What is a Scrum team?

There are two team definitions in Scrum which can sometimes be confusing.

The Scrum team by definition is a self-organizing cross-functional team that regularly delivers potentially shippable product increments.

As the official description of Scrum, the Scrum Guide states:

“Self-organizing teams choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team. Cross-functional teams have all competencies needed to accomplish the work without depending on others not part of the team. ”

What do we need for this to happen?

  • The Scrum Team needs to be able to decide what to work on. In a nutshell, this is the responsibility of the Product Owner. The PO represents the business, is responsible to collect, formalize and order all customer requirements and provide relevant business information (including regular feedback) to the team.
  • The Scrum Team also needs to be able to decide how to work, as in define their own processes. Helping this is one of the major responsibilities of the ScrumMaster, the internal coach, who first helps the team to become good, then helps the team to keep getting better.
  • And of course the Scrum Team needs to be able to deliver. This is where the Development Team – the second team definition that we referred to earlier – comes in. They are the ones actually delivering the product. Although the name is “Development” team, it’s not only a bunch of software developers. Everyone who is required for delivering a complete product increment, including testers, UI designers, etc. are part of the team. In a sense they are also “developing” the product, even if they don’t necessarily write code.

For more on the roles and the team definitions, read the respective chapter of the Scrum Guide: http://scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html#team