The Product Owner understands the beverage choices and food preferences of the group, so he decides what’s on the menu to choose from. The Scrum Master works out the best process to order the drinks and food in a packed pub, he’s also got checks and balances to make sure that everyone gets the right drink, is happy with it, gets through it and whether they want to make any changes for the next round. The Development Team decides what they want to have, in what order, and how much they think they can eat and drink this session, and then they work hard together to polish it all off.
Although it sounds comical, each of these 3 roles on a Scrum Team are critical.
The Product Owner is on the hook for the vision and overall delivery of the Product (which in marketing terms could be a campaign, website, event, app etc). They care about defining the vision and what to build, and ensuring ROI. They make sure the team builds the right thing. In Marketing, you could also call this role the Marketing Owner, they should have a deep understanding of the customers and their needs, and bring this empathy to the team.
The Scrum Master is like the coach who’s there to support the team and they care about agility and how the team works. They’re all about process and teamwork and they keep the team on track in following the Scrum framework. They make sure the team builds it sooner.
The Development Team is charged with building the product, or doing the work. They’re a multi-disciplinary team with all the skills required to get the job done. Think a mix of designers, developers, marketers, or whatever the required skillset is for the project. It’s not to be confused with the typical definition of a Development Team which may only have Software or Web Developers.
A big principle is having the right skills on the team so that they are self-organising and they can get the work done without relying on outside resources. But as important is that the team members don’t just stick to their skill all the time, where needed they’ll swarm onto a problem to help the team out, even if it falls outside of their deep expertise. The development team care about building the thing right. Ideally the development team is no fewer than 3 and no more than 9, or as Jeff Bezos calls it a two pizza team, as two pizzas should be able to feed them (though they must be pretty big pizzas!).
So each role is critical, and they all work together. In reality, it depends on the size of your team whether you can afford to have full-time individual devoted to each position. In some large teams, a PO or SM may be across multiple projects, or some people may need to wear different hats on different projects. The important thing is clarifying who is doing what, and giving that person the support, training and encouragement to let them play that part and help their team be at its best.
If you get it right, there may be plenty of well-organised celebration sessions (Sprint Reviews) at the pub, or non-drinking venue of your choice.
Read next: What is Scrum Exactly?