A Development Team in Scrum is an interdisciplinary group consisting of all the people involved in creating a Product. In today’s article, we will look at what characteristics it should have. We will also consider the composition and responsibilities of a Development Team that is able to effectively achieve its Objectives.

Development Team in Scrum – table of contents:

  1. Development Team Features
  2. Development Team
  3. Responsibilities of the Development Team
  4. Summary

Development Team Features

The Development Team working in accordance with Scrum principles is an independent group of specialists. It does not use the support of external specialists or subcontractors. But what determines that the Team is well matched to accomplish the Goal? And what responsibilities are included in the tasks of a Development Team – regardless of its specialization?

In order to be effective, a Development Team must have at least three characteristics: the ability to self-organize, the drive to grow, and interdisciplinarity.

Self-organization

When we talk about Scrum Team, of which the Development Team is a part, we use the term ”self-management”. It means self-management at the organization level. The Scrum Team as a whole decides not only who will do the work and how, but also what they will work on. In a Scrum Team, a large part of the management tasks belongs to the Product Owner and Scrum Master.

Development Team

Therefore, in the case of a Development Team, self-organization is more important than self-management. It refers to planning responsibilities, i.e., deciding for yourself who will perform certain tasks, when and how.

The pursuit of development

A key feature of an effective Team is the drive for growth. The way of completing the tasks set before it should be ambitious. This results not only from individual predispositions and attitude of each member of the Development Team. Raising competence and effort is also encouraged by the atmosphere in the Team, which defines it as a whole.

Interdisciplinarity

Interdisciplinarity of the Team means that its members together should have all the skills necessary to create valuable Increment in each Sprint. It also means that each member of the Team performs the tasks necessary for that Sprint. Everyone does what is necessary to achieve the Goal. Even if it means taking on new tasks beyond the Developer’s expertise. It is a mistake to rigidly stick to one’s professional competencies or role.

development team features

Development Team

According to the Scrum Guide, the maximum number of Developers is eight. Such a small composition encourages communication and openness, as Team members have the opportunity to get to know each other. However, the Team should not be smaller than three people. It needs to be big enough to make business-visible progress in each Sprint.

Developers within Scrum are called people with a wide variety of skills and responsibilities. In no case is the name reserved for people who do programming. Thus, the Team may include programmers and designers, researchers and analysts, testers and scientists, as well as other specialists.

There is no hierarchy among Developers. That is why they do not use professional or scientific titles.

An important assumption about the composition of the Development team is that it is a unity. Therefore, smaller teams working on other Goals should not be separated from it.

Responsibilities of the Development Team

The responsibilities of the Development Team can be divided into three areas. These are:

  • Planning tasks
  • Working on the product
  • Improving collaboration within the Team

Planning tasks

Task scheduling is an obligation that all Scrum-based Development Teams have to fulfill. It consists in creating a Sprint plan and putting it into a Sprint Backlog, which we will describe in a separate article. The most significant thing is that the Development Team works on it together. This way each of the Developers will be able to realistically determine the number of tasks to be done in a given Sprint. In the long run, this allows the Team to maintain a constant pace and plan more accurately.

It is equally essential to keep an eye on the pulse, i.e., to adjust the plan to reality daily. If problems arise, there may be a need to change: to reorganize the tasks, distribute the work differently, or talk to the Scrum Master about emerging difficulties.

Working on the product

The forms of working on a Product can vary dramatically depending on the area in which a given Development Team operates. Generally speaking, the goal to be achieved in each Sprint is to create an Increment, i.e., a business-valuable Product feature.

It is useful here to speak directly and apply the following rule:

When you undertake work on a Product, you must leave it in a state that is not only improved but no less finished than the previous version.

Applying this principle means that the Team as a whole takes responsibility for the Increment. If a Developer performs tasks carelessly, causing the quality of the Product to deteriorate, someone else will have to do the work for them. On the other hand, if any Developer hits bugs in the Product, they should fix them themselves or pass the bug information to someone who can do it. We will write more about working on Product Increment within a Sprint in a separate article.

Improving Collaboration in the Team

Working on the way the Team operates is about constantly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of individual Developers.

However, it is also, or maybe above all, work on communication between Developers. The improvement consists in working out solutions that enable efficient and accurate task division. And also practicing skills:

  • criticize solutions, not people – changing the language we use to describe work leads to a change of attitude and improved collaboration
  • distancing yourself from your ideas – it enables humor and more honest feedback
  • building trust – thanks to trust there can be many more innovative ideas proposed by Developers without fear of negative reaction of the environment

Improving Team collaboration is accomplished through ongoing reflection on how the Team works and providing feedback during the Scrum Events described in this article.

Development Team in Scrum

Summary

In today’s article we present the characteristics, composition and responsibilities of a Scrum Development Team. Interdisciplinarity, self-organization and the desire for development characterize this small team. And continuous improvement of team work and effective work on the Product – these are the tasks that every Development Team has to fulfill.

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Scrum Guide | 13. Development Team in Scrum caroline becker avatar 1background

Author: Caroline Becker

As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.

Scrum Guide:

  1. Glossary of basic terms, roles and notions
  2. What is Scrum?
  3. Scrum values
  4. How to implement Scrum in your company?
  5. Scrum Team - what is it and how does it work?
  6. Who is a Product Owner?
  7. The most common mistakes of Product Owner
  8. Who is the Scrum Master?
  9. Characteristics of a good Scrum Master
  10. The most common mistakes of Scrum Master
  11. What statistics and metrics should the Scrum Master track?
  12. Cooperation between Product Owner and Scrum Master
  13. Development Team in Scrum
  14. The most common mistakes of Developers
  15. Scrum artifacts
  16. Scaling Scrum
  17. Sprint Backlog
  18. What is the Product Backlog?
  19. What are User Stories?
  20. Creating the best User Story with INVEST
  21. The most common User Story mistakes
  22. User Story Acceptance Criteria
  23. Estimation and Story Points in Scrum
  24. Planning Poker
  25. Team Estimation Game
  26. Defining Increment
  27. Scrum events
  28. What is Sprint in Scrum?
  29. Scrum Team Commitments - Product Goal, Sprint Goal and Definition of Completion
  30. What is a Burndown Chart?
  31. How to create and interpret a burndown chart?
  32. Advantages and disadvantages of the burndown chart
  33. Kanban boards in Scrum and Scrumban
  34. Velocity in Scrum - Speed of the Development Team
  35. Daily Scrum
  36. Sprint Planning
  37. Sprint Review
  38. What is a Sprint Retrospective?
  39. Common mistakes during a Sprint Retrospective
  40. Product Backlog nurturing