There are only three Scrum roles: the Product Owner, the Team, and the ScrumMaster. All management responsibilities in a project are divided among these three roles. The Product Owner is responsible for representing the interests of everyone with a stake in the project and its resulting system. The Product Owner achieves initial and ongoing funding for the project by creating the project’s initial overall requirements, return on investment (ROI) objectives, and release plans. The list of requirements is called the Product Backlog. The Product Owner is responsible for using the Product Backlog to ensure that the most valuable functionality is produced first and built upon; this is achieved by frequently prioritizing the Product Backlog to queue up the most valuable requirements for the next iteration. The Team is responsible for developing functionality. Teams are self-managing, self-organizing, and cross-functional, and they are responsible for figuring out how to turn Product Backlog into an increment of functionality within an iteration and managing their own work to do so. Team members are collectively responsible for the success of each iteration and of the project as a whole. The ScrumMaster is responsible for the Scrum process, for teaching Scrum to everyone involved in the project, for implementing Scrum so that it fits within an organization’s culture and still delivers the expected benefits, and for ensuring that everyone follows Scrum rules and practices.
The people who fill these roles are those who have committed to the project. Others might be interested in the project, but they aren’t on the hook. Scrum makes a clear distinction between these two groups and ensures that those who are responsible for the project have the authority to do what is necessary for its success and that those who aren’t responsible can’t interfere unnecesarily. Throughout this book, I refer to these people as “pigs” and “chickens,” respectively. These names come from an old joke: A chicken and a pig are walking down the road. The chicken says to the pig, “Do you want to open a restaurant with me?” The pig considers the question and replies, “Yes, I’d like that. What do you want to call the restaurant?” The chicken replies, “Ham and Eggs!” The pig stops, pauses, and replies, “On second thought, I don’t think I want to open a restaurant with you. I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved.”
This distinction is important in Scrum and is relevant to Scrum’s insistence upon total visibility. It should always be clear who is on the hook and who is just a kibitzer. Who is responsible for the ROI, and who has a stake in the ROI but isn’t accountable? Who has to turn difficult technology into functionality, and who is a troublesome “devil’s advocate”? The rules of Scrum distinguish between the chickens and the pigs to increase productivity, create momentum, and put an end to floundering.