Accountabilities Replace Roles

The concept of roles in Scrum has been replaced by accountabilities and what was the Development Team is now referred to as Developers.

The intention behind this change is to emphasise that the Scrum Team is the most important organisational unit in Scrum. There are no sub-teams within the Scrum Team. The entire Scrum Team is focussed on one objective and is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint.

This change is intended to reduce the “us and them” behaviour which was sometimes observed inside Scrum Teams. The Product Owner and Development Team would be so focussed on fulfilling their specific role-based responsibilities that collaboration would break down and conflict would result. Their primary loyalty was to their role, rather than the Scrum Team as a whole and less value was often delivered as a result.

Inside the Scrum Team, we no longer refer to roles and instead we have accountabilities. These accountabilities align with those of the roles in the Scrum Guide pre-2020. Here are the 3 accountabilities in the Scrum Team:

  • The Product Owner – Accountable for maximising the value resulting from the work of the Scrum Team.
  • The Scrum Master – Accountable for establishing Scrum and the Scrum Team’s effectiveness.
  • Developers (renamed from Development Team) – Accountable for the Sprint Backlog and adhering to a Definition of Done. Committed to creating a usable Increment each Sprint.

Having 2 levels of team (Scrum Team and Development Team) was often confusing so the language has changed to clarify matters. The Development Team is now referred to as Developers. There is no longer a sub-team within the Scrum Team. There are no longer roles, but accountabilities for people inside the Scrum Team. A subtle but important difference.

The language used in the Scrum Guide has changed to encourage increased collaboration between people in the Scrum Team and to reduce divisions between them.