Scrum Project Roles

November 12, 2013

Understanding defined roles and responsibilities is very important for ensuring the successful implementation of Scrum projects. There are three central roles in Scrum that are eventually responsible for meeting the project objectives. The core roles are the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Scrum Team. Together they are referred to as the Scrum Core Team. It is important to note that, of these three roles, no role has authority over the others.

SCRUM Project Roles1.    Product Owner

The Product Owner is the person responsible for maximizing business value for the project. He/she is responsible for articulating customer requirements and maintaining business justification for the project. The Product Owner represents the Voice of the Customer.

Corresponding to a Product Owner role in a project, there could be a Program Product Owner for a program or a Portfolio Product Owner for a portfolio.

2.    Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is a facilitator who ensures that the Scrum Team is provided with an environment conducive to completing the product’s development successfully. The Scrum Master guides, facilitates, and teaches Scrum practices to everyone involved in the project; clears impediments for the team; and, ensures that Scrum processes are being followed.

Note that the Scrum Master role is very different from the role played by the Project Manager in a traditional Waterfall model of project management, in which the Project Manager works as a manager or leader for the project. The Scrum Master only works as a facilitator and he/she is at the same hierarchical level as anyone else in the Scrum Team—any person from the Scrum Team who learns how to facilitate Scrum projects can become the Scrum Master for a project or for a Sprint.

Corresponding to a Scrum Master role in a project, there could be a Program Scrum Master for a program or a Portfolio Scrum Master for a portfolio.

3.    Scrum Team

The Scrum Team is a group or team of people who are responsible for understanding the business requirements specified by the Product Owner, estimating User Stories, and final creation of the project Deliverables.

A Guide to the Scrum Body of Knowledge (SBOKTM) suggests the following roles guide for the three core roles:

  1. Product Owner—It is imperative for Product Owners to read the entire chapter 3 of the guide to SBOK.
  2. Scrum Master—The Scrum Master should also be familiar with the entire chapter 3 with primary focus on sections 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, and 3.9 of the guide to SBOK.
  3. Scrum Team— The Scrum Team should mainly focus on sections 3.6, 3.7, and 3.8 of the guide to SBOK.

Ancillary roles are other stakeholders who are involved in the scrum project, but who are not committed. Normally, ancillary roles comprise of customers, management and members of the executive team who are active participants and they collectively work towards the objectives of consulting, progress reporting and feedback collection to better work toward providing the highest value conceivable.


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