Scrum Master. Each of the above-mentioned roles has a clearly defined set of responsibilities.


The Product Owner is a main role within the Scrum Framework. Most of the responsibilities of the classical product and project managers are combined within this single role. He has a significant role in quality control.

The PO is one person, not a committee. He can consider desires of a committee when managing the Product Backlog, but those wanting to change a Product Backlog item’s priority must ask the Product Owner. In order for the Product Owner to succeed, the entire organization must respect his decisions. These decisions are visible in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog items. No one can demand the Development Team to work from the different requirements.

The Product Owner is the only person in the Scrum Team responsible for the Product Backlog management. The concept of managing the Product Backlog includes the following duties:

 1) ordering the items in the Product Backlog in a manner which allows achieving the goals and the missions;

 2) optimizing the value of work performed by the Development Team;

 3) ensuring that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent and clear to everyone, and also describes what the Scrum Team will do next;

4) ensuring that the Development Team understands the Product Backlog items to the extent required – it can be done on Product Backlog Refinement where the PO and the Development Team collaborate on the details of the Product Backlog items;

 5) the possibility of misunderstanding the task may be minimized by applying the next rule – clear articulation of the Product Backlog items The Product Owner may delegate these duties to the Development Team or do it by himself, but in both cases he remains accountable.


The Development Team consists of professionals who are the only people creating the increment. At the end of each Sprint the Development Team delivers a potentially releasable increment of the product. The Development Team is established and authorized by organization to be independent in organizing and managing their work.

The resulting synergy increases the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the Development Team. The Development Team is cross-functional, which means they have all competencies necessary to accomplish the work by themselves. Individual developers may be focused on some areas or have specialized skills, but the responsibility belongs to the team as a whole.

In OpenLMIS for example, we have people who feel more comfortable working on the UI part of the project, and those who are better at providing the code for the backend side and it’s acceptable in Scrum. The Development Team is also self-organizing so they choose how best to accomplish their work without being directed by people outside the team.

No one tells them how to turn the Product Backlog into increment.

OpenLMIS crew, as self-organizing team, always recommend some ideas or improvements. Every member pull work for himself and doesn’t wait for the leader to assign. We also communicate a lot and aren’t afraid to ask questions to clarify any doubts.

There are no titles for Development Team members, regardless the work being performed by the person. Scrum doesn’t recognize sub-teams in the Development Team, no matter what type of tasks being performed by the person – for example analysis, architecture or testing.

Optimal size of the Development Team is small enough to remain agile and large enough to complete notable work within the Sprint. Suggested size of the Development Team is between three and nine members. Fewer than three can cause smaller productivity and may increase skill constraints.

Large teams require too much coordination and generate too much complexity. The Product Owner and Scrum Master are not included in this count.


The Scrum Master is a challenging role. He needs to have a lot of skills, and depending on the situation he has to teach, facilitate or coach. The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum implementation as defined in the Scrum Guide.

Scrum Masters achieve this by helping everybody understand Scrum theory, practices, rules and values. He also helps people outside the Scrum Team (for example stakeholders) understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and change these which aren’t to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team.

The Scrum Master serves the Product Owner in several ways. For example, he is responsible for ensuring the goals, scope and product domain are as comprehensible as possible and facilitating the Scrum events when it is necessary or he is asked for it. He helps in understanding and practicing the agility.

Moreover, the Scrum Master helps find techniques for effective management of the Product Backlog. He helps understand the importance of writing clear and concise Product Backlog items and the product planning principles in an empirical environment. The Scrum Master should also ensure the Product Owner knows how to order the Product Backlog to maximize value.

The Scrum master also serves organization by leading and instructing the organization in adopting Scrum, planning Scrum implementations within the organization and helping to improve the Scrum Team productivity. He supports employees and stakeholders in understanding and using Scrum and empirical approach to the product development. Moreover, he works with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of Scrum implementation and helping everyone to understand Scrum.

The Scrum Master serves the Development Team by instructing them in cross-functionality and self-organization. He helps the Development team with creating high-value products and organizes the Scrum events as requested or needed. He ensures that Daily Scrum meets its primary goals as defined in the Scrum Guide and is completed within the time-box (15 minutes).

Finally, he helps to remove any obstacles a team may encounter during a Sprint. He also coaches the Development Team in organizational environments where Scrum is not yet fully accepted and understood. He helps team to reach consensus for what can be achieved during a sprint and protects them from outside distractions.



Written based on Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, The Scrum Guide,, access 24.07.2018


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