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The Scrum Product Owner
Scrum Product Owners are responsible for prioritising and determining what work should be completed first - in response to their business and market analysis of requirements. In layman's terms, they own the product and decide how a deliverable form of the final product should be achieved. Product owners are central to the Scrum project and are required to maintain a product backlog - ensuring that all team members are aware of the product’s requirements and offering clarity of the work each individual should be conducting.
Additionally, Scrum Product owners have the intent and a key focus on ensuring that the Scrum process enhances the business’s value - hence they are in a position of authority regarding the prioritisation of tasks. The product owner maintains the stakeholder’s and customer’s requirements at the heart of the project when delivering the final product.
The Scrum Master
The Scrum Master of a team is Scrum’s equivalent to a “leader” or “Project Manager”, however crucially without vast superiority over other members of the development team - they are responsible for motivating the team and delegating tasks to individuals that possess the required skills. The Scrum Master is the facilitator of delivery flow and is required to lead sprint planning, sprint reviews, and the retrospective sprint process - they are central to the success and achievement of the backlog tasks.
One key activity of the Scrum Master’s role is the calculation of resources required, both people and material, to ensure operational flow and to minimise product inhibitors and obstacles from having a negative effect. A Scrum Master is a servant leader and is not afraid to help in any way possible to achieve the sprint goal.
The Scrum Development Team
Self-organisation and facilitation is key to a Scrum development team - often the range of skills that a team collaboratively possesses will be vast and expansive, hence they must work within their specialist realm. The development team is the driving force of each sprint and is responsible for delivering the gradual increments of the shippable product - they do the work that momentarily resides in the product backlog.
How many people are there in a Scrum team?
The optimal number of members in a Scrum team is 7 - the number is low due to the requirement to have a tight-knit bond, to be closely located, to have good morale, and a desire to work for each other on a personable level. However, Scrum teams often vary in size due to the requirement to have a variety of skill-sets in order to make a quality software-based product - so the size of the team is dependent on the project and a company’s environment. Scrum teams have a “we” not “I” identity and work together to ensure the completion of a sprint.
There are four Scrum events that are central to the framework - they must be followed in this order to achieve shippable product increments:
Sprint Planning - the team comes together to concoct a plan of how to complete the backlog for the respective sprint. Within this, the sprint goal should be established and agreed between all members of the Scrum team.
Daily Scrum - a daily 15 minute meeting is advised for the software development team to reevaluate their work and make sure they are working towards the same objective without work overlapping. It is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to guide this daily meeting and to ensure that it does not exceed 15 minutes. Development team members can discuss how they are going to segregate and dedicate their time and should state the resources that they will need to overcome challenges.
Sprint Review - the Scrum master leads a meeting with the Scrum development team to assess whether or not the backlog tasks were completed and “done” to a sufficient standard of quality. Sprint reviews should occur at the end of each sprint, every 2-4 weeks, and should engage the stakeholders to ensure that they are satisfied with the sprint under question. For a 4 week sprint, this meeting generally lasts for 4 hours and requires the presence of the entire Scrum team for maximal effectiveness.
Sprint Retrospective - the Scrum Master and Development team assess what went right/wrong on the previous sprint and make a list of actions to alter accordingly to make the next sprint more successful. For a 4 week long sprint, this meeting generally lasts for 3 hours, and inspects the processes that led to the major product increments and analyses the dysfunctional activities to avoid. Within this reflective meeting, the Scrum Master is on an equal standing to members of the development team - they are as responsible for the success/failure of the product.
Product Backlog - The product backlog lists, in priority order, the tasks and activities required for each sprint in order to achieve a product. The backlog is concocted by the product owner and pinpoints the agenda of the impending work.
Sprint Backlog - The Sprint backlog lists, in priority order, the tasks required for the next sprint.