Most people who have heard of Scrum will know the roles involved, but they may not know the attitudes and traits that are important for the roles. This is an excerpt from the book, Scrum for the Rest of Us, by Brian Rabon and highlights traits that great Scrum practitioners have.
If one sentence were used to sum up the duties of the ScrumMaster, it is that they facilitate the Scrum process as a Servant Leader (someone who leads by first taking care of others’ needs). A ScrumMaster works hand-in-hand with the Product Owner to act as an Information Radiator to the Stakeholders and clears Roadblocks out of the Team’s way.
Traits of an Effective ScrumMaster
- Humble with no need to take credit for the Team’s work
- Servant Leader who puts the needs of the Team ahead of his/her own
- Diligently pursues any obstacle blocking the Team’s progress
- Advocates for the Team, Product Owner, and the Scrum process throughout the Organization
The Product Owner has strategic oversight of the Return on Investment (ROI) for the Product. They are involved in Product Planning through Visioning, Road-Mapping, and Release Planning. In general, the Product Owner works with Stakeholders and project sponsors to perform strategic planning.
The Product Owner is also responsible for the Product Backlog. They own it, maintain it, and prioritize it (Note: Some say that the Product Backlog is Ordered, not Prioritized). They always assure that the needs of the Stakeholders are being best presented to the Team for implementation within the Sprints.
Traits of an Effective Product Owner
- Loves to communicate, communicate, communicate
- Able to see the big picture
- Adept and nimble at navigating the political waters
- Holds admiration and respect from the key Stakeholders
- Has a passion for the Product
- Willing to make decisions at the last responsible moment
- Likes to spend time with the Team
- Not afraid to get into the weeds from time-to-time
Think of the Team Member as someone who does the work of developing the Product. A Team is ideally comprised of 5 to 9 members (7 +/- 2). The three primary characteristics of the Team are that they are Cross-Functional – diverse skill sets on the Team, Organizing – everyone decides what type of work they would like to do, and Self-Managing – they decide their own tasks and the order in which to accomplish them.
Traits of an Effective Team Member
- “T-Shaped” person: someone who has deep knowledge in one or two areas, but is also skilled across multiple domains
- Craftsperson who takes pride in doing quality work
- Team player who enjoys the camaraderie of working with others
- An open individual who is willing to share the honest truth
- Someone who isn’t afraid to ask for help when they need it