Agile methodology is one of the most popular frameworks for product development today. It involves breaking tasks into smaller iterations or parts that do not directly involve long-term planning. The project scope and requirements in Agile evolve continuously and are delivered iteratively. Planning regarding the number of iterations, the duration, and the scope of each iteration is clearly defined in advance. Each iteration involves a team working through a full software development life cycle including planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, and testing before a working product is demonstrated to the client.
Agile aims at minimizing the processes and maximizing the communication among the members of the team. Agile defines Product Manager and Scrum master as two key members of the team. The rest of the team is defined as a single entity and Agile do not define any further segregation.
However, in a practical organizational situation, the remaining team can consist of various members working at different positions and delivering different roles. In this article, we will discuss various roles that are seen in an Agile environment and will also peek through the set of responsibilities that they deliver.
Product Owner (PO) is a member of the Agile team responsible for defining stories and prioritizing the team backlog to streamline the execution of program priorities while maintaining the conceptual and technical integrity of the features or components for the team.
The business is represented by the product owner who tells the development team what is important to deliver. The product owner should not only understand the customer but also have a vision for the value the scrum team is delivering to the customer.
Responsibilities of product owners in the most organization are:
1. Communicating with stakeholders across the board, including customers, business managers, and the development team to make sure the goals are clear, and the vision is aligned with business objectives.
2. Create the list of backlog items and prioritize them based on the overall strategy and business objectives.
3. Juggle the triangle of scope, budget, and time, weighing priorities according to the needs and objectives of stakeholders.
4. Spend a significant amount of time overseeing the actual development of the product. They are a key player throughout each event, including planning, refinement, review, and sprint.
5. Understand and anticipate the client’s needs to manage the development process more effectively.
6. Primary communicator and link between stakeholders and teams.
7. Accountable for each stage of the development process and the final product.
A scrum master leads a team through a project using agile project management techniques. He facilitates all the communication and collaboration between leadership and team members to ensure a successful outcome. The Scrum Master is accountable for the team’s effectiveness and achieves this by enabling the team to improve its practices, within the Scrum framework. Scrum Masters are true leaders who serve the team and the larger organization.
Responsibilities of a scrum master
Depending on where you work, you may find yourself taking on the role of a facilitator, coach, or project manager. Your duties will often vary from day to day but will usually include:
- Leading daily stand-up meetings, reviews, demos, task estimation, refinement, retrospective, and other project-related meetings
- Supporting team members in their tasks
- Coaching the team on Scrum principles and best practices
- Facilitating open discussion and conflict resolution
- Proactively identifying and resolving any issues that the team faces
- Tracking and updating activities in a project management tracking tool
An architect is a senior role responsible for defining and maintaining the structure of the solution and ensuring that it will meet the requirements. He/she must also help the team to work together in an agile fashion, jointly own the solution, and to interface well with other parts of the organization.
1. Perform technical analysis, define architecture/technical vision and strategy to help with the strategic direction of value streams, roadmap, provide solution alternatives, high-level cost estimate.
2. Review detailed customer journeys to define target state business capability model and model the end-to-end solution architecture including Application, Data, Integration, Infrastructure, Security, and Operations.
3. Perform necessary technical Proofs-of-Concept (PoC’s).
4. Estimate the user and technical stories.
5. Participate in all agile ceremonies which include Elaboration, Planning, Retrospection, and stand-up meetings and help with prioritization of stories and sprint planning.
6. Leading the team on the technical front and guiding the team towards achieving quality deliverables on time.
In general, developers are visualized as people who write code that makes the thing work. However, the role of a developer in an Agile environment is significantly different. Developers have additional responsibilities in an Agile environment that go beyond simply writing code. Agile developers take responsibility for estimating, planning, and managing all tasks and reporting on progress.
Developers may be commonly responsible for:
1. Estimating, planning, and managing all their tasks
2. Develop the code for all the features laid out in the sprint
3. Update the technical lead and project manager on the progress
4. Responsible for the quality of the work produced.
5. Collaborating closely with all the other members of the team to take shared responsibility for the overall efforts that the team has committed to.
6. Work closely with the product owner to clarify and further define the details of how the story should be implemented
Agile UX tries to integrate UX practice with Agile software development teams. Since agile was conceived as an engineering practice, it did not originally integrate UX and design. Agile UX aims to bring an iterative approach to the design and improvement of features that are being built through team collaboration and the stewardship of customer feedback. UX Designers are responsible for research, wireframe creation, task analysis, creating prototypes, and UX testing. UX Designers ensures that a digital product is an intuitive, engaging, pleasant, and invaluable experience.
UX Designers may be commonly responsible for:
1. Turn the project or product vision into a visual thing.
2. Work with the product manager to create the design that will change and improve the experience for the end-user.
3. Understand the business goals and user needs and collaborate with each member of the team and the clients to create the best user experience.
4. Work together with POs to create the user stories
5. Support the development team through the build process
DevOps is a combination of two words i.e., software Development and Operations. This allows a single team to handle the entire application lifecycle from development to testing, deployment, and operations. DevOps helps to reduce the disconnection between software developers, quality assurance (QA) engineers, and system administrators.
Common DevOps responsibilities are:
1. Oversees application and infrastructure planning, testing, and development.
2. Building a CI/CD pipeline and optimizing processes, people, and tooling.
3. Focus on automating tasks and workflows to improve the efficiency of people and processes – leading to faster, reliable deployment.
4. With shared accountability and code ownership, DevOps teams need to take on-call responsibilities and incident management work
5. Responsible for the implementation of actionable monitoring solutions.
When it comes to software development, quality is everything. Quality Assurance (QA) is a systematic process that ensures product and service excellence. The idea is that developers and testers must actively engage to deliver the code and complete the project as per the client’s brief. QA helps to proactively address issues and potential bugs within an application during the development cycles.
1. Analysis of requirements and understanding the requirement/need of the customer
2. Participation in test planning meetings and estimate the scope and size of the testing effort for each user story.
3. Measuring and reporting test coverage across all applicable coverage dimensions
4. Design and execute automated and manual tests, including exploratory testing.
5. Reporting defects and working with the team to resolve them
6. Actively collaborating with developers and business stakeholders to clarify requirements, especially in terms of testability, consistency, and completeness.
7. Participating proactively in daily standup meetings, story grooming sessions, team retrospectives, suggesting and implementing improvements.
8. Automate test cases and carry out automated regression tests after every update and release of the new software version.
9. Creating detailed reports and listing improvements