A Guide To Scrum Teams

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 2, 2021 | Published February 8, 2021

Updated November 2, 2021

Published February 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project management professionals are always on the lookout for new technologies and methodologies that can help streamline their workflow. Over the last few years, Scrum has become one of the most prominent new frameworks adopted by project management teams across the globe. Many companies have been successful in implementing scrum teams as a part of their project management approach. In this article, we explain what a scrum team is, the benefits of using this approach and the different roles within a scrum team.

Related: What Is Scrum Project Management?

What is a scrum team?

A scrum team is a group of collaborators, typically between five and nine individuals, who work toward completing projects and delivering products. The fundamental scrum team comprises one scrum master, one product owner and a group of developers. Within a scrum team, there is no rank or hierarchy. Rather, it is a cohesive unit of goal-oriented individuals.

Scrum teams use the Scrum framework to guide their project management process. The Scrum framework is centered around the key principles of continuous improvement, flexibility and respectful teamwork. As an approach, Scrum aligns with the 2001 Agile Manifesto and its 12 Principles which are documents created to guide teams of software developers in working effectively. The Agile Manifesto uses the following beliefs to steer their methodology:

  • Individuals and interactions come before processes and tools.

  • Working products come before comprehensive documentation.

  • Customer collaboration comes before contract negotiations.

  • Reflecting on processes and implementing changes comes before following a plan.

Over the past 20 years, Scrum and Agile approaches have taken over workspaces and proven to be highly effective in simplifying collaborative projects. Overall, the Scrum framework helps teams work toward highly organized, reflective and human-oriented processes.

Related: Using the Agile Project Management Methodology

Benefits of a scrum team

Using the scrum team approach has been successful for many organizations, even outside of the software development industry, mainly because it simplifies project management and product release. Scrum facilitates nimble and efficient work toward project completion goals and using the framework often results in an end product with enhanced value. Here are some of the most striking benefits of using a scrum team to move your organization's project management forward:

Work happens simultaneously

Scrum teams work on different project components at the same time rather than sequentially. This gives collaborators the ability to make continual, vital shifts during the project's development instead of at the end, which helps them save time. In addition, working simultaneously promotes team collaboration, allowing teams to integrate multiple perspectives into their work. This can only benefit the quality of end products. Therefore, not only do scrum teams produce higher caliber work, but they often do it in less time than ordinarily needed.

Workflow processes are made clear

There are specific workflow benchmarks within the scrum framework that help teams stay on task and focus on their end goals. Scrum teams move between phases of project planning, release planning, sprint planning, sprints, daily scrum, sprint review and retrospective. Each of these phases requires a different collaborative process. For instance, sprints are short cycles of development, typically lasting from one day to four weeks, where the team focuses on creating shippable products. Because these phases are clear in their expectations and all team members are expected to engage in these processes, the workflow is clearer for all.

Return on investment (ROI) increases and risk decreases

When organizations implement scrum teams, they usually see an increase in their ROI, meaning their investment's gains outweigh the costs. Scrum teams work more quickly and efficiently than collaborators operating under other frameworks. This means that they make fewer costly mistakes and sometimes even require fewer labor costs over time. When a company spends less investing in the completion of a high-value project, their return is often higher as a result. In addition, if a company works repeatedly with a successful scrum team that increases ROI, it may experience decreased investment risk in project management.

Team morale improves

The Scrum framework and the guiding Agile principles are inherently human-oriented, meaning they revolve around the employees' processes and ability to succeed. Scrum teams value face-to-face collaboration, self-organizing coalitions, feedback pathways and sustainability in development. Additionally, the Scrum framework dictates a reflective process in which teams analyze what is and is not working for their product or project so that workflow can be adjusted accordingly.

Roles in a scrum team

There are a few foundational roles within a scrum team, and while members work in a collaborative fashion, each role comes with its own specific duties and responsibilities. In fact, many scrum team members possess specialized certifications that give them the skill set to serve in their roles. The individuals in these roles work together strategically to maximize their project's value, motivate one another and clear any obstacles that may hinder productivity.

Here are the key players who comprise a scrum team:

Scrum master

The scrum master is typically an individual who has expertise or certification in the Scrum framework. They use this expertise to lead other team members on different processes. In essence, a scrum master serves much like the foreman of a given project, keeping team members on track and mentoring them on Scrum concepts along the way. In most situations, there is only one scrum master on a scrum team. The duties of a scrum master include:

  • Fostering an effective, collaborative work environment for team members

  • Understanding Scrum framework and Agile principles

  • Mentoring team members on following Agile principles

  • Strategically motivating team members at key intervals

  • Maintaining productive relationships with stakeholders and team members alike

  • Shielding the team from any distractions that may interrupt productivity

Read more: What Is a Scrum Master?

Product owner

The product owner on a scrum team takes responsibility for developing high-value products. They specialize in the oversight of development teams and meticulously analyze project decisions to ensure they align with team goals. Product owners possess a deep understanding of business processes and customer-oriented values. Like the scrum master, there is typically only one product owner on a scrum team. The duties of a product owner include:

  • Establishing a product vision and creating a marketing strategy

  • Monitoring potential customer engagement and requirements

  • Analyzing ROI and recommending project adjustments to increase ROI

  • Working proactively toward creating solutions for the development team

  • Optimizing the development team's workflow to heighten product value

  • Ordering and managing project backlog

The development team

The development team is made up of professionals who are responsible for developing a high-quality, potentially releasable finished product at the end of a project's sprints. The development team is usually comprised of highly collaborative and skilled individuals who possess a crucial understanding of organization, time management and problem solving. The development team is a vital aspect of scrum teams, and their duties include:

  • Finding practical solutions to project backlog items

  • Working collaboratively without individual titles or hierarchy

  • Using a cross-functional approach to ensure they have all the expertise necessary to complete projects

  • Delivering shippable products within project time increments

  • Acting with accountability for project success

Related: Definitive Guide To Scrum Development

Stakeholders

Stakeholders are defined as anyone who has an interest or investment in the project. While stakeholders are not usually considered a foundational role of scrum teams since they don't have a role in the development of a product, they do provide input and can impact a project's outcome. They bring diverse perspectives and typically represent other departments or external companies. Stakeholders are responsible for the following duties:

  • Providing practical feedback to scrum team members on products

  • Encouraging project processes that focus on established goals and outcomes

  • Communicating with the product owner, scrum master and scrum team to facilitate product functionality

Related: Agile vs. Waterfall: Which Methodology Is Right for You?

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