Teams in Scrum

Scrum Team vs Team Role in Scrum

In official terms, the Scrum team is made up of all of the Scrum roles: the product owner, the Scrum Master, and a cross-functional team (often called the core Scrum team or development team because they are charged with developing the product or service.) So although you'll often see the core Scrum team referred to simply as the Scrum team, technically speaking the team, or development team, is just one part of the overall Scrum team.

Core Scrum Team Responsibilities

 In Scrum, cross-functional teams execute the product owner’s vision with the help of the Scrum Master. Each team is comprised of the people needed to deliver the work—developers, testers, architects, designers—anyone who is needed. Every team is ideally made up of full-time people dedicated to the project. A core team is responsible for managing its work, its commitments, and the execution of those commitments.

Core Scrum Team Characteristics

Good Scrum team members demonstrate these common characteristics:

  • Open-minded
  • Looking to improve & help others improve
  • Team-focused
  • Respectful
  • Humble
  • Willing to learn new things

Ideal Size for Core Scrum Team

Most Scrum material will say that the ideal core Scrum team size is seven, plus or minus two people. Although that is true, many have found that they prefer small teams with even numbers, because having an even number of people facilitates better XP engineering practice integration, including pair programming. 

With Scrum, the team is truly a team—roles and titles should be removed as it helps build camaraderie and reinforce the idea that "we're all in this together." The goal is to shift the mindset of “I’m a developer and I only write code” and to “I’m a team member who is responsible for delivering this work and I cannot do it alone.” In Scrum, testers often find themselves writing some code and developers often find themselves writing some tests—cross functionality is a good thing.

For a great introduction on how to incorporate the occasional specialist on a cross-functional team, read "Using Team Consultants to Optimize You Organization." In addition, listen to this podcast recording to learn more about achieving successful team dynamics.