If, like me, your first roles in change delivery projects were in traditionally organised and regimented organisations, you will be a little lost in the non-ranked and confusingly job titled world of Agile Teams. Traditionally, we are used to the terms Project Manager, Test Manager, Program Manager, Developer, Business Analyst, Database Admin, UX Lead etc, to identify someone in the corporate hierarchy. Everyone knew his or her place and the reporting structure. The title usually identified someone’s position in the organisational hierarchy and reporting structure.
Agile views this area differently. Rather than the title, Agile looks at your role in the context of overall delivery of your team. The team’s role is to deliver small pieces of business value adding functionality in time-boxed sprints (iterations). So we see the team, made up of team members, (devoid of traditional titles), being referred to as Agile Developers (no matter what your background – Business/ Coding / Quality). The emphasis is on delivery through the collaboration of cross-functional teams. The Agile concept of Definition of Done (DOD) can be applied here – no one if finished till we are all finished and satisfied the work has achieved a shippable value. So we have a well-rounded team with a rich pool of skills (business insight, programming knowledge, testing skills etc) all called Agile Team Developers.
The two other roles you may encounter are Product Owner and Scrum Master. The Product Owner is the person tasked with developing, prioritising and refining the Team Backlog. The Agile Team rely upon and trust the Product Owner to constantly streamline the backlog to keep the Sprint deliverables relevant to delivering business value. The Agile Team have on-demand access to the Product Owner for quick decision making in business insights.
The Scrum Master is the Agile Team member who orchestrates the Agile Team’s working rhythm, ensuring the ceremonies and cadence are ritually observed. The Scrum Master defends the Agile Team against outside influence that disrupts the rhythm. The Scrum Master also supports the Agile Team by removing blockages, mentoring Agile Team members and facilitating team self-improvement through leading the Retrospective initiative.