The Role of the Developer in a Scrum Team

Having covered the Scrum Events in recent blog posts I’m going to move onto the three Roles in any Scrum Team. These are Developers, Product Owner, and Scrum Master. This post will be about the Developers, I’ll cover the other two in subsequent posts.

Developer here is a rather broad term. Scrum is most commonly used in the software industry but not exclusively, and as we all know there are many other skills required to build and deliver software than crunching code. For the sake of simplicity The Scrum Guide has termed anyone working to create the product a Developer.

Developers are the people in the Scrum Team that are committed to creating any aspect of a usable Increment each Sprint.

The Scrum Guide 2020

It goes on to explain that the skillsets that the developers will need are wide and varied depending on the domain and nature of the product. For all intents and purposes the “Developer” is anyone who does the work. This could include (but is not limited to) Programmers, Testers, Automation Engineers, Infrastructure Engineers, and UX Experts. From the point of view of Scrum there is no distinction between these roles.

Interestingly the Scrum Master and Product Owner can also be Developers, it’s just that they take on more responsibilities with the additional role.

In Scrum a Developer is anyone who is involved in creating the increment each sprint.

Where the Scrum Guide goes into in more detail is what the developers are accountable for.

Creating a plan for the Sprint, the Sprint Backlog in other words the Developers, as the people doing the work are the ones accountable for creating the plan and Sprint Backlog. This is in stark contrast to more traditional management models where “the boss” creates the plan and assigns work.

Instilling quality by adhering to a Definition of Done the Developers are experts in their domain and professionals. They will create the Defintion of Done with the Product Owner and Stakeholders and hold themselves accountable to adhering to it.

Adapting their plan each day toward the Sprint Goal usually during the Daily Scrum. The Developers will inspect the current progress and adapt if required. They may seek out the Scrum Master or Product Owner if the impediments need to be adapted or if the approach to the Sprint Goal needs to change.

Holding each other accountable as professionals the best teams hold themselves accountable because the end results are important to them. All Scrum Team members should hold each other accountable for their actions and behaviour in a open and respectful manner.

Developers should hold each other accountable as professionals

It’s not easy being a Scrum Developer, a lot is expected of you. However, the experience of working in a team where people respect each other and have the courage to speak up and respectfully challenge ideas and designs is hugely rewarding.

This is why Scrum makes the accountabilities and values of each developer so transparent in it’s guides and resources.

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