5 Primary Responsibilities of the Scrum Development Team

A Scrum Team consists of a Scrum Master, a Product Owner, and the Development Team. Let’s look at the 5 primary responsibilities and characteristics of the Development Team in Scrum.

Scrum Board
Scrum Development Teams use Scrum boards to prioritize and schedule their work. Photo by İrfan Simsar on Unsplash

What is the Scrum Development Team?

The Scrum Development Team is a self-organizing, cross-functional group of individuals that is responsible for delivering a potentially releasable product increment at the end of each sprint. The team includes developers, testers, designers, and any other roles necessary to complete the work. The Development Team does not include the roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner.


Ideal Size of a Scrum Development Team

The Development Team in Scrum should be large enough to complete the work, but not so large that coordination and communication become difficult. The ideal size is generally considered to be between 5 and 9 members. This size allows for effective collaboration and communication. However, the size of the team can vary depending on the needs of the project and the organization. In some cases, a team may be smaller or larger than the ideal range.

Having T-Shaped skills helps the development team in agile to be self-reliant and not have any bottlenecks within the team. Read more about T-shaped skills here.


5 Primary Scrum Development Team Responsibilities

The Scrum Development Team handles all aspects of product development, from design to testing to delivery. It works together to produce high-quality, usable software that meets the needs of the stakeholders.

The dev team responsibilities in Scrum include:

  1. Executing the Sprint: The Development Team spends the majority of its time performing the task of Sprint execution. This could involve designing, building, integrating, and testing a potentially releasable increment of the product.
  2. Grooming the Product Backlog: During each Sprint, the Development Team works with the Product Owner to prepare for the next Sprint. They do this by helping to define, refine, estimate and prioritize items on the product backlog. They also ensure that items on the product backlog are visible, transparent, and understood.
  3. Planning the Sprint: At the start of every Sprint, the Development Team attends the Sprint Planning meeting to establish the Sprint Goal. They do this in collaboration with the Product Owner while the Scrum Master facilitates the meeting. The Team then picks a set of high-priority items to include in the sprint backlog that will help them achieve the Sprint Goal.
  4. Inspecting and Adapting during the Sprint: Developer responsibilities in Scrum include participating in the daily stand-up meeting to inspect progress towards meeting the sprint goal. They also identify any obstacles or issues that need to be resolved. Based on the progress, team members adapt their plan for completion.
  5. Inspecting and Adapting at the end of the Sprint: The team also participates in two meetings at the end of each Sprint to inspect and adapt the product and the process: Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective.
    • The Sprint Review meeting is held to present the work completed and gather feedback from stakeholders. The development team, product owner, Scrum Master, stakeholders, sponsors, customers, and interested members of other teams may also attend the Sprint Review.
    • The Sprint Retrospective meeting allows the team to reflect on how the sprint went and identify ways to improve its processes and practices. Only members of the Scrum Team, including the Scrum Master and Product Owner, attend this meeting.


Characteristics of a Scrum Development Team

The Development Team has the following characteristics:

  • Self-organizing: The team is responsible for organizing its own work. Nobody tells the development team how to achieve the sprint goal or how much they need to do in a sprint. It is empowered to make its own decisions about how to complete the work and how to improve the process.
  • Cross-functional: The team should include all the skills and expertise necessary to deliver the product increment without depending on external resources. As a corollary, the whole team is focused solely on a single product increment during a sprint. Team members do not work on multiple teams or across products.
  • No Titles: Individual developers or team members do not have titles. Irrespective of what tasks they perform in each sprint, a member is identified only as a part of the Development Team.
  • No sub-teams: Scrum does not allow for sub-teams within the Development Team. Although the team typically consists of people with different skills like testing, analysis, operations, or architecture, there will be no sub-divisions on that basis.
  • Collective accountability: The Development Team is accountable as a whole for delivering a high-quality increment at the end of the sprint. They are collectively responsible for meeting the sprint goal, and they succeed or fail as a team.

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To Whom Does the Scrum Development Team Report?

In Scrum, the Development Team does not report to anyone. Although the Product Owner and Scrum Master work closely with the Development Team to ensure on-time delivery of high-quality product increments, they have no authority over the team. The team has the autonomy to decide how to complete the work assigned to them.

The Product Owner works with the Development Team to prioritize and define the product backlog, while the Scrum Master works with the team to ensure that they are following the Scrum framework and practices. The Scrum Master may also work with the team to help remove any obstacles or barriers to progress, but they do not manage the team or make decisions about how the work is completed. 


Overall, the Development Team is responsible for delivering a potentially releasable increment of the product at the end of each sprint. They work together as a self-organizing team to achieve this goal. A Developer in the Scrum Development Team should be a skilled and collaborative team member who is committed to delivering high-quality software that meets the needs of the stakeholders.

Developers, testers, designers, and other IT professionals can gain essential Scrum skills by taking our highly-rated CSM course. View upcoming schedule.

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