Accountability within a Scrum Team to deliver value to the customers

Scrum Teams are an indispensable cornerstone in the Scrum framework that delivers value to the customers. So, Who all are part of a Scrum Team?

A scrum team is a group of people working together to achieve common goals. The Scrum Team consists of three accountability a Product Owner, a Scrum Master and Developers that defines responsibilities they need to respect while performing their tasks. Within a Scrum Team, there are no sub-teams or hierarchies. Instead, it is a cohesive unit of professionals focused on one objective at a time, the Product Goal.

Scrum Teams are cross-functional, meaning the members have all the skills necessary to create value each Sprint. They are also self-managing, meaning they internally decide who does what, when, and how.

The Scrum Team is small enough to remain nimble and large enough to complete significant work within a Sprint, typically 10 or fewer people.

Finally, The entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint.

Now, let’s explore all three accountability in detail.

Product Owner is a Value Maximizer.

A Product Owner is responsible for what will get developed and in what order. It will work when everyone must respect the product owner’s decisions. These decisions are visible in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog and through the inspectable Increment at the Sprint Review. Must remember that the Product Owner is one person, not a committee. Product Owners work effectively to ensure that the work is in line with the product goal. They wear multiple hats, such as value maximizer, customer representative, visionary and experimenter.

The Product Owner is primarily accountable for maximizing the value of work done by the scrum team, and by doing follow the same can be achieved.

First, managing stakeholders’ expectations. A successful product owner understands how it is critical to manage stakeholders’ expectations to make the product or project successful. We advise the following three simple steps:-

  1. Identify stakeholders. It is crucial to identify stakeholders, customers, users, sponsors, and governance, including internal and external.
  2. Analyze impact. Product Owners know how to analyze the impact of identified stakeholders on the Product Goal by understanding their influence and authority, which helps design a better communication plan.
  3. Engage them. A product fails when get developed without getting frequent feedback. Scrum is an empirical process designed to get feedback at the end of a Sprint. Product Owners invite stakeholders during the Sprint review to help Scrum Team in getting the feedback.

The Product Owner works closely with the stakeholders to create a product goal and business objectives. Then, they develop a product roadmap and define the product priorities in alignment with the product strategy and business objectives.

Second, Product Backlog management. It includes identifying backlog items, highlighting the value of each product feature, helping the Scrum team understand the importance of these features and sequencing them based on value, risk, size, and dependency. As Scrum Guide says, a product owner is accountable for:-

  • Developing and explicitly communicating the Product Goal;
  • Creating and communicating Product Backlog items;
  • Ordering Product Backlog items; and,
  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is transparent, visible and understood.

Lastly, Clarifying Requirement. Indeed, product owners are not accountable for writing user stories and acceptance criteria, and it is done collectively by the Scrum team, where developers do most. Product Owners participate in product backlog refinement meetings to help everyone understand backlog items by communicating purpose and answering developers’ questions. A Product Owner is available to answer any questions from the developers during development to meet the Sprint Goal. Close interaction and a strong relationship with the Developers are essential to a successful product release.

Cross-Functional Developers

Developers are product developers, something like a project team. And a team is a team when we have the right combination of people to win together. So, for example, we need software engineers, quality analysts, business analysts, UI/UX experts, IT support, and data analysts while developing a software product. We may also need document writers, training, and marketing people to release product increment. Developers are the Scrum Team people committed to creating any aspect of a usable Increment each Sprint.

The Developers are always accountable for:

  • Creating a plan for the Sprint, the Sprint Backlog and plan may include design, development and testing works. Typically developers create multiple sub-tasks for backlog items based on the Definition of Done.
  • They adapt their plan each day toward the Sprint Goal during Daily Scrum by inspecting work done and work remaining.
  • They hold each other accountable as professionals and continuously improve their relationship and collaboration while adopting Scrum Values.

Scrum Master enhances Transparency

The scrum master is the one who upholds the scrum understanding in the team and practices agility. They ensure the Scrum team is effectively developing products by the following empiricism. Coaching, teaching, mentoring, and facilitation are useful tools for the Scrum Master. They make sure that every team member understands the product goal and purpose of developing the product. From devising Scrum to facilitating scrum meetings, the scrum master plays a crucial role within the Scrum Framework. Moreover, it also ensures that the team must work at full productivity.

As Scrum Guide says, The Scrum Master is accountable for establishing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory and practice, both within the Scrum Team and the organization. The Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness. They do this by enabling the Scrum Team to improve its practices within the Scrum framework.

Scrum Mastery is a full-time role, although you will find many Scrum Masters are playing dual-role. Scrum framework is silent about it, and it depends on organization structure, complexity and current practices. A Scrum Master is there to coach, teach, and facilitate Scrum to the Scrum Team, a Product Owner and the Stakeholders.

The Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team in several ways, including:

  • Coaching the team members in self-management as self-management is crucial for successfully adopting the Scrum framework and moving away from the traditional command and control culture.
  • Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value Increments that meet the Definition of Done by facilitating the Scrum Team decisions.
  • Removal of impediments because impediments may slow down the team’s productivity. These impediments are the knowledge gap, older processes and organizational practices.
  • Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox. Timebox helps Scrum Team to stay focus to give the best possible outcome.

The Scrum Master serves the Product Owner in finding techniques for effective Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management. A well-defined product goal helps the Scrum Team stay focused during the execution of the Sprint. In addition, a Scrum Master may facilitate stakeholder collaboration as requested or needed.

The Scrum Master also serves the organization in leading, training, and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption besides helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact an empirical approach for complex work.

That was the entire round up of the Scrum Team. Have any doubts or opinions? Shoot them down in the comments.

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