Scrum Roles

How are Scrum Roles Assigned?

There is no standard method for assigning Scrum resources. Someone from the State entity that is sponsoring the project (i.e., the Sponsor, Project Manager, or Business Lead) works in collaboration with other impacted entities to assemble a team with the needed skills, experience, and availability to make the project a success.  These teams are likely to include vendor resource(s) as well.   
Ideally, the Scrum team members remain constant throughout the project, but this is not always possible due to employee turnover. Also, in some cases a resource may join a Scrum Team for a sprint or two until tasks requiring their specialized skills/knowledge are completed.

What are the Scrum Roles?


Scrum Master:

  • Ensures the Scrum process is followed. See the EPMO’s Scrum Process for details.
  • Coaches participants as needed on their roles. For this reason it is important to have a Scrum Master who has had Scrum training and preferably Scrum experience.
  • Ensures roadblocks (also called impediments) are removed for the Scrum Team. 

Product Owner:

  • Responsible for ensuring business value is achieved. 
  • Interacts with Stakeholders to identify and understand the priority of requirements.
  • Maintains the Product Backlog throughout the project, which is a prioritized list of requirements (called user stories).
  • Identifies user acceptance criteria for each user story.
  • Determines whether or not to accept a completed user story as “done”.

Important: The same person cannot be both the Scrum Master and Product Owner.

Scrum Team:

  • Defines tasks and estimates the work.
  • Make commitments for what can be completed in each iteration (called a sprint).
  • Completes the work.

What about the key traditional Project Management Institute (PMI) Roles?

Stakeholders:  Although Stakeholder isn’t a scrum role per se, the Product Owner works with the Stakeholders to identify and prioritize requirements (called user stories). The Scrum Master may also work with Stakeholders on the resolution of impediments (issues and roadblocks).  

Project Manager (PM): A PM manages the overall project when Scrum is used to manage only a subset of your project.

If Scrum is being used to manage the implementation of your solution, then a PM is still needed to manage the project through the completion of vendor/solution procurement.

 A PM may also be used to manage a project that involves multiple Scrum teams.  

Sponsor: All projects need a Sponsor to marshal resources and funding for the project. Within the Scrum framework, the Sponsor is part of the Stakeholder group.

Business LeadThere is no Business Lead role in Scrum, but this person is a probable/potential candidate for the role of Product Owner. 

See project Roles on the EPMO website for complete descriptions of a Stakeholder, Project Manager, Sponsor and/or Business Lead. 

Resources for Additional Information on Scrum Roles