• Cezary Kałandyk

Scrum for beginners. Part one: Scrum team, Scrum roles

Acting in the IT industry, you may have heard the terms "DS", "retrospective", "Scrum" more than once and you are interested in what lies behind it? Alternatively, you are looking for new interesting solutions that will help you run complex projects? In this article, I will try to present in a simple way what Scrum is and what its rules are.

I will not focus on details and popular errors, and I will limit precise definitions to the minimum necessary. I will focus on the pictorial representation of this way of working so that people who have never dealt with this framework, or just briefly know the topic, can understand the basic assumptions and principles of its operation. 

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a framework for the production of comprehensive products, and in our example for creating software. It was created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, who, with many years of experience in the industry, were looking for a more effective solution to the challenge of comprehensive development projects. In the early 90s, they joined forces, and the result of this collaboration became Scrum.

Scrum is a framework, not a methodology

Due to the fact that SCRUM is not a methodology (it is a framework), it can be efficiently combined with known methodologies, as long as its principles presented, inter alia, in this text are observed. One of the more common examples of this combination is the use of Kanban and additional benefits while remaining in the empirical environment of Scrum. We can use and combine other processes, methodologies depending on our project, team or industry to best meet our needs.

Scrum was created based on empirical processes assuming that knowledge comes with experience, and decisions should be made on the basis of what is known. It has a division into roles, events and artifacts,which I will describe below. 

What are the roles in Scrum team?

The highest Scrum unit is the "Scrum Team". It is this team that works together to achieve their goal. The Scrum team consists of three entities, which are:

  • Development team

  • Scrum Master

  • Product Owner

Scrum team, Scrum roles

What is a role of development team?

A development team is a group of people consisting of exactly 3 to 9 people. There cannot be more or less of them. Similar restrictions, which are present in Scrum, are extremely important and must be observed. This group works directly to achieve their goal. In Scrum, each member of the development team is called a developer, although they may have different skills and specializations. For example, they can be various degrees and types of programmers, testers, but also analysts, project managers.

Each development team member is equally important

The team consists of people who are necessary for the team to accomplish its work and goal. The development team manages itself and should be self-sufficient. The whole team is responsible for the tasks assigned, not the specific person. Scrum does not provide from the top unit management team. This means that no one can tell the development team how to work to achieve the intended goal. He is to decide and is jointly responsible for all tasks to do his best. And with time, thanks to appropriate events, develop and deliver a better and better product.

Scrum Master and Product Owner are not included in the development team, unless they perform additional work bringing the team closer to achieving the assumed goal. However, this is not recommended due to possible conflicts of interest.

What is a role of Scrum Master?

The next role is the Scrum Master referred as "servant-leader". This means that SM is not a team leader, but supports and guides them in Scrum processes. He is also a specialist in the Scrum framework itself and is designed to cultivate and ensure that Scrum is understood and used. This should be done by teaching members of the Scrum team how to proceed and why, and not by instructions and orders.

This support can be divided into three parts:

  • supporting the development team,

  • supporting the Product Owner,

  • supporting the Organization.

Scrum Master supports the development team by teaching and explaining doubts about scrum processes, self-management and inter-functionality. He does this by observing the team's behavior and then performing the appropriate coaching to improve and improve the team's behavior in problematic or incorrectly performed elements. It also helps to solve obstacles limiting the development team's progress, such as the lack of appropriate tools or skills (suggesting a solution). If necessary, when asked, it also supports the course of Scrum events (meetings) in which he normally does not have to participate.

It also supports the entire Organization by implementing Scrum processes, planning how to use them correctly in the company, and teaches and helps employees (not just Scrum teams) to understand and work in the Scrum framework.

The next person who receives help from Scrum Master is the Product Owner. It is supported in terms of planning product development in an empirical environment and how to maximize value when planning work (functionalities) to be carried out by a development team. The Scrum Master also coaches the Product Owner in terms of tools and techniques in effectively performing their work in accordance with Scrum. As with the development team, he (SM) can assist in carrying out scrum events.

What is a role of Product Owner?

The last role she has to explain is Product Owner. By definition, he is responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of the development team. In practice, this means that the "Product Owner" defines the priorities and work to be offered to the development team.

PO is not the team leader, but is the "commander" and person responsible for the product. It is very important for the person performing this function to be able to efficiently make decisions regarding the developed functionalities (product), for example in the case of a query / problem from the development team. This function cannot be a collective, and the person performing this function cannot be only an intermediary and "documenter" of stakeholder recommendations. Must have their full confidence, but also understanding in what direction to develop the product and what are the priorities.


To sum up, we meet three roles in Scrum. A development team responsible for achieving the goal, a Product Owner responsible for the product vision and a Scrum Master who supports them so that they can perform their tasks in the empirical Scrum environment.

All these roles are very important and necessary in Scrum framework. Each role is an important part of the Scrum structure. Members of the Scrum team performing the roles described in the article complement each other and allow achieving the goals set at each stage of work.

In the next part we will focus on the events that occur in Scrum, we'll get to know Sprint, Daily Scrum and others.