Who Should Be on my Scrum Team?




When an organization begins to transition to agile scrum, there is a period of time where the teams will begin to learn agile principles, learn scrum techniques, and start to form initial teams. Whether you choose to pilot scrum across an entire department/division or whether you choose to have one or two scrum teams blaze forward with the new techniques, one of the first questions asked is who should be on the teams.

Scrum teams can be composed of a number of various players.   For the sake of this article, let’s suppose the team is being formed at a mid-size (~100 developers) company (Note:  if you have scenarios you’d rather cover here or questions about how this applies to your organization, please contact me!).   In this case, suppose your company has among its employees project managers, development managers, marketing, information development, development, test, team leads, usability, business analysts, etc.    Who should take on the scrum master and product owner roles?  Who should attend daily scrums?

To form the agile team, first one should identify leadership.    The product owner should be someone who is technical, well-respected, prioritizes well, and can interface with a variety of individuals (See also:  the perfect product owner checklist).   This may be a senior developer, business analyst, team lead, project manager, etc..    The scrum master should be someone with good negotiation skills, who can work well with others to remove obstacles, and who is willing to help guide and develop agile processes.     This is typically a project manager, team lead, process improvement expert, business analyst, etc.

After key roles are defined, it is time to build the core team.   The team should have developers (typically 3-8) and testers at it’s core.   The developers can be from cross-functional teams, or can be focused on one area of development (and plan to pull in experts to consult in areas of core competency as they run through tasks).   Information developers may also be very important to the team.  They can learn and capture customer-centric information as new features are developed.   You may also want to include someone from usability if available to help design core features, workflows, and interfaces.   Groups such as program management and marketing should be brought in to stakeholder meetings and planning sessions as needed to guide and give input to teams about customer needs and requests, but are typically not part of the core scrum team.

With the core team formed, it is time to schedule a planning session and begin meeting regularly  in daily scrum meetings (~15 minutes each typically).  Check back soon, we’ll cover team formation and early scrum tactics in future posts.




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