Scrum - Who Does What

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

This is a Quick Reference Guide to who does what in Scrum; who creates artifacts, who manages artifacts, who estimates, who attends events, who facilitates, and who creates reports.


This guide is a starting point for Scrum Team members to understand their roles and responsibilities in Scrum.



PRODUCT


WHO CREATES THE IDEA FOR THE PRODUCT

This depends on the organisation and situation. Sometimes a customer will have an idea for a product that they need someone to build, sometimes a company or person will come up with an idea and create a product it thinks customers will want. So it could be the Product Management team, the Product Owner with the Product Management team, the Product Owner with the Scrum Team, the customer, the customer with the Product Management team- there are many scenarios. But in Scrum, before it gets to the Developers, the Product Owner will define the Product and its vision. The Product Owner will then articulate the Product through the Roadmap and Product Backlog items, by creating User Stories and Personas which can be turned into tasks that the team can create and release. 


WHO CREATES THE PRODUCT BACKLOG

The Product Owner creates and owns the Product Backlog. Only they can prioritise items. However, anyone can add items to the Product Backlog. The Product Owner ensures that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent and clear to all. 


WHO CREATES EPICS

Anyone. They are created by anyone in the Product Backlog. They are not always known to be Epics when created as they are just User Stories, however, if they are too large to deliver in a Sprint, then they get refined by the entire Scrum Team in a Product Backlog Refinement session. Where there are groups of Epics and Stories, these can be divided into Themes for easier management. 


WHO CREATES USER STORIES

Anyone. Anyone can add them to the Product Backlog but is up to the Product Owner only to prioritise them and to make sure they are written well and clear to everyone. They are written throughout the project. The Product Owner and Developers break these stories into items that can be delivered within a Sprint during Product Backlog Refinement sessions. 


WHO DOES PRODUCT BACKLOG REFINEMENT

The Product Owner and Developers perform backlog refinement. This can happen at any time and is executed as a group. Ideally scheduled twice a week, and also before the first Sprint to help the Scrum Team alignment around the Product. The Product Owner usually leads these sessions. 




SCRUM EVENTS


WHO CREATES THE SPRINT BACKLOG

The Developers create and own the Sprint Backlog which is created during the Sprint Planning event. Only they can add estimated items to it. The Scrum Master usually updates the Sprint Backlog after Sprint Planning and before the next Daily Scrum (although Developers may update their own as they progress).


WHO ESTIMATES USER STORY POINTS

The Developers only. Only they will know how big the Backlog Items are or long they will take to complete as they will be performing that work and meet the Definition of Done. The Scrum Master may facilitate this during Sprint Planning, they can use Planning Poker or similar estimation techniques to get to a consensus. 


WHO DEFINES THE DEFINITION OF DONE

The Developers define it but is owned by both the Developers and the Product Owner. It can be a common Definition of Done displayed on the physical wall to help everyone understand what is needed to move an item to ‘done’. Each User Story or PBI can have some specific acceptance criteria on the reverse side of the card or sticky note (or as a field in electronic Backlogs) so that it’s clear when it’s complete. It is usually defined during Sprint Planning for each Sprint for each PBI or when refined. It can be on the reverse of the card or in electronic versions, a field in the PBI.


WHO PARTICIPATES IN SPRINT PLANNING

The whole Scrum Team - ie. the Developers, the Product Owner and the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master facilitates the Sprint Planning event. The Developers estimate PBIs so that they can determine which ones will fit into the Sprint Backlog from the Product Backlog.


WHO PARTICIPATES IN SPRINT REVIEWS

The whole Scrum Team plus any stakeholders invited by the Product Owner. Scrum Master facilitates if needed, otherwise, the Developers run the demo and the review of the Sprint themselves. 


WHO PARTICIPATES IN SPRINT RETROSPECTIVES

The whole Scrum Team. The Scrum Master ensures it takes place, keeps track of the timebox and can facilitate the event, but otherwise, the Developers run the event and inspect how the Sprint went for each of the team members. 


WHO ATTENDS THE DAILY SCRUM

All Developers are mandatory, and the Scrum Master needs to ensure the event takes place and runs to time. The Product Owner is optional but is recommended so they can get an update on progress and arising issues; it will create more transparency and cohesion. They can potentially help resolve outstanding blockers or answer questions. In more mature Scrum teams, the Scrum Master may not be required. The Scrum Master may help facilitate, but the Developers need to run it. They will be the ones updating each other on project status and roadblocks. Other stakeholders may attend to hear updates, but should only be there to listen. They can talk at the end, or schedule a meeting afterwards. 




SCRUM METRICS


WHO CREATES THE BURN DOWN CHART

The Scrum Master or the Developers create it just after the Sprint Planning event when they have committed to the Sprint Backlog. It is then placed in an area where it can be seen by the Scrum Team, either on a wall near the team or in a virtual electronic area, and accessible by the Scrum Team and stakeholders. The Scrum Master usually updates the chart daily after Daily Scrum.


WHO DETERMINES VELOCITY

The Scrum Master or the Developers determine velocity by the amount of User Story Points the team has completed in one Sprint. This is key information for either the Sprint Retrospective or the next Sprint Planning.






RedAgile are Australia's leading Agile Scrum training provider certified by the Scrum Alliance. As Australia's best Scrum training provider we offer Agile Scrum training courses and consulting services both online and in-person. Our training portfolio includes: Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) as well as our new Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) and Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO) courses.



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