Lesson 01: Roles in a Scrum Project
Welcome to the first lesson of this course!
- 00:04 – Hello. Welcome to the course.
- 00:07 – I’m going to tell you really quickly what’s going to happen in this course, and then we will start without a lot of introduction. Okay?
- 00:14 – This is what we’re going to have in this course.
- 00:17 – There are three different iterations, three different sections, if you will.
- 00:22 – The first one is about the basics of Scrum. That’s a really quick overview of what’s going to happen in Scrum, to give you a big picture.
- 00:32 – Many of you who are taking this course are probably already familiar with Scrum.
- 00:36 – For you, it may not be so important, but still it’s really short, and we still have it here because some of the learners who are taking this course are not familiar with Scrum at all.
- 00:52 – Then, and for this one, the main objective that we have is for you to know how Scrum works, that’s all. We don’t have details there. Okay?
- 01:04 – So, in the first section, in the first iteration, if you saw that we’re not going to talk about the details, just don’t worry about that.
- 01:12 – We will do that in the other parts of the course. Okay?
- 01:16 – The second one is about the concept of Agile development.
- 01:22 – That’s very important and the objective is for you to know how products are developed in Agile.
- 01:30 – The difference between Agile development and Predictive systems.
- 01:33 – It’s very important for a Product Owner to see the difference in the way that the product is thought about, the way it evolves during the project, and if you have the right understanding, if you have the correct foundations for that, then it will be really, really easier for you to come up with the right answers to the day-to-day questions that we have in the projects. And finally in the last section, we will have all the details about Scrum, and you will know how to manage a Scrum project, but this course is aligned with the PSPO certification from Scrum.org, and in that certification, everything is only about the core framework of Scrum.
- 02:24 – It doesn’t include many practices and techniques, there are only a few of them, and in this course, we’re going to talk about only those things, not all practices that are common in Agile. Okay? Alright, so let’s begin.
- 02:41 – You’re the Product Owner. Congratulations! That’s great!
- 02:46 – Now, you need to know who you are in the project.
- 02:50 – What are your roles and responsi– what are your responsibilities, and what are the other people who are working in the project and what they are supposed to do.
- 03:00 – So, that’s what we’re going to talk about now.
- 03:03 – The Product Owner is one person, only one person.
- 03:07 – That’s extremely important for Scrum.org, in case you’re going to take the exam later.
- 03:13 – In some other resources, we can have more than one Product Owner, but for Scrum.org, it’s extremely important that we have one and only one Product Owner.
- 03:23 – I will tell you why later on.
- 03:27 – And, you, the Product Owner, are a business-oriented person. You are not necessarily technical.
- 03:33 – You may know a lot of technical things, but that’s not required.
- 03:37 – What you need to know is about business, the way the product can create benefits, generate value, and so on. And then, the other people that we have in the project, we have someone called the Scrum Master.
- 03:52 – That’s again one person for one team and we’ll get back to that, and this person is an expert in Scrum. That’s the Agile coach, if you will, and we have the Development Team, three to nine people, who are technical and develop the product.
- 04:12 – So, all of you together, first of all, all of you together are called the Scrum Team.
- 04:18 – So, whenever I say the Scrum Team, it means the three of you together.
- 04:22 – Alright. So, the Scrum Team is working together and they want to create a product.
- 04:28 – That’s the piece of software that you give to the customer and the end-users.
- 04:35 – Different types of product that you can imagine will generate different types of value when the product is given to the end-users, and the value that it generates, think of it as money for now.
- 04:52 – We will obviously talk a lot about value in this course.
- 04:56 – Think about it as money. How much money can we generate by using this product?
- 05:01 – Okay? Now, what will affect this? That’s the big question, and we know that different types of products will have different amounts of value.
- 05:14 – The main responsibility of you as the Product Owner is to maximize the value of the product, the amount of money that we can generate.
- 05:26 – Now, how can we do that? What do you think can affect the value of a product?
- 05:35 – It mainly depends on the types of features that we have there.
- 05:42 – Some features are really useful, really attractive for the end-users, and especially if they are not so difficult to develop because if they are difficult to develop or they are huge things, then you will have to invest more time, which is money, developing those things, but if you add a lot of fancy features that not many people are using, then relatively speaking, it will lower the value of the product.
- 06:12 – So, it’s about the features. Your responsibility to maximize the value of the product is about the features that will be in the product.
- 06:20 – That’s why you as the Product Owner is responsible to think about the features that are best to go into the product, and to do that, we will have a to-do list of the features, and you will be primarily the person who will create the items in that to-do list and, more importantly, you’re the person who orders those items, prioritizes those items.
- 06:47 – You will think about every aspect of those features and see what features will be the best things to have in the product, that’s what you do, well, to put it really, really simply. Okay.
- 07:02 – So, where do you get those ideas for the features, right?
- 07:08 – Obviously, a lot of them come from the customer, and you may also get some from the end-users and it can be also from the Development Team, but remember that your role here is not about taking notes, it’s about understanding their needs and using that understanding to create the items. Okay?
- 07:35 – You don’t ask them, “Okay, what do you … what items do you want me to add to the list here?” You ask them, “What do you need in the product? What are the problems that you’re going to solve?” So, because of all these, practically the Product Owner becomes the main contact point between the end-users and customer and the Scrum Team.
- 07:59 – Most of the communications, most of the information flow goes through the Product Owner because we want those things to be analyzed and made consistent and so on, but what I told you, it doesn’t mean that the other people are not allowed to communicate with each other.
- 08:18 – For example, the Development Team can still talk to the end-users and customers when they want to, for example, have user acceptance testing.
- 08:27 – We don’t limit ourselves, but what I’m telling you is that most, not all, most of the communications go through the Product Owner.
- 08:37 – The other thing that I’ve also mentioned before is that there’s only one Product Owner.
- 08:42 – You may have a team of people responsible for product ownership if the project is really complex or big or so on, but still one of them has to be titled the Product Owner and that’s the only person that we formally accept here.
- 09:04 – The other people will work with that person.
- 09:07 – We don’t care what happens behind the scenes for the Product Owner, you may be influenced by anyone, and in here, you’re influenced by a team of product ownership something.
- 09:20 – And that would be enough for now, I would say.
- 09:26 – The other role that we have here is the Scrum Master.
- 09:29 – The Scrum Master is always said to be a servant-leader. That’s a cool type of phrase that we have, which means that you don’t just go there and order people what to do.
- 09:39 – You’re there to help people and you’re really wise and so on.
- 09:45 – There are two primary responsibilities for a Scrum Master inside the team.
- 09:52 – One of them is to ensure that people are using Scrum properly.
- 09:57 – They understand what they are supposed to do, when to do what, and if, for example, you’re doing something that blocks Agility, then it’s the Scrum Master who goes there and explains it to people.
- 10:09 – Still, the Scrum Master doesn’t go there and order them to do the right thing, that’s very important.
- 10:16 – The Scrum Master goes there, talks to them, explains why this is wrong, and convinces them to do the right thing. That makes it very difficult.
- 10:27 – That’s why they have to be really good leaders.
- 10:30 – They have to be really good in motivation and negotiations and teaching and coaching and so on, but you’re going to be a Product Owner, so that’s fine.
- 10:42 – The other responsibility that we have for the Scrum Master is to remove impediments.
- 10:46 – So, whenever you have a problem in the team, any of you, and you don’t know what to do with it, you will go to the Scrum Master and say, “I have this problem. I don’t know what to do. That person, for example, that manager comes to the team and distracts us.” The Scrum Master will go there and take care of that somehow, without organizational power.
- 11:08 – So, what I told you right now was about the responsibilities of a Scrum Master inside the team.
- 11:14 – Outside the team in the wider context of the organization, the Scrum Masters are also responsible for implementing Scrum, helping the whole organization use Scrum, transit to … transition into Scrum and Agility and that type of thing, but that’s outside the project.
- 11:37 – You’re the Product Owner, you’re inside the project.
- 11:40 – Finally, we’ve got the Development Team who are the people who create the product.
- 11:47 – They are the technical people. They have a few key characteristics.
- 11:53 – One of them is that they are Cross-Functional, which means that they have all types of skill that we need to develop the product.
- 12:05 – It means that when you’re creating the product, you don’t have to wait and, for example, open a ticket with another department to complete your work and then continue.
- 12:17 – If you need that type of expertise, what you need to do in Scrum is to bring one of those people into the team and make that person one of the team members.
- 12:27 – They can be a part-time team member, that’s fine, but the difference here is that when you consider that person a team member, then everything that we talk about here about the Development Team will apply to that person as well. They won’t be considered external.
- 12:42 – So, that’s first, being cross-functional. Oh, one important thing.
- 12:47 – When I say cross-functional, it’s about the team as a whole, it’s not about every individual in the team.
- 12:53 – We don’t expect every individual in the team to know everything and be able to do everything.
- 12:58 – Each person has a few types of expertise and when they get together, then they know everything, then they are cross-functional.
- 13:07 – That was one. The other characteristic, key characteristic for them is that they are Self-Organized.
- 13:15 – It means that they are empowered to make decisions.
- 13:19 – They find their own way instead of receiving orders all the time.
- 13:28 – Yeah, it happens, I have to drink more tea, but it’s far away.
- 13:35 – So, it’s about having power and in every management system, we have the concept of delegation.
- 13:44 – You need to give some level of power to the people who are working, to the developers, for example, but here in Scrum, it is extreme.
- 13:54 – We don’t have a hierarchy, no one here is above the others, no one is a manager for the rest of the people.
- 14:02 – They are all in the same level and, therefore, the power of the Development Team will be maximized; maximized, but not absolute, because, for example, they still need to be within the limits defined by the framework.
- 14:17 – For example, if something is the responsibility of the Product Owner, then the Developers cannot do that. They’re not that empowered, obviously.
- 14:28 – So, the other characteristic that they have is that they share Accountability, which means that everyone in the team is responsible for everything, accountable for everything.
- 14:41 – You cannot say that, “I’m a tester and this is a problem with architecture. So, I don’t care.” Alright? All of you are working together and whenever there’s a problem, all of you together are responsible for solving that problem.
- 14:56 – And I mentioned testers. The other thing that we have here, to make sure that we have shared accountabilities, that we don’t have titles, titles such as Tester.
- 15:08 – We don’t have testers in Scrum. We have developers who are experts in testing.
- 15:17 – Do you see the difference here? It’s interesting I would say.
- 15:22 – Well, first of all, everyone here is called a Developer.
- 15:26 – A Developer can be someone who’s expert in testing, who’s expert in programming, in design, architecture, in UI design, in anything you can think of.
- 15:37 – So, we call all of them developers because we want to make sure that they share accountability.
- 15:42 – Now, one developer is expert in testing and does most of the testing, for example.
- 15:48 – Another developer is better in designing the solution and they will do that most of the time, but still everyone is responsible for the design and for testing and everything else.
- 16:01 – Alright. About the number of people in the team, we have three to nine people, not less and not more. Less than that won’t be productive enough and more than that will be very difficult to manage with a system like this because we don’t have a hierarchy.
- 16:20 – When you have, for example, 200 people, you need to have some type of hierarchy.
- 16:25 – You don’t expect 200 people to just get together and work and have fun.
- 16:32 – So, that’s the number, but what happens if you need more people?
- 16:36 – If you have a really big project and this is not enough for you.
- 16:40 – In that case, you can have multiple teams and that is called Scaled Scrum.
- 16:47 – There are many different ways of scaling in Scrum and in this course, in the syllabus of PSPO, we will have just a few types of consideration about scaling Scrum, which will be covered at the end of the course, not anytime soon. Okay, now let’s get back to you, the Product Owner.
- 17:08 – We’re going to start a new project. What would you do first?
There’s no “Development Team” in the 2020 update of the Scrum Guide anymore, and there are only Developers, along with the Scrum Master and Product Owner. They’ve made this change because having a team within the team didn’t add much value.
Before, the recommended size used to be 3 to 9 members in the development team. Now that there’s no “development team” anymore, the recommended size is “10 people or less” for the whole Scrum Team.
The “self-organization” concept is now called “self-managing”. It’s the same concept, and the reason for the change is that they believe the new name is clearer.
- Can you explain the Product Owner role in a few sentences?
- Why isn’t it required for the Product Owner to be technical?
- How does the Product Owner affect the value of the product?
- The Product Owner is the main contact point between the team and the external stakeholders. Does it mean that stakeholders should not contact the developers directly?
- Is it alright to have a committee playing the role of Product Owner in a big project?
- What are the main characteristics of the Development Team?
- Who’s the manager in a Scrum Team?
- Are there testers in Scrum?
- What is Scaled Scrum?
Optional Extra Activities
- Check to see what the difference is between “responsibility” and “accountability”.
About your trainer, Nader K. Rad
Nader K. Rad has about 24 years of experience in construction, process plant, and IT projects. He’s an expert in the history, evolution, and nature of methodologies and their practical consequences, as well as the techniques and practices that accompany them.
He has been an official reviewer of PRINCE2® 6th edition, and PRINCE2 Agile®, and lead author of P3.express, and NUPP. He’s also one of the 12 core team members for developing the 7th edition of the PMBOK® Guide.
Nader is focused on helping project leaders improve their systems and get better results through coaching and training, with a focus on critical thinking and practical knowledge. He has designed many project management courses, prepared multiple eLearning courses, and written more than 40 books.
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