Developers in Scrum

In official terms, the Scrum team is made up of three accountabilities, which are often called roles in Scrum: The Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the people who execute the work each Sprint, the Developers, or as I sometimes call them, the delivery people.

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

Developer / Delivery 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. The developers are responsible for managing their work, their commitments, and the execution of those commitments.

Ideal Development Team Size

Most Scrum material will say that the ideal number of Scrum team members is 10 or less. While this 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 my book, The Scrum Field Guide. Optionally please read this blog post, and in addition, listen to this podcast recording to learn more about achieving successful team dynamics.