As you know, Scrum contains three predefined roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team. In this blog post, we bring their responsibilities and characteristics:
A Product Owner has many responsibilities as following:
Maximizing value, creating Items in the Product Backlog, assigning value to the Items, ordering the Items, explaining the Items to everyone (developers/customer/ …), measuring project performance, contacting the customer, etc. Indeed he/she manages the Product Backlog.
In addition, a Product Owner has many characteristics as following:
Owns the Product Backlog, is always one and just one person, not a committee, can be influenced by others, is respected by everyone, can delegate some their responsibilities, full-time or part-time job, can be the Scrum Master or a member of the Development Team at the same time, etc.
A Scrum Master has many responsibilities as following:
Taking care of the Scrum framework, ensuring Scrum is understood by everyone, ensuring Scrum is enacted, helping others to find techniques, may facilitate the events if required or requested, facilitating the team’s decision making, removing Impediments, working with other Scrum Masters, helping the organization to adopt Scrum, teaching time-boxing to the Team members, ensuring the Product Owner spends enough time with the Development Team and stakeholders, promoting self-organization and cross-functionality, etc.
In addition, a Scrum Master has many characteristics as following:
One Scrum Master for each Team, servant leader, a manager (not managing people but managing Scrum process), not a project manager, not a team leader, full-time or part-time job, can be the Product Owner or a member of the Development Team at the same time, etc.
A Development Team has many responsibilities as following:
Developing and creating Increments, estimating the Product Backlog Items and tasks, selecting Items for the Sprint Backlog, decomposing selected Product Backlog Items into tasks, measuring Sprint performance and productivity, calculating velocity, resolving team internal conflicts, composing/refining the DoD (Definition of Done), making technical decisions, etc.
In addition, a Development Team has many characteristics as following:
3-9 members, has no titles, preferably full-time, with no sub-teams, autonomous, self-organizing and cross-functional.
Cross-functionality is a deep and challenging concept that many people have problem sensing it. So here, we used a case study to explain it.
A few months ago, Scrum School team decided to create a motion graphic to show and explain Scrum effectively. At that time, none of us had the experience of producing motion graphics. To resolve the problem we had three options. First, hiring a new member who had the required skills for creating motion graphics. Second, using a third company to produce it for us. Third, having a volunteer in our team to learn the required skills. Because our need was a case and we did not need it forever, we selected the last option.
After a lot of searches, we found out Camtasia software which was a light and great tool for producing professional motion graphics. Honestly, it was almost easy. So, after watching a few free training videos on YouTube, we started writing the scenario. We used a true story from our real lives. Then we read and recorded the sound. Finally, we assembled all widgets, sounds, and background music together and rendered them.
After that experience, our team had a new skill for creating motion graphics. It is a great sample of cross-functionality behavior.
As you can see, cross-functionality is not “as is” state, indeed it is “to be” state within which the team constantly expands its skills throughout the project based on the new learnings and requirements.
To sum up, cross-functionality is a deep concept and behavior that mature Scrum teams play and show well.
If you are a candidate for PSM II or PSM III exams you should learn the above-mentioned concept deeply. Because you will certainly have a few questions about cross-functionality in these exams.
PSM II certification holders best know underlying principles of Scrum for example effective self-organization. You can deeply understand it here.
Effective self-organization requires three things: shared goals, clear accountabilities, and boundaries. Without having each of them, self-organization cannot get flourished and be effective.
In Scrum, a shared goal shows itself through Sprint Goal. A Sprint Goal brings cohesion to the team. Indeed, it is a powerful mechanism for the Development Team to negotiate about the work scope with the Product Owner throughout the Sprint. They need something toward which they can strive and stretch, and an achievement against which they can measure themselves.
Shared goals usually start with the goals for the product, expressed in terms of a clearly articulated business strategy, a well-defined product vision, a clear understanding of customer value, and a clear way to measure it. All of these aspects provide guidance that helps teams see where they are headed and what is important.
The Sprint Goal is also important and provides a comprehensive purpose or objective for the Scrum Team while conducting the Sprint. It provides focus as the team uncovers new information and encounters challenges while building the Increment during the Sprint. You can look at Sprint Goals as the waypoints that make up the path to meet bigger, longer-term release or business goals.
Like soccer game that all players try and help each other to hit goals, Sprint Goals bring an opportunity for the team to collaborate together to hit the business goals. Finally, Sprint Goals align the Development Team members and motivate them to help each other and work toward shared objectives.
As we know, Scrum defines only three roles for a Scrum Team (Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team). These three roles bring clear accountability for having effective self-organization. It provides clear accountabilities for each role. The organization must respect these accountabilities. This means ensuring Scrum Team members are given the authority to fulfill their roles. Team members also need the knowledge and skills to fulfill their accountabilities. This may require an investment in knowledge transfer and training. It may also mean giving people access to information to help guide decisions.
The Scrum Framework, including its 11 elements and the rules that bind them together, provides boundaries that make it “safe” for the Scrum Team to self-organize. By “safe,” we mean that the risk of failure is reduced and the cost of failure is limited.
Time-boxes in Scrum are an example of boundaries that provide focus, create a sense of urgency, reduce waste, and limit risk. Consider how the use of time-boxes is providing these benefits to the team or where their benefits may be lacking.
A “Done” Increment is required at least by the end of a Sprint, and a definition of “Done” provides a clear boundary of what quality and completeness mean to a Development Team. Note that an organization may have a minimum baseline definition of “Done”—this is an example of the organization setting the minimal boundary that a Development Team can then build upon.
To sum up, if you want to have and experience high-level self-organization, you should deliberately work to enhance and boost the three above-mentioned factors. Work with your team members to be comfortable with goals and learn how to live with shared goals. Motivate team players to embrace their accountabilities, improve themselves regarding their roles, and even help their teammates to get more capable about their accountabilities. Finally, teach the team to work on the edge of their potentials within the boundaries. All these will bring effective self-organization that everybody dreams to be part of such teams.
In Scrum School, we help people to learn Scrum effectively and empower them to pass the Scrum.org exams with more confidence.
Scrum is a lightweight framework for developing and delivering complex products. It is the most famous and popular implementation of Agile mindset. Although understanding it seems simple, being a master of it might need people’s lifetime. Generally, when you read Scrum Guide for the first time, you see a pretty simple abstract guide and may wonder how it works. Indeed, knowing Scrum is different from using Scrum. It means, if you know Scrum, it does not mean you can use it effectively. However, being a master of Scrum needs to be good at both sides. Using Scrum effectively needs to have good knowledge plus long experience in the field. Like a soccer player, you will not be a super player unless you practice hard for a long time in pitches. Being a great Scrum player in the field needs a great understanding of Scrum. It can happen through high-quality training and empowerment materials.
Why Scrum School?
Based on this fundamental need, Scrum School has been founded. Its mission is empowering Scrum practitioners. We follow Scrum.org institute, which is the pioneer organization in sustaining and promoting Scrum all over the world. Scrum.org has great high-quality training courses and really well-designed exams, which help people to evaluate their Scrum knowledge. All people who pass those exams will receive the industry recognized Scrum.org certifications.
We believe those exams are comprehensive and can evaluate all aspects of one’s Scrum knowledge perfectly. However, Scrum.org does not introduce special and focused references and resources to people who want to get ready for the exams and actually leaves it to them. To fill this gap, Scrum School is continuously creating and delivering empowerment materials to exams’ candidates. Our experience shows not only these materials are effective to get ready for Scrum.org exams, but they also help people to understand Scrum’s underneath fundamental concepts that can help them to make and boost their Agile and Scrum mindset. This mindset can also help them to use Scrum effectively in the fields.
To sum up, our mission is this: We help people to learn Scrum effectively and empower them to pass the Scrum.org exams with more confidence. So, right now, join us for discovering Scrum beautiful world. We are here: https://www.scrumschool.team
Recently, we have decided to use media for explaining Scrum in a simple way. Indeed, we used a true story based on our experience for this purpose. Also, we used motion graphic media for transferring the concept, because videos have the most impact. So here the result; the motion graphic and also its transcript:
A few years ago
We were three colleagues with many big dreams. A few years ago, a manager from the oil and gas industry had told us if we developed special software, most oil companies would be our customer and we would earn a huge amount of money. Since we were really energetic, we just started to develop that software. We rented an office and went into a cave for two years. Even we hired a few developers to produce high quality and perfect software with all required features. Month after month was coming and we had to pay the expenses. I remember, in a case for having a great and perfect user access management, we used two months.
Came out of the cave
Finally, after two years, we came out of the cave and showed our perfect product to the first customer. Unbelievably, they said they didn’t need that product. We thought and supposed they didn’t understand our work. So, we went to the second customer and unfortunately their answer was also no. The third, the fourth, the fifth, and so to the end. It was horrible and like the end of the world. We had wasted a lot of money and even we had to release our developers. Not only we lost too much money, we missed a lot of opportunities and also two years of our lives. Nothing is worse than producing a perfect product that nobody wants.
What was the problem?
There are many similar cases in the software industry. We asked ourselves what happened and thought about it deeply. The fact was that all things that we had thought were certain were only our thoughts not the facts of the customers. Indeed, there were a lot of things in our project which we already didn’t know. So, how could we resolve and handle them? When we thought, we found out that we should have collaborated with our customers from the beginning of the project. We should have produced the most valuable features first, delivered to them, and got feedback. With this policy, we could have corrected our way.
We found out Scrum
While we were checking and reviewing our mistakes, we found out a new way of working for developing software products, which was called Scrum. Amazingly, in that new approach, there were answers for almost all issues that we had already faced through our project. In this method, projects with a lot of uncertainties, that some of their aspects are not known upfront are called complex projects. Then it says complex projects can fail because of many reasons. So, it is designed in a way that can reveal problems as soon as possible within which the team is able to realize the problems and consequently adapts itself with new learnings. You may ask how? Ok, let’s look at this new way of working.
The essence of Scrum
The essence of Scrum is producing a small chunk of the product and delivering it to customers in order to get feedback. This feedback helps the team to correct and adapt its way. This approach is repeated as many times as required until all valid chunks of the product be produced and delivered to customers. Scrum has some red lines. For example, regardless of the product and context, each iteration should not last more than one calendar month. In Scrum, each iteration is called Sprint.
If you want to take the PSM I exam (Professional Scrum Master I), you can use our various empowering products like this:
Deal with requirements and features
In this framework, all requirements and features are collected in a list, which is called Product Backlog. Then, they are ordered by their value by someone whose role is Product Owner. At the beginning of each Sprint, the Development Team selects some features from the top of the Product Backlog to develop during the Sprint. At the end of the Sprint, those features should be shippable and releasable. Why? Because they should be delivered to customers for getting feedback. This is the core concept of the story. When you have to get feedback from the customers, if you made mistakes, you would find them out within a month at most, not two years. Well, the result is obvious. Correcting the way and escaping from those mistakes and failures before they can destroy your whole business.
The Scrum Master
Scrum has really few elements, while like a chess game, being a master of it is fundamentally difficult. For this reason, another role has added to Scrum, which is called the Scrum Master. This person is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum process implementation. He or she continuously helps and teaches the team to work professionally in the Scrum framework. All three mentioned roles, namely the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Development Team together create the Scrum Team.
Today’s world super-fast changes
By limiting each Sprint’s duration to one month, a powerful mechanism has been created to deal with today’s world super-fast changes. These changes contain requirements changes, customer desire, technology, and business changes. Each change based on our response can be an opportunity or a threat for us. Fortunately, if we use Scrum properly most changes potentially can be opportunities. Creativity has a special position in Scrum. Because it’s the tool to deal with unknowns. Who knows what the next year Apple smartphones look like? If Apple always produces its previous version of smartphones, can it survive in smartphones’ competitive market? All of us saw how Nokia Company went bankrupt.
Finally, I should admit, if we knew Scrum at that time in our project, we may have realized our wrong way within two months at most. Now based on our real heavy failure, we deeply know how Scrum is valuable, which we believe is a fundamental tool for all companies that produce complex products and services and they should not miss it at all. If the story is familiar to you, do not postpone Scrum learning to tomorrow.
Welcome to Scrum world Scrum School
Scrum.org is the home of Scrum. You can find a huge amount of knowledge there.
PSK I exam is a bit expensive, so we have provided a guide for the candidates to prepare, practice and pass it according to our experience.
Scrum.org exams and in this case PSK I exam are challenging and a little bit expensive. So people want to know how they can pass these exams with more confidence. Therefore, we have decided to prepare a series of preparation guides for the Scrum.org exams. Each guide contains minimum mandatory actions that should be done for passing the exam in a suitable timeframe.
Scrum.org has introduced PSK I (Professional Scrum with Kanban I) certificate for all people who want to combine strength of both frameworks. Indeed, each framework i.e. Scrum or Kanban can strengthen each other. For us, as Scrum practitioners, there are a lot of practices in Kanban that can improve our value delivery process dramatically. In this post, we will introduce the PSK I exam (Professional Scrum with Kanban I) step by step preparation guide as follows:
PAL I exam is a bit expensive, so we have provided a guide for the candidates to prepare, practice and pass it according to our experience.
Scrum.org exams and in this case PAL I exam are challenging and a little bit expensive. So people want to know how they can pass these exams with more confidence. Therefore, we have decided to prepare a series of preparation guides for the Scrum.org exams. Each guide contains minimum mandatory actions that should be done for passing the exam in a suitable timeframe.
Scrum.org has introduced PAL I (Professional Agile Leadership I) certificate for all people who have a management position. Indeed, it helps people to transform their mindset from the management world to the leadership world. I believe PAL I exam is tough and for passing it, you should be really prepared before the exam. In this post, we will introduce the PAL I exam (Professional Agile Leadership I) step by step preparation guide as follows:
PSM III exam is expensive and most challenging, so we have provided a guide for the candidates to prepare, practice and pass it according to our experience.
Scrum.org exams and in this case PSM III exam are challenging and expensive. So people want to know how they can pass these exams with more confidence. Therefore, we have decided to prepare a series of preparation guides for the Scrum.org exams. Each guide contains minimum mandatory actions that should be done for passing the exam in a suitable time. The PSM III exam is an essay-based exam and the most difficult one in the Scrum world. So, don’t take the exam before complete preparation. In this post, we will introduce the PSM III exam (Professional Scrum Master III) step by step preparation guide as follows:
The PSM III exam format is a combination of multiple-choice and essay questions and most of them are essay questions, so read Scrum open questions and write answers for them on a paper and practice it a lot. Because of the time limit, you should not write a lot, instead, try to answer just to the point with a few sentences.
PSM II exam is a bit expensive, so we have provided a guide for the candidates to prepare, practice and pass it according to our experience.
Scrum.org exams and in this case PSM II exam are challenging and a little bit expensive. So people want to know how they can pass these exams with more confidence. Therefore, we have decided to prepare a series of preparation guides for the Scrum.org exams. Each guide contains minimum mandatory actions that should be done for passing the exam in a suitable timeframe. When we compare PSM II with PSM I, we should say level II is exponentially harder than level I. So, don’t take the exam before complete preparation. In this post, we will introduce the PSM II exam (Professional Scrum Master II) step by step preparation guide as follows: