Team Roles

The Team is the foundation of Agility. Since the early days of Agile, the focus has been on breaking down impediments to self-organization, collaborative genius, and single-piece flow of work at the team level. The breakthrough improvements seen by early adopters powered the Agile movement and led to the development of approaches for scaling these results beyond the team, across the technology enterprise and even into business value streams. Regardless of the approach or scope of an Agile transformation, success begins at the Team Holon, and depends in turn on the growth and alignment of the individual Team Members that comprise it.

Values & Goals
Committed to the product vision
Demonstrates commitment & responsibility
Proactively acts & communicates
Willing to learn & grow
Challenges the status quo if appropriate
Customer focused
Product & Impact
Delivers customer value
Ensure Quality (avoid defects)
Healthy team metrics
Creates reusable functionality
Leadership & Culture
Shares responsibility towards ToT goal
Embodies Team Culture
Transparent, overcommunication
Shares best practices
Innovation & Growth culture
Business & tech partnership
Markets & Environment
Follows/Trusts the processes & standards
Ability to network with outside systems
Ruthlessly eliminates waste
Balances internal & external needs
Automation focus

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Product Owner

The Product Owner owns the vision for the product they are supporting. They are responsible for defining user stories, prioritizing the backlog and enabling their team to efficiently deliver value. 
 
Another key responsibility of the Product Owner is accepting their team’s user stories by confirming they meet the acceptance criteria, the Definition of Done and, most importantly, the needs of their users. 
 
In addition to internal team responsibilities, the Product Owner owns external team relationships with other POs, stakeholders, leaders, and customers. 
 
The Product Owner does not need to be the foremost expert for their given product (though it helps), but they do need to be passionate about the product they are building. A PO who isn’t an expert can still succeed if they have good relationships with the stakeholders, SMEs, and customers they represent.

Values & Goals
Passionate about the product
Result oriented
Clearly communicates value
Deep understanding of the market & customer needs
Product & Impact
Creates Backlog/User Stories
Defines priority
Makes Stories READY
Creation of value
Accept stories when done
Leadership & Culture
Owns the Vision
Communicates with Stakeholders/Client
Shares overall value with team (context)
Markets & Environment
Owns the process/methodology
Product impact on system/product family
Market impact

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Technical Lead

Technical LeadThe Team Technical Lead is accountable for the integrity of the technical platform that the team is building. This includes alignment with architectural standards and ability to support the current and future functional and non-functional requirements of the product or solution the team is working on. Additionally the Technical Lead is responsible for the quality of the code produced by team members, and fostering learning and knowledge sharing within the team to ensure they are able to continue to maintain and extend the solution over time without incurring waste due to specialized knowledge, attrition, or code that is hard to read and understand.

The Technical lead may also be responsible for establishing, maintaining, and ensuring best practices within the team’s Continuous Integration, Test-Driven-Development, automated testing and deployment staging environments. In all cases the Technical Lead should seek to educate and delegate these responsibilities to individual team members to prevent becoming a bottleneck or checkpoint in the delivery pipeline and to maintain availability as a technical servant leader to the team.

Values & Goals
Technical Subject Matter Expert
Mentor mindset
Open minded
Product & Impact
Execute work
Create educational & architectural artifacts
Defines solution
Creates standards
Helps define outcomes
Challenge business ideas
Ensure Quality (avoid defects)
Leadership & Culture
Support team members
Train/teach the team
Provides clarity/confidence/guidance
Provides feedback
Markets & Environment
Ensure Quality (system/performance)
Sets up environment
Proven process

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Scrum Master/Team Coach

Scrum Master/Team CoachThe role that started it all… before the advent of Scaled Agile the Scrum Master was the #1 Agile champion in every Team. Laser focused on health, happiness and performance, Scrum Masters created a bubble of protection around their teams - this video is a great play on that idea - allowing them to focus on the efficient delivery of value.

While the expansion of the Agile toolkit (scaling, business agility, design thinking, etc.) has opened necessary pathways for achieving these results more broadly, it has also left many Scrum Masters unsure where to focus their energies.

The answer is still with your team. Teams are the foundation of Agility, and whether running Scrum, Kanban or something else, with focus and adaptation they can work miracles.

Values & Goals
Understand how they contribute to the shared purpose
Demonstrates commitment & responsibility
Proactively acts & communicates
Willing to learn & grow
Customer focused
Product & Impact
Executes work
Ensures Quality (avoid defects)
Operates with transparency
Challenges the status quo
Leadership & Culture
Collaborates rather than competes
Gives & receives feedback
Honest & Respectful communicator
Markets & Environment
Follows/Trusts the processes & standards
Ability to network with outside systems

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Subject Matter Expert

Subject Matter ExpertSubject Matter Experts are typically shared across multiple teams, and support them in a specific domain. They weigh in on various ideas, help refine User Stories, and help test & verify that results are correct. SMEs should understand the overall business objective as well as the needs of the market and customers. They freely share their knowledge and need to be adept at managing their capacity as teams may pull them in multiple directions.

Values & Goals
Understand how they contribute to the shared purpose
Demonstrates commitment & responsibility
Proactively acts & communicates
Willing to learn & grow
Product & Impact
Empirical Observation of progress & improvement
Configures the Agile tooling
Promotes achievement mindset
Leads by example
Leadership & Culture
Creates trust relationships
- Safe, Collaborative environment
- Accountability & Integrity
Visibility & Transparency
Motivates & inspires
Helps team commit
Mentors
Markets & Environment
Owns the process/methodology
Clear Impediments
Schedules & Facilitates meetings
Improves flow
Creates environment of success
Integration of industry standards & future innovations

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Stakeholder/Business Owner

Stakeholder/Business OwnerStakeholders of a team are those who are greatly impacted by what the team is working on. This broad role ranges from key customers, people who consume the services provided, leaders, and even the sponsor for the project/product. Stakeholders should help create success metrics and set milestones, but their main contribution is to give feedback and influence the product as it's being developed. A good rule of thumb is to invite Stakeholders to all Sprint Reviews but let them know if there has not been enough functionality built for them to give valuable feedback, as it can sometimes take more than one sprint to implement features that bring value to them.

Values & Goals
Engaged in the Agile process
Customer focused
Clear of purpose & direction
Value/Impact mindset
Product & Impact
Creates measurements for success
Rapid decision making
Attends Demos
Attends Continuous Improvement events
Leadership & Culture
Partners with the Product Owner
Gives the team directional feedback
Trusts the team
Markets & Environment
Uses long feedback loops to course correct
Stays ahead of the market
Aligns with broader organizational objectives

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Team

TeamThe Agile Team is the most important unit in any Agile organization. This is where Agile began, and got noticed due to the tremendous results that were seen when teams were empowered to take responsibility for their own success, direct their own planning and estimation, work at a sustainable pace, and strive for continuous improvement supported by transparency, regular feedback, and a supportive management and product team led by the Product Owner.  

As Agile scales to the enterprise it is important to recognize that an enterprise is ultimately a large collection of teams, and that its success depends entirely on the degree to which teams are empowered, supported and aligned with clearly defined product, enterprise and architectural goals.
 

Values & Goals
Committed to the product vision
Demonstrates commitment & responsibility
Proactively acts & communicates
Willing to learn & grow
Challenges the status quo if appropriate
Customer focused
Product & Impact
Delivers customer value
Ensure Quality (avoid defects)
Healthy team metrics
Creates reusable functionality
Leadership & Culture
Shares responsibility towards ToT goal
Embodies Team Culture
Transparent, overcommunication
Shares best practices
Innovation & Growth culture
Business & tech partnership
Markets & Environment
Follows/Trusts the processes & standards
Ability to network with outside systems
Ruthlessly eliminates waste
Balances internal & external needs
Automation focus