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Maintaining the Scrum Ecosystem

What should each role focus on?

28 December 2015

Boon Nern Tan
Titansoft Pte Ltd


A Scrum ecosystem is typically made up of three main roles that interact as a community. The roles consist of the product owner, the development team, and the ScrumMaster. These roles play an important part in the development cycle, and although they have equal hierarchy, they have different responsibilities. Unlike the Waterfall approach, the project manager is commonly at the top of the hierarchy. If one role is missing, the absence might cause the ecosystem to become unbalanced or even corrupt. The Scrum ecosystem focuses on what, how, and why.
 

What?

The product owner's responsibility is to focus on the what. He or she should always be curious about and identify the users' needs. This exercise will help the product owner envision what can be done to improve the product to generate benefits for users from the business and customer points of view.

Typical questions are:
  • What does the real user actually want?
  • What brings more value to the product?
  • What is the prioritization of the backlog?
By asking the what, he or she will be able to provide a clearer picture or vision to everyone on the team. But the product owner should never demand, "What I want is that feature tomorrow! Please go and work on it now!" This isn't the what that the product owner should have in mind.
 

How?

After the what has been defined and cleared, now is the time to make it happen. The development team is the main role that thinks about how to achieve it.
  • How do we translate this function into code?
  • How should we perform testing?
  • How do we ensure that the new code does not affect existing features?
The development team should know how to make things better and also know how to turn what was imagined into reality.
 

Why?

The ScrumMaster needs to be conscious of the why posed to the product owner and the development team.
  • Why do you think this functionality will benefit the users?
  • Why do you duplicate the code everywhere?
  • Why don't team members attend daily stand-up?
He or she facilitates the process for how information is exchanged. The ScrumMaster acts as a mirror that allows the team to ask why also.

You might doubt that the product owner can think of the how. The answer is definitely yes. As a team, we should always look out for each other, but we have to focus on our own responsibilities to ensure that the whole ecosystem is always in balance.
 

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.



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