Missed Part 1? Click here to read it:[Part 1] The Agile Methodology: Understanding Each Step in the Process Flow
Agile methods are widely used in various sectors because it helps teams work more efficiently. The goal of the agile methodology is simple: rapid software delivery through an iterative and incremental process developed to adapt and improve the product’s quality from an end-user perspective.
But before you can successfully complete a project, a cooperative team is necessary. Determining each role in an agile team is crucial because it allows members to take responsibility for how they work and to keep improving themselves.
Agile Roles and Responsibilities
Listed below are the members of an agile project management team and what each of them does.
Teams using the agile methodology are created to inspect and adapt, meaning a simple change in priority may result in a massive change to products, the team structure, and the end result. Therefore, it’s imperative for agile teams to be successful and that only one individual sets the priority. That person is known as the product owner, and may sometimes be referred to as a "customer representative."
The product owner is an individual who is mainly responsible for connecting the client, business stakeholders, and development team with each other. This person is an expert when it comes to determining the customer’s needs and priorities, and has extensive knowledge about the product.
By working with the development team on a regular basis, the product owner helps clarify requirements and keep the organizational noise at bay. The product owner should also always be decisive because they're the one tasked with making tough calls every day until the project is done. The product owner is also the one who balances the needs of other stakeholders within the organization.
In addition, they should be able to take note of input from various individuals and decide which ones should be prioritized in the project. This last is possibly the most important responsibility of product owners. A project with unclear directions and conflicting priorities reduces the team’s effectiveness. It could also ruin the crucial trust relationship that serves as the foundation connecting the development team to the business.
Members of the Development Team
The development team is made up of the people who create the product. Members of this software development group include testers, designers, programmers, data engineers, writers, and anyone else who is directly contributing to the product development process.
Depending on the type of product, the development team members may possess different skills. Each member should be flexible and capable of contributing in many ways to help get the team closer to their primary goals.
The development team needs to be able to self-organize so they can come up with decisions to get things done quickly. Contrary to what most people may think, self-organization is not about disrespecting the organization. Instead, it’s about empowering team members to do what is necessary to solve the issue at hand.
Because of this, development teams can be likened to the usual production support team that is called in during the night in case something wrong happens. Just like a production support team, the development team in an agile project can make their own decisions and deliver a solution to the problem immediately.
Also called the team lead, a scrum master is tasked to support the development team. They clear any organizationals and maintain consistency in the agile process. Another term used to call a scrum master is “project facilitator.” A scrum master is a servant leader who provides a supportive kind of leadership and assists team members on a day-to-day basis.
When it comes to sprint planning and sprint reviews, the scrum master ensures that the direction and value are clearly set. They work alongside the development team in the daily scrum by constantly keeping the work in line and removing any potential obstacles.
They are also the ones who take full responsibility for blockers that are beyond the team’s ability to fix. The scrum master makes it a point that each opportunity for improvement is made transparent to the scrum team. In addition, they make sure the retrospective describes a clear set of outcomes that the team can execute.
Stakeholders are people who have an interest in the project. Although they aren't directly responsible for the development of the product, they give the necessary input to help improve it. They are also affected by the project’s outcome.
This group of people is diverse and may include individuals from different companies or departments. For any project using the agile methodology to succeed, the stakeholders must be closely involved in the process. They should offer feedback on a regular basis and support not only to the development team but also to the product owner.
An agile mentor is someone experienced in implementing agile projects and can share their knowledge with the project team. As a mentor, they provide valuable advice and feedback to new project teams, as well as existing teams who want to elevate their performance.
While agile mentors do not have any responsibility in executing product development, they are required to have relevant experience in applying agile principles. They also need to be knowledgeable about the latest and most effective agile techniques and approaches.
The agile mentor works by assisting the scrum master with the next set of scrum events. The agile mentor and scrum master will work together to lead all the succeeding events, and the mentor will start to fade into the background as the project progresses. This enables the scrum master to facilitate the upcoming sprints freely while still having the security of an expert and trusted adviser by his or her side.
After that, the mentor will continue to collaborate with the scrum master to help expand their knowledge and comfort–equipped with examples coming from their most recent work together.
Agile Methodology: Creating a Team that Constantly Improves
Every member of your team matters just as much as, if not more than, your project plan and structure. Place people in roles where they can excel, and identify clear standards to hold them accountable to those positions. By doing so, you will end up not only with better products but also a company and team that substantially improves with each new project.