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Is There a 4th Secret Scrum Accountability?

January 2, 2024

While there are only 3 accountabilities in the Scrum Team, the entire team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint. Mastering this one accountability is key to success.


Is there a 4th Secret Scrum Accountability?

Let’s get things straight first, with a quote from the Scrum Guide 2020:

Scrum defines three specific accountabilities within the Scrum Team: the Developers, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master.

While this is clearly the truth, the same Scrum Guide states, in the same paragraph, the following:

The entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint.

The Scrum Team, the fundamental unit of Scrum, holds a shared accountability. Only together it can create a valuable, useful Increment each Sprint.

While we spend a lot of time talking about the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, and the Developers it is undeniable that maintaining a cohesive and focused team cannot be overlooked.

Mastering this shared accountability, as a Scrum Team, is crucial for several reasons:

1. Collective accountability

Only together, the Scrum Team is able to create a useful, valuable increment each Sprint.

2. Cross-functional collaboration

Scrum Teams are both cross-functional and self-managing, possessing all necessary skills to create value each Sprint and autonomously deciding who does what, when, and how.

3. Focused on one objective at a time

In a Scrum Team, there are no sub-teams or hierarchies. Instead, it is a unified group of professionals dedicated to a single objective: the Product Goal.

4. Small enough to be nimble, large enough for significant work

The Scrum Team is sized for agility yet capable of accomplishing substantial work within a Sprint, usually consisting of 10 or fewer individuals. Generally, smaller teams exhibit improved communication and productivity. If a Scrum Team grows too large, it should consider reorganising into multiple cohesive Scrum Teams, all focused on the same product.

5. Responsible for all activities related to the product

The Scrum Team is responsible for all activities needed for the product, including stakeholder collaboration, verification, maintenance, operation, experimentation, research and development, and any other necessary activities. 

The entire Scrum Team, including the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developers, shares collective accountability for the success of the product. This shared accountability promotes a sense of ownership and collaboration among Scrum Team Members.

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