Weekly PMT #4 – Encourage people to do more Agile roles not less!

Last week I discussed about stakeholder management and I planned on running a roles and responsibilities workshop. I want to bring some order and process to the product development process.

Its clear to me there is an overlap of Agile team roles and the delivery of sprint work seems to be effected. The priorities are changing. Scope is being expanded.

Key responsibilities aren’t clear. Is it my responsibility to help improve predictable delivery? I’m not sure. The role is not clear but also its not clear who is responsible and are they kept accountable.

I have since been planning on how to approach this with the team and key stakeholders. To address this with the development team I plan on presenting 4 simple slides, which you can find below:

  1. Stages of Team Development
  2. Expected Roles in Agile Teams
  3. Roles Explained
  4. Map Roles to People within Organization

Above all any approach we use to clarifying roles to encourage individual team members to play more roles not less!

While preparing this blog post I discovered fascinating approach by using the concept of jobs to help achieve this. The idea that a persons job changes depends on the situation and the entire team self organizes to achieve the outcome including key stakeholders such as domain experts.

5 stages of team development

If you are not clear of who is responsible for key responsibilities within the team according to the 5 stages of team development you are at the forming stage. This is normal for agile software development teams.

I expect all team members want a high performing team so I will approach the situation outlining that I’m confused with current work structure.

Agile Team Roles (including product owner)

Secondly, before presuming everybody knows what to expect in an Agile team I outline the various roles. You can have multiple leaders within Agile environments from Product Manager, Product Owner, Technical Lead, Architect, UX, Sponsors, SMEs, Scrum Master, Agile Coach and Agile Project Managers. In smaller organizations you will have people multi-jobbing which can confuse things even further.

It can be very confusing who is responsible for:

  • Prioritizing the work for development team
  • Writing user stories for backlog
  • Managing scope of product features
  • Delivery of product features within sprints
  • Planning sprint work for development team
  • Ensuring technical integrity or technical solutions

In a well formed organization with clear roles defined these questions will be easily answered. That said you can’t just presume the team has the same experience. Agile methodologies can be implemented in various ways in different organizations.

agile team roles and responsibilities
The entire team should feel involved

Agile Team Roles Defined

Agile Team RolesRole Description Responsibility for Self-Organizing Team​
Product Owner​ / Business Analyst– Creating, Ordering and clearly communicating Product Backlog items;​
– Ensuring that delivered features meet user needs​​
Technical Lead​ / Domain Expert– Delivery of agreed sprint work and ensures definition of done has been met by team members​
– Identifying and clearing technical roadblocks for team​​
UX Designer​– Works with product owner and tech lead to create mockup designs ​​
Developer​– Works on prioritized work by product owner in the sprint​​
Tester​– Work with Product Owners to define Acceptance Criteria and the Definition of Done.​
– Measuring and reporting test coverage across all applicable coverage dimensions​​
DevOps​– Version control, testing, security, integration and deployment method​​
Architect​– Defining and maintaining the structure of the solution, and ensuring that it will meet the requirements​​
Scrum Master / Agile Coach​– The removal of impediments to the Agile Team’s progress​
– Ensuring that all ceremonies take place and are positive, productive, and within the timebox.​​
Project Sponsor / Stakeholders​– Project sponsor empowers the product owner to act on their behalf​
– Stakeholders work with the product owner who manages communication with project team​​
Agile Project Manager​– Responsible for planning, leading, organizing, and motivating Agile project teams​​
Product Manager​– Identifies the customer need and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfill. ​​
Agile Team Roles Table
different agile roles and ressponsibilities
Agile Team Roles Defined

Thinking of Organization Stakeholders Using Agile Roles

Agile by Design propose that you define a small number of overarching jobs descriptions made up of lots of narrow and overlapping roles and behaviors. All of the different things people can do are captured as behaviors. Behaviors are identified by people in teams, and required behavior can and will change based on the emerging needs of the team.

In tech organizations the 3 jobs.  Every one fits into one of those three jobs. Every possible permutation of what people can do to create value is slotted into one or more of these jobs. We empower people to flesh out the details in terms of level, behaviours, roles, etc. But official job titles are limited to these three.

Engineering people that perform the creation and operations of our technology solutions.
Product people focused on achieving market success with our technology solutions.
Delivery people that assist and facilitate the delivery of our technology software.

Agile by Design propose team members including project managers to refine their job and role description in terms of what behaviors are core to their job (what they are accountable for), and what behaviors are adjacent to others. Try to move as many behaviors as you can into the adjacent bucket. Keep revisiting until the team becomes more comfortable into letting the “play determine the role”.

I will need to do further research into Agile by Design approach but from the above images you can see there is a clear benefit of encouraging team members to do more but making it clear who is accountable.

FAQ About Agile Roles

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