Team Roles and Responsibilities

How to define Team Roles and Responsibilities?

Introduction

Imagine if we were part of an orchestra and the person trying to lead the group is just the one who plays the flute. This person may have good notions about how to lead the entire orchestra from years of participating in it, but actually, his experience is not that of a leader.

Mixing the roles involved, due to many reasons, clearly guides projects to complex situations hard to solve, and will add plenty of rework.

This analogy refers to the fact that projects are usually managed without taking the role of each team member into account.

Let’s describe the main roles of a project that applies the agile methodology, according to the Scrum Alliance.

But why is paying attention to this important? Just because, before starting a project, it is advisable to consider who will be involved in the project and how. 

Product Owner Role & Responsibilities

The Product Owner is in charge of optimizing and maximizing the value of the product, being the person in charge of managing the flow of product value through the Product Backlog. In addition, his work as an interlocutor with the project's stakeholders and sponsors is essential, as well as his role as speaker of the requests and requirements of the clients. If the Product Owner also plays the role of business representative, their work will also add value to the product.

Traditionally, the Product Owner has been understood as a:

  • Requirements manager.
  • Product Backlog manager.
  • Someone that fully understands the product at all times.
  • It conveys to the stakeholders what is the value of the product in which they are investing.
  • It scores the sprint goal.
  • It makes the product constantly increase in value.

It is essential to give the necessary power to the Product Owner so that he is able to make any decision that may affect the product.

If there is no one on the team who truly knows the product and fulfills the role of Product Owner, it is not possible to define clear tasks and milestones. This can lead to a mess and a lack of leadership.

Product Owner Attributes and Functions

  • Embrace, share, and socialize the product vision.
  • Exceed customer expectations.
  • Order the Product Backlog.
  • Focus on the functional and non-functional aspects of the product.
  • Maximize customer value.
  • Be well informed.
  • Understand the business domain.
  • Act at different strategic, tactical, and operational levels.
  • Always available.
  • Capable of saying 'no'.

 

Product Owner Absence

If there is no one on the team who truly knows the product and fulfills the role of Product Owner, it is not possible to define clear tasks and milestones. This can lead to a mess and a lack of leadership.

Scrum Master Role & Responsibilities

The Scrum Master has two main responsibilities: managing the Scrum process and helping remove impediments that may affect product delivery. In addition, he is in charge of mentoring and training, coaching, and facilitating meetings and events if needed.

Scrum Master Attributes and Functions

His mission is to act as a facilitator.

  • It ensures that the project participants follow the values and principles, the Scrum rules, and processes of the Agile methodology. 
  • It guides the collaboration between the team members and the relationship with the client.
  • Has strategic skills to guide the team in adopting an agile mindset.
  • Communication skills such as active listening and assertiveness.
  • Ability to manage work teams.

 

Scrum Master or Project Manager

It is thought that a Scrum Master is also a Project Manager. The latter is responsible for the same duties mentioned above and should also communicate adequately with the rest of the organization. He also needs to address and manage the project. Both roles are different but may be managed accordingly.

Scrum Master Absence

If you do not have a Scrum Master, the main instances of an agile process, such as Sprint Planning, Planning Poker to estimate effort, control, and measure the speed of development, Retrospective Meetings, etc. may not be followed.

Development Team Role & Responsibilities

Its mission is to build a product or service,  which is of high value. They are small teams (between 3 and 9 people), self-organized and multifunctional. They share knowledge, avoiding the centralization of information in a single person.

Besides,  the highlight in Scrum teams is that they work as a true team, and not just as a working group: the team has a collaborative spirit, and its members share a common purpose.

If you do not have a Scrum Master, the main instances of an agile process, such as Sprint Planning, Planning Poker to estimate effort, control, and measure the speed of development, Retrospective Meetings, etc. may not be followed.

Development Team Characteristics

  • Multifunctional: It is capable of carrying out each of the user stories of the product backlog, from beginning to end, until the task in the User Story is done 
  • Self-organizing: No one, not even the Scrum Master, has to tell the development team how to turn each item in the product backlog into a product increment.
  • There are no "titles" within the team, to avoid unique responsibilities in elements of the product backlog.
  • There are no sub-teams within the development team.
  • Each team member may be a specialist in an area they focus on, but the responsibility for any failure rests with the entire team.

 

QA & Developers

We usually do not define who is in charge of checking the functionalities that are being developed in a project. We believe that this role can be taken by any of the people involved and that is precisely the biggest inconvenience. Thus, the importance and responsibility of the tests are lost. We also tend to leave this responsibility to the developers who are expected to automate the tests, considering that this should be enough, but is it?

QA Absence

It is best to have at least one person in charge, who knows the entire application thoroughly and all the changes that are being applied. Have an unbiased look at the development and see things like any ordinary user. Developers usually do not respond to their own mistakes due to a lack of visibility.

Conclusion

This article clearly defines the role of a Scrum Master, a Product Owner, and the Development team including QA, and how they may interact with each other. If any of these roles are absent, tasks will not be achieved as expected causing delays and rework.

We invite you to take a look at the article Starting Projects On The Right Foot if you haven’t read it yet.

Be certain at the time of creating your team, it will save tons of headaches.