Scrum Rules: The Scrum Team Does Not Include Any Other People

June 22, 2020
4 minute read

Since the Scrum Team only includes three roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the Development Team Members, there is no need to have other people on the team. Each of the Scrum roles has a specific function that requires their full-time attention.

These roles are all the roles necessary to accomplish the creation of a high-performance Scrum Team and a high quality product. Adding people to the team who have any other roles will hinder the team from engaging in the requisite amount of self-organizing behaviour, thus hindering productivity and quality.

The Scrum Master of the team should consider two scenarios in order to help the team follow the rule that the Scrum Team does not include other people than the Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team Members. The first scenario is that of people who are “extra” who are nominally on the team, but don’t contribute to doing tasks from the Sprint Backlog. The second scenario is that of people who are doing work from the Sprint Backlog but who have non-Scrum roles or titles. For both scenarios, the first step is education: the Scrum Master should ensure that everyone on the team and all stakeholders know the definition of “Scrum Team” and help them to use the term correctly. Just the proper use of language can have a significant effect! In the first scenario, with extra people, once the use of language is ingrained, the Scrum Master can then start to facilitate behavioural boundaries around the true members of the Scrum Team and the outsiders. For example, the Scrum Master can start by facilitating the Scrum meetings so that non-team members are just observers and then gradually work to ensure that non-team members do not attend the Scrum meetings, except, of course, as observers of the Daily Scrum and participants in the Sprint Review. In the second scenario, the work of the Scrum Master is usually long and difficult: it involves changing the role definitions of people who may not even want to give up their existing positions! The Scrum Master, having educated the team members, can then build on that by using techniques such as a skills matrix to blur the lines around specific role definitions. Proper facilitation of the team members volunteering for tasks also assists in this process. Eventually, the Scrum Master will need to work with the HR department or upper management to formalize role definitions for the Scrum Master, Product Owner and Development Team Member roles.

Cross-functional teams have all competencies needed to accomplish the work without depending on others not part of the team…. — The Scrum Guide

Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members other than Developer, regardless of the work being performed by the person; there are no exceptions to this rule; — The Scrum Guide

Scrum recognizes no sub-teams in the Development Team, regardless of particular domains that need to be addressed like testing or business analysis; there are no exceptions to this rule; — The Scrum Guide

Individual Development Team members may have specialized skills and areas of focus, but accountability belongs to the Development Team as a whole. — The Scrum Guide

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Capital One
Equitable Life of Canada
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