Evolution. Or a Revolution?

www.implementingscrum.com -- Cartoon -- February 26, 2007

Welcome back to a new week at www.implementingscrum.com.
Today I am going to cover a lot of ground at a pretty high level.

I have written about some of these concepts in the past, and this blog entry takes it up a notch (so hang in there with me!).

So in Scrum there are only three defined roles….

Product Owner
Team Member.

That is all. Really.

And this is your team.

This is the team to deliver the completed work item.

Now, there are people out there who discuss (argue?) about which of the roles above is part of the team.

My answer:

All of the roles are members of the team.

It is critical that the roles are defined on a team, understood by the team (and its stakeholders // Chickens), and enforced by the team (not by the stakeholders // Chickens).

Pigs versus Chickens. See this blog entry for more information about this concept.

I’d say all three of the defined roles are Pigs. You cannot be a Pigkin.

Does this mean Pigs and Chickens do not talk?

No. Of course they talk.

However, it is their interactions between the Pigs and Chickens that may differ among the three roles.

The ScrumMaster must interact with the Chickens to help remove impediments. When the team asks for it. The ScrumMaster is also the facilitator of the process for the team. This person is an active member of the team.

The Product Owner must intereact with the Chickens to make sure questions are answered and addressed (from the team members asking). Remember… the Product Owner “owns” the Product Backlog and is responsible for prioritizing it for the team in order to perform effective Sprint Planning (and execution of the Sprint).

Does that mean the Product Owner is ruler supreme?

No. Of course not.

The Product Owner needs to be available to team members for answering questions and helping lend a hand to the team members when time is available.

Wow. Ummm. This is a debatable area.


I have found that when a Product Owner actually has the time / bandwidth to act as a productive member of the team, both the other team members and the Product Owner learn a ton from the other. So, in addition to blocking and tackling the “noise” for the team from outside stakeholders (which sometimes takes almost 100% of their time), the Product Owner is also negotiating with the other stakeholders about the items on the Product Backlog and the said prioritization with that list.

More information about the Product Owner role can be found here [LINK].

This leads us to the last role, a “team member.”

It is fun (and rewarding for all) to see the evolution of a team from specialists (I am a tester, I am an architect, etc.) to “I am a member of X team” (see generalizing specialists).

And, I’d say the ScrumMaster and Product Owner are an active part of the team.

This happens to a naturally evolving and growing team.


All teams. Who want it to happen.

Bruce Tuckman has written extensively on the stages a team goes through during its development.

They include:


And, as Mark Pushinsky (one of the trainers I co-teach with) has added…

Mourning. (Although it looks like Dr. Tuckman may be calling this adjourning… see we may not be all that creative lol).

The reason for this addition is when a team is “done” doing its work, the team members do need time to decompress and figure out how to “start over” with a new team as they leave the current team.

This process happens with all teams.


You cannot skip any of the stages.

If you try, go back to ground zero and start again at Forming.


If your team changes at any point during its life (people come and go), guess what?

You need to start over at ground zero all over again.

Is all the above correct? I think there will be debates (ahh… better word than arguments) from people about this minuta for years to come.

Gotta run…

Please send comments, questions, criticisms, ideas, or whatever here.

You can also enter The Scrum Community to discuss this cartoon and other Scrum topics. Thank you!

Originally Published:
February 26, 2007
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *