Scrum Teams do not rely on assigned project management roles, rather the team organizes and manages itself.
When to Use Self-Organizing Teams
An integral part of the Agile/Scrum project management methodology is self-organized Scrum Teams. These teams are formed as part of Sprint Planning and stay in place through the Sprint Retrospective.
There is no individual with the title and full responsibilities of a traditional project manager. This role is divided between the Scrum Master, Product Owner and the Scrum Team members:
- Scrum Master – coach and facilitator.
- Chairs project meetings.
- Takes the lead on “busting barriers” and reducing risk.
- Maintains status tracking – Scrum Board and Burn-down Chart.
- Product Owner – requirements decision-maker.
- Interacts with stakeholders to clarify needs and expectations.
- Reviews and approves completion of project work.
- Scrum Team – plan and execute.
- Plans the tasks.
- Assigns work to individuals or sub-groups.
- Identifies risks and issues.
Some individuals thrive in the unstructured environment of a Scrum Team; some people find it very uncomfortable to not have assigned tasks, defined roles, and a division of responsibility.
Hints and Tips
- If the culture of the organization has been one of clear and strict lines of responsibility and task assignment, this structure will be a drastic change. You may need to apply some cultural change activities to help the team and organization become comfortable with this approach.
- The Scrum Master and Product Owner are keys to creating a self-organizing team. Their interactions with the Scrum Team will indicate the limits of Scrum Team empowerment.
- Stakeholders who don’t understand the concept of the self-organizing Scrum Team can disrupt the team dynamics. It is best to insist that the stakeholders must interact with the Product Owner and Scrum Master, not team members.
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