The Awesome Development Team

This is part 3 in a series examining the core tenants of Modern Agile. Check out the other two posts, Banish Fear and Be Awesome and The Awesome Scrum Master. Today, we’ll look at the Development team in Scrum and work through what it takes to be an awesome Development Team Member in Scrum.


Safe to be an Awesome Development Team Member

There are several key characteristics of a Development team in Scrum:

  • They are self-organizing
  • The Development Team is cross-functional
  • They bear one title among them: Developer
  • They forsake all other sub-teams
  • Regardless of personal skill, Development Team members bear group accountability for the team’s work

I see Development team members being awesome while operating with a prerequisite of safety a few ways…

A Team of Professionals…

…boldly pursue technical excellence in their practices.

…is informed and free to solve important problems as they see fit.

…is able to account for the state of the Product Increment and courageous enough to be transparent about it.

…understands ‘sustainable’ applies not just to work hours but to the whole software development life cycle over many years.

…holds a clear and unwavering ethic governing the effect of her work.

…is committed to understanding and communicating the value of the work they are delivering.

…will define and uphold a clear and transparent standard of quality on which they will not compromise.

…does not imply certainty where it does not exist.

The Unshackled Maker…

…is unencumbered by management overreach and administrative waste.

…is given what she needs to grow in skill and knowledge.

…must be confident in the support of her team mates.

…is rewarded responsibly when her team produces high value, professional products.

…is not coerced or incented to turn out quick and dirty hacks.

…is not pitted against her developer teammates by irresponsible reward structures.

…is regularly and frequently given responsible feedback on her contribution to the team’s work and her own, personal actions.

…is free to take responsible risks to improve the Product and the Scrum Team without fearing reprisal for failure.

The Professional Developer…

…earns her team’s trust by respecting her teammates, committing to the Scrum Team’s goals, and delivering on her commitments.

…faithfully eschews personal preference in favor of what’s best for the team.

feels safe to be open with her team when things get tough.

…researches or spikes responsibly, keeping in mind it’s the Product Owner’s neck on the line.

…must be free to challenge status quo and and circumspect enough to do so responsibly.

…selflessly shares knowledge with others

…commits to continuously improving herself and her team.

…consistently does the best she can.

…is open to rebuke.

…courageously challenges those who do not demonstrate professional standards.

Final Thought

I would like to credit for much inspiration in this post. Thank you for the well-crafted view of ethical software development looks like.

Never has professionalism been more important in the software industry. This statement will be true whenever you read this blog post as the ubiquity and impact of our craft grows each day. Lacking a unified, governing voice it is up to us to act responsibly and with ethical fortitude. We must curtail dangerous and irresponsible practices to ensure our craft remains free for us to innovate — to have an astonishing and live-giving impact on the world around you.

What is holding you back from being an awesome Development Team member? What has to change before it is safe in your organization to be an awesome Development Team member?

Next time, we’ll complete the series when we ask the same questions of the Product Owner.


Jason is a developer, Scrum Master, writer, teacher, coach, husband, father, and community leader out of Tulsa Oklahoma. He's been delivering software since 2007 and absolutely loves the values and principles of agility especially as given form by the Scrum framework.