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Scrum Roles with pictures

One of the hats I wear at work is Scrum Master. In December I levelled up by attending a course, studying, and passing an exam to become a Professional Scrum Master. This article is the first part of a series where I summarise what I learnt so I can share the knowledge with my team and with the Atlassian Community.

There are three Scrum Team roles recognised in Scrum:

  • Development Team
  • Product Owner
  • Scrum Master

Development Team

In Scrum there is a strong emphasis on the "team" part of Development Team. A Sprint Backlog represents the agreement a team makes of the issues the team will complete in the fixed-length Sprint. The team needs to be self-managing, focusing on doing what is best for the team, to reach the Sprint Goal.


While teams in workplaces are often people group together in similar roles and/or with shared stakeholders working side-by-side, Scrum does not recognise any skill-specific roles within the Development Team like coder, database administrator, and tester etc. Scrum emphasises the need for individual team members, not just teams, to be cross-functional. This reduces dependancies.

Whether it is called a bug fix, feature request, or potentially releasable increments, the Development Team create and deliver.


Product Owner

The Product Owner I work with is a fan of Venn diagrams, which is interesting given how often Venn diagrams are used in articles and blog posts about the Product owner role.


Each Sprint represents an investment. It is not just time passing and effort expended, there is a financial cost to having Development Teams. Product Owners are responsible for the investments needed to get sprints in progress and completed. They need to consider the feasibility, usability, and value of product changes to make sure the sprint backlog is ordered so the highest value items are delivered first (look, another Venn diagram!).


Agile product delivery allows stakeholders to start receiving value sooner and incrementally. The order of the backlog is critical to delivery value and a well-ordered product backlog can allow a project to end earlier than expected while still delivering value - a sad reality when project funding dries up or organisation drivers change unexpectedly.


Product Owners are subject matter experts so need to be accessible to the Development Team throughout the sprint - not just a visitor at meetings.

Scrum Master

Whether you think of it as being a filter, poop parasol, or shit umbrella - a key role of a Scrum Master is to deflect and translate external communication heading for the Development Team so they can concentrate on the active Sprint. This article is a great overview of this role and the long-term aim to build an environment where this barrier is no longer required. The term 'shit umbrella' was new to me but it is remarkably memorable and I am even considering getting a tee-shirt.

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 2.42.37 PM.png

When working with the Development Team another role of the Scrum Master is to be a mirror. The ideal is for the Development Team to be self-managing but even the most efficient team can benefit from reflecting on how they do what they do and why they do things that way. 

Image result for mirror mirror on the wall gif

The never-ending, and most rewarding, part of being a Scrum Master is educating people about Scrum. Often this is focused on the Scrum team and the way the team uses the Scrum framework but this educator role extends to the whole organisation and all stakeholders (including customers). This can help manage expectations around delivery, facilitate feedback loops that are effective and timely, and lead to improved processes within and outside of the Scrum team.




The Development Team (creates Done Increments and manages itself)


Product Owner (manages the product backlog and optimises the value of the product)


Scrum Master (manages the Scrum Framework and removed impediments)


Scrum Team  



When I introduce the Scrum to the team, the following picture is often used, which is easy to understand.


Like # people like this

@Ollie Guan_携程 - that overview is very cute! It is also a lot more succinct than a one-pager guide I printed that needs 4 pages of A4.

Like # people like this

@Kat Warner _TechTime_How did you decided to go for PSM certification? Did you considered CSM also?

Like FUN MAN ANDY likes this

@Kat Warner _TechTime_ - Fantastic article! Great explanation and 'shit umbrella' is my new favorite phrase. 


Like # people like this

@Kat Warner _TechTime_ Great article! I really look forward for the rest of the articles from the series.

Like Kat Warner _TechTime_ likes this

@Deepanshu Natani - I had the super scientific method of reviewing all of the scrum certifications that can be used to extend ACP-300 and matched that list against which ones had courses being taught locally in the next couple of months. 

I am really happy with PSM though. has amazing resources and a lot of future study options.

@Josh_Kochelek__Modus_Create - I know, right? A t-shirt or bag could be a great conversation starter.

@Veronique DUFOUR - thanks for the encouragement.

Like Deepanshu Natani likes this

@Kat Warner _TechTime_ this makes sense :-)

I will also be taking the psm exam next month.

Danny Community Leader Jan 05, 2020

Great overview @Kat Warner _TechTime_

I can definitely see parallels with the term “shit umbrella” and being a “constant educator”. 

Keep up the articles,


Like Deepanshu Natani likes this

@Deepanshu Natani one of the difference between PSM and CSM is that PSM, you keep the title for your entire life and CSM, you need to renew/keep up to date (I think).

Like Deepanshu Natani likes this

@Veronique DUFOURYes, PSM comes with life time validity while CSM needs to be renewed every 2 years.


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