Roles in Scrum Organization – You Get-In or Get-Out

Scrum recognizes only 3 roles, ScrumMaster, Product Owner and the Development team. Scrum  is a process framework for product development. For product development, we need someone who knows what to build (Product Owner), someone who knows how to build (Development Team) and someone who knows the process (ScrumMaster). From Scrum stand point, these three roles are enough for building a product. There is lot of confusion around who should play what role in Scrum. I spend  quite bit of time discussing the possibilities in my CSM class. I would like to discuss few possibilities in this post.

It’s simple… You Get In or Get Out. What does that mean? If you want to be part of building the product increment, you Get In to the Scrum Team. If you don’t want to directly build the product but wants to support the Scrum Team building it, then you Get Out of Scrum Team but support them.

Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development team are needed to build the team. If you are someone who are a Domain expert, Accountable for the product success, Empowered to make the product related decisions and Available to team and stakeholders, you can play Product Owner role. POs generally come from business side who would have most of what I mentioned above. If you know Scrum well and have the skills (there are people and life skills) of a ScrumMaster, you could play that role. Remember that ScrumMasters have responsibility without people authority. If you are technical (Developer, Tester, Analyst, UI/UX designer, System Admin, DBA, Deployment person), you are part of the Development Team and building the product.

Now the burning question for lot of people is what happens to the other roles like Line Managers, Project Managers and Team Leads etc. If you are in one of those roles and want to contribute to the development of the product, you could take one of the Scrum roles and play by the rule of the role. Alternatively, you could Get Out of the Scrum Team and support the team in delivering the Product. You can do this by becoming a Servant Leader and cater to multiple teams. For example, a project manager can serve multiple Scrum Teams by supporting them in Procurement, Budgeting, Hiring, Performance management and such activities. Since the Scrum teams are self-organising, the managers don’t need to hand hold too much and can lead multiple teams. Job of a manager in Scrum Organisation is to empower and enable the teams and help them self-organise.

Lastly, if you have shared members in Scrum Teams they are going to become bottle necks. The solution could be to build the core competency in the teams so that they are not depending too much on this one person. We play a game in my CSM class to clearly visualise this problem.

If you are interested in having deeper knowledge of Scrum Role and Responsibilities, join my CSM class!

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