Agile Project Management – Part 3: Scrum team roles and responsibilities

by Gabriella Martin

The Scrum team roles and responsibilities are Product Owner, Scrum Master and Scrum Team, with the product owner being responsible for what is being done, the team being responsible for how things are done technically, and the Scrum master in charge of the process. Customers are represented by the Product Owner and are closely involved in the development process. Managers have little decision-making authority in the Scrum process and are primarily concerned with the provision of resources.

Product Owner

Product Owner

Developing a product is an investment that has to pay off. The Product Owner is responsible for the profitability of the product he manages. He also represents the interests of customers. The product owner can have a positive impact on ROI by first charging the team with features that bring great value and little development time. From all Scrum team roles and responsibilities the Product Owner controls the order in which features are processed by the team. And only the Product Owner is authorized to commission or change the order of features. The Product Owner is not a project manager in the classical sense and he is not responsible for the results of the development team. He is not involved in the actual development work. In many companies, the role of product owner is that of the product manager.

Scrum Master

Scrum Master

As a coach, the Scrum Master should help the team to organize themselves and become more effective. The team is committed to delivering a product. And the Scrum Master is responsible for collaboration in the team and the overall result of teamwork. The Scrum Master should be a Scrum expert. He helps the team to learn the scrum methodology and to use it as well as possible. He should assist the team in removing organizational and methodological obstacles. The Scrum Master is not the supervisor of the team, but works with the team at eye level.

The Scrum Master is not a project manager. From all Scrum team roles and responsibilities, he takes the least responsibility for the development result.

Scrum Team


In Scrum, members of a development team work closely together to organize themselves. They determine the way of cooperation. The team alone decides which tools and techniques it uses and which team members work on which tasks. Expense estimates are created by the team members.

A Scrum team should have all the skills needed to create the product you want. The team is made up of specialists, each of whom contributes their expertise to the desired result. However, the task of a team member is not limited to delivering contributions in a specific field. Everyone contributes to creating a working product with every sprint.

The mental attitude should not be “not my job” but “I do what to do”. Scrum teams have between five and nine team members. With fewer team members, the team may not have enough skills to do all the work. With more team members, the communication effort increases disproportionately.

No single team member is wholly responsible for the development result. The self-commitments regarding scope of delivery and delivery date always extend only to the next iteration cycle and not over the entire project period.

Related topics: RACI Matrix, RACI roles, Scrum manifesto

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