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Practice overview

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Audience: Agile teams

Overview: Is there confusion on your team about who is responsible for backlog refinement or for running standups or joining retrospectives?

Every company has roles and responsibilities divided among people in various ways. There are some best practices around “agile” roles, but how are we dividing responsibilities in our company?

The "Who's Role is it, Anyway" interactive session can be completely customized for co-located or distributed teams to create a common understanding of who is responsible for what.

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Whose Role is it Anyway? Team Alignment Exercise

Audience: Agile teams

Overview: Is there confusion on your team about who is responsible for backlog refinement or for running standups or joining retrospectives?

The team will be matching responsibilities to roles and moving cards on a virtual notes board collaboratively. This activity will uncover differences in understanding and also create common understanding and alignment in terms of roles and responsibilities.

tag Meeting
tag Role
tag Agreement
tag Team Building

Steps

1

Create a new Trello Board

Create a new Trello Board and add columns to it:

  • Create a column called "Backlog" as the first column.
  • Role names - then add a new column for each role in the team - for example scrum master, product owner, development team, manager, etc.
2

List responsibilities for each role (get input from team members)

Now you want to start creating Trello cards capturing responsbilities for each role. List them under the role they are associated with.

You can use the basics from Scrum guide for all the roles and then add custom cards based on what people tell you the issues were with their teams. Each team will be slightly different.

Keep adding cards until you have listed responsibilities for each team member.

Gain agreement from people holding the roles in question, for example, the Product Owner and Dev Manager. You can do this through a virtual meeting, screenshare, or even email/chat, depending on what suits your team.

If there are important responsibilities that no one claims, create cards in the backlog column.

3

Move all cards to the Backlog!

Now move ALL cards under the various roles to your backlog column, so you have one list of all responsibilities across the team (or at least across the group of people you want to include in the "whose role is it anyway" exercise.

The Board is now ready to be shared/used with the group.

4

Meet with your team and go through the Board

Gather your team together and share your screen. Review each card and ask the team to match the responsibility to the role.

Discuss answers in more detail as appropriate for your team. This exercise will help clarify overlaps or gaps, and instead of having a manager/individual decide what makes sense, the group will decide.

You will have better buy-in to the end result. You will have clear responsibilities going forward. You will have happier team members.

This can work as an online meeting or in person.

References

Find out more about agile coach Heidi here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heidiaraya