The success of Scrum is almost completely dependent on the various members of the Scrum framework, and their understanding and emulation of the respective duties in whatever designation they are occupying.
However, in some instances, especially when a sudden switch is made to this agile strategy, people may not fully understand the nature of their duties in the work process. Let us consider exactly what the role of the scrum master, product owner and development team is, respectively.
The Scrum Master is the servant-leader in scrum Scrum Master. This implies that his leadership is limited within the purview of ensuring that the Development team does not face any obstacles in the course of their work. He also establishes the channel of communication between the product owner and the team, alongside being responsible for crisis management, if and when the need arises. The Scrum Master schedules the meetings and ensures that the working team is able to perform optimally by identifying and eliminating all sources of impediment and distraction.
The Product Owner, on the other hand, is in some ways the representative of the customer. The basic role here is to ensure that the business output produced meets the requirements of the client. For this to be accomplished, the product owner writes customer centric items, arranges them in order of priority and then adds them to the product backlog for the development team to work upon. The lattermost of these – writing the product backlog – is amongst the most important of all Scrum processes, and should thus be done with utmost intelligence and care to detail. Thus, the product owner should be someone of great skill and experience in that regard.
Finally, the development team is the backbone of the actual product development process. It is responsible for producing potentially shippable product parts at the end of each sprint. Typically, a team consists of 5-10 people, give and take a couple. The team members have cross-functional skills and plan, design, develop, test, analyze and so on, all themselves, with each team member bringing their own expertise to the forefront.
Such a team should be skilled in creating and sustaining a harmonious work relationship and group dynamics so as to ensure that their constant interaction is without any glitches.
The bottom line here is that the synchronized working of the three entities – the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and Development Team – is what makes scrum an agile strategy producing superior results. However, appointment to these positions must be made very carefully in order to ensure that each person’s strengths are recognized.
The scrum master in some organizations is continually rotated. Such radical measures, however, should be considered only if it the organization is looking to create learning opportunities and recognize each person’s capabilities and weaknesses. If Scrum is being implemented as it should be, with time boxed sprints being conducted, and product and sprint backlogs being maintained well, this agile technique can lead to a perceptible increase in a firm’s productivity.
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