Friday, 27 January 2017

Agile roles

There are a number of different roles in the agile methodology, and these need to be well-understood to make agile work effectively in your organisation. In particular, the scrum master and product owner need to have enough time to devote to doing their roles properly.

I must mention that as a female developer, I find a lot of the terminology used in Scrum rather macho and off-putting. I would like to see a shift in the culture on this, but unfortunately, the terms seem to be pretty ubiquitous these days.

A Scrum team. Photo by Nghungdo –  CC-BY-SA 4.0.


The agile developer is a team player who commits to standardised development practices and sharing knowledge across the team. They are comfortable in different layers of the stack,m though they generally specialise in one of the layers.

In agile methodologies, the development team gets to decide which of the top priority stories in the product backlog they will work with next.

Scrum master

The scrum master manages the scrum process. He or she convenes meetings, protects the team from other tasks, removes impediments, problem-solves, manages the scrum board and the burndown chart, and works with the product owner on prioritising the user stories in the product backlog.

Product owner

The product owner is responsible for liaison between the development team and the stakeholders (both internal and external). He or she "grooms" the backlog, prioritising user stories, adding new ones, liaising with customers and other stakeholders to find out what they want.
Part of the product owner responsibilities is to have a vision of what he or she wishes to build, and convey that vision to the scrum team. This is key to successfully starting any agile software development project. The agile product owner does this in part through the product backlog, which is a prioritized features list for the product.

Pigs and chickens

The developers, as people who are committed to the project, count as "pigs", whereas managers, who are only involved, count as "chickens". This is based on the fable of the chicken and the pig. This story has now been removed from the official Scrum process.