Agile Fundamentals Online Learning
Scrum Roles
Scrum Roles

This Course provides an overview of the popular Scrum framework, as well as helping you understand what a product backlog item should look like, and why incremental delivery is such a powerful tool.

Learning Objectives

The objectives of this Course are to provide you with an understanding of:

  • The roles and responsibilities of the different Scrum roles
  • What the different Scrum artifacts are
  • What a product backlog item should look like
  • How to deliver incrementally
  • What the Scrum events are

Intended Audience

This Course is suitable for anyone with no prior knowledge of Agile who is considering, evaluating or involved in a move towards working in (or with) an Agile environment.


There are no prerequisites for this Course, however, participants should be familiar with the content and rationale in the Agile Manifesto (


We welcome all feedback and suggestions - please contact us at if you are unsure about where to start or if would like help getting started.


So scrum is a framework to work in an agile way. Scrum teams are self-organising and cross-functional. They decide who will do the work and how it will be done. But how do they organise themselves? It's actually pretty simple. The key thing is that work in a scrum environment is divided between three roles and each role has its own responsibilities. The three roles are: product owner, scrum master and the development team. In this video I want to discuss each of these roles and talk a little bit about their responsibilities. I need to talk about some scrum artifacts and events to do this properly. So don't worry if that sounds like jargon right now, I'll explain everything as we go along. 

So let's start with the product owner. This is a single person, not a committee or some kind of group. They are in charge of managing the product backlog. The product backlog is a scrum artifact. And it's basically a list of work that needs to be done. Now it's the product owner's job to understand and engage with the stakeholders to understand what needs to be done and create that backlog, which is then used and pulled into the sprint planning. They also need to prioritise that backlog. This is just making sure that the most important work is at the top of the backlog with the work that's least important at the bottom. And maybe the least important stuff will get done at some point but because it is the least important, it will sit at the bottom of the backlog until the team can around to it. 

During the sprint planning the scrum team will pull as much of the product backlog as they can get done into the sprint backlog, which is just the list of work they're looking to get done by the end of that sprint. So the product backlog has to be well organised and managed by the product owner. To do this, the product owner has to be empowered by the business. It's really important that there is a commitment within the business or the organisation that empowers the product owner to take control of the product backlog and make sure that their team is able to self-organise in the way that they need to. 

Next up I want to talk about the scrum master. So this is a servant-leader who is there to help the entire team achieve the scrum goals and work within scrum. Being a servant-leader means that they lead the team by putting the team first and helping them to adopt the values of scrum. Being a servant-leader means that the main goal of the scrum master is to serve the scrum team and help guide them to be the most effective and efficient team possible. Because of this, it's really important that the scrum master really understand scrum and can help guide the team. The scrum master will also support the product owner with their responsibilities in terms of managing the backlog as well as, supporting the development team. You can think of them as a kind of support for the entire team. And they'll often do this by facilitating scrum events like the daily scrum or the sprint review and retrospective. 

Last up we've got the development team. Their responsibilities may seem pretty obvious, I mean, it's in the name. It's worth noting though, that people in the development team aren't necessarily coders or technical people. They could be designers or writers or any role that contributes to the development of the product or service. Development team is just the term we use to describe the role of the people who actually make the things within scrum. The development team are the people who are creating the product or service and delivering done increments at the end of each sprint. Now what done looks like is really up to the scrum team as a whole to decide, but it should essential be a usable piece of software or product or service. 

So how do they create this increment? There are two main ways. The first is that they're self-organising, so they choose how they want to work. It's up to them to decide how they'll deliver the increments. So they'll need to have discussions and come to a consensus as a team. So when they take an item from the backlog, they have to look at it, understand it and then be able to really quickly and easily turn that into some kind of workable increment. This brings me to the second way they're able to deliver the increment and that is, the development team needs to be a cross-functional team. Basically this means that within the team there are all the skills that are required to deliver that increment. Now this is a really tricky thing because teams which are too large might have loads of different skills but then they'll really struggle to work in a scrum environment because communication channels will become too complex. But teams which are really, really small won't have all those cross-functional skills. 

So the key thing really, is to have smaller teams with people who can do multiple different things. Essentially what you really want to aim for is people who are specialists in a number of areas, often referred to as generalists, rather than owing a single area, because otherwise you're going to have to hire more people and the team will grow too large. Scrum teams are ideally made of six, plus or minus three people, and any more or less, they become ineffective. So just to summarise the three roles in scrum then. Product owners manage the work to be done. They engage with the stakeholders and they make sure that the product backlog is really well organised. The scrum master supports the entire scrum team and working within the scrum framework and acts as a coach and servant-leader to the entire scrum team. The development team self-organises in a cross-functional way to create and deliver increments for each sprint.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Tony has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development, Business Change, Consulting, and Project/Program Management working with public, private, and third sector organizations.

He has helped organizations to design and create processes and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider, utilizing a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation.

As a confident and self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills, Tony is able to bring people together and get them working as a team quickly.

Tony is an Agile and Scrum trainer with a vast knowledge spanning IT Systems, Business Change, Program and Project Management. With excellent presentation skills and a solid background, he ensures that all clients gain maximum benefit from his training. He has successfully guided those new to the industry through their initial training, helped experienced staff as they progress in their careers, and worked at the director level advising on best use and practice, as well as tailoring courses to fulfil the exact needs of clients.