Agile methodology has become extremely popular amongst businesses and organizations looking to improve their adaptability and efficiency. One of its key aspects is the various roles and responsibilities that team members take on to successfully deliver a project.
Understanding different Agile roles and their obligations is crucial for effective cooperation, communication, and collaboration within the team. Each role brings unique skills, talents, and perspectives to the project, allowing the entire team to work closely on achieving their goals.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll focus on Agile team roles, including Scrum Master, Product Owner, or Team Leader, and how Whiteboards.io can elevate their work. We will delve deep into the key responsibilities of each role and how digital boards can help them deliver complex projects with ease. Whether you have been practicing Agile for a long time or are taking your first steps in this methodology, this guide will provide valuable insights on how to meet customer needs and effectively manage larger projects.
Why are Agile teams so beneficial?
It’s not a secret that today’s business environment is changing rapidly and organizations need to respond quickly to ever-changing market conditions, emerging technologies, or customer needs. As an Agile team is expected to be highly adaptable, team members should be able to self-organize their work and collaborate cross-functionally on a daily basis.
Such an approach helps the Scrum team to respond quickly to changing requirements or unexpected issues that may arise. By being able to adjust and adapt on the fly, most Agile teams are in a better position to keep the projects on track and within the budget.
Another key benefit of an Agile team is the customer-centric approach. Agile teams focus on understanding customer requests and delivering value with every Sprint. Regular iterations and feedback loops help teams refine and improve their work. They can meet the expectations of the customers while also delivering solutions that align with business goals and objectives.
Fostering collaboration and communication among team members is also one of the most significant Agile values if one wants to succeed in today’s complex business environment. By working closely together, teams can share information, insights, and ideas to drive innovation, improve the quality of the final product, and stay ahead of the competition.
Agile team roles and responsibilities — which team member is responsible for what?
Whether you’re working with small or large teams, there’s one thing that you can be certain of — having Product Managers, Scrum Masters, Designers, and other roles in the Agile team, allows different competencies to shine. Below, you’ll find a list of Agile roles that can make the most of the Whiteboards.io app.
Read on to find out how Scrum team members can work closely together to ensure that they deliver their best work.
Product Managers play an important role in any organization that develops services, products, or applications. They’re responsible to oversee the entire product development lifecycle, starting from conception and idea to the launch and beyond. They also need to ensure that the solutions meet the needs of the customers and that the product vision is aligned with business objectives.
This requires Product Managers to facilitate meetings with cross-functional teams, including the design teams, engineering and business teams, or marketing and sales teams to create valuable, feasible, and usable products together. This Agile role is also responsible for conducting insightful market research, gathering customer and stakeholder feedback, and analyzing data to make informed decisions.
Product Managers take ownership of defining the product strategy as well as the product roadmap. This involves close cooperation with external stakeholders to keep up with current market trends, understand customer requirements, and remain competitive in the marketplace. The product’s vision that they cocreate must align with the overall business strategy.
How Product Managers can use Whiteboards effectively?
- Craft user stories on the digital canvas
Write your user story from the perspective of a particular user persona. Check which actions your users take when using your product and which steps are missing. Convert sticky notes into Jira issues to fill the gaps in your customer journey.
- Create powerful documentation with a sprinkle of visuals
Enrich your Confluence pages with a whiteboards macro for better readiness and understanding of research data. Create stunning visuals on digital boards, like product requirements, and add them to your text-first environment.
Use the Whiteboards for Confluence app to add selected areas of digital boards in between your paragraphs.
- Explore the power of multiple update zones
Add an issue table* with a small grid to your digital whiteboard to organize your Jira user stories into structures, update their properties, or prioritize work. Add axes corresponding to Jira fields and values such as priority, effort, or estimation. Place work items into columns or rows and see how everything updates automatically both on Whiteboards and your Jira instance.
*Issue tables are available in Whiteboards for Jira (Cloud) only.
Which Whiteboards templates are the best for Product Managers?
- Product Roadmap Overview Template
Prepare a visual outline of your product’s roadmap to see how much time, effort, and human resources will be needed to execute your plan. List all activities and initiatives that your Agile teams will need to focus on in the upcoming months. Use the digital timeline to illustrate how much time given projects and milestones will take.
- Product Vision Board Template
Prepare your product’s strategy while keeping your target groups and business goals in mind. Develop a vision for new products’ features or concepts for months or even years ahead. Define acceptance criteria for solutions that will help elevate your product and bring exceptional value to your customers.
- Value Effort Matrix Template
Prioritize the product backlog of your development team to build an even more effective roadmap and better strategize the execution of tasks. Manage larger Scrum projects by placing user stories in appropriate areas of the value and effort matrix. Outline the pace of work for future Sprints to know what should be delivered first.
Curious about other templates for Product Managers? Check them out here!
According to the Scrum Guide, Product Owners play a critical role in the Agile team to successfully execute the project. They’re responsible to set the right direction for the project and make sure that the entire team is aligned and familiar with the goals and objectives. They also need to fully understand the requirements of the customers as well as the business and create and manage the product backlog with these requirements in mind.
Besides being in charge of managing the Sprint backlog, Product Owners need to keep an eye on the new feature releases. Because Sprint is not considered a release cycle but rather a planning cycle, it means that Scrum teams can deliver their work at any time. In an ideal world, the development team members would deliver frequently enough to allow for real customer usage of the new features and feedback. However, continuous delivery doesn’t take place so often and, in such cases, a release model is required. It is extremely crucial for the Product Owner to know when work can and should be released.
Working on a new product also requires the Product Owner to focus on managing stakeholders and closely cooperating with users, customers, and organization leaders. All of these parties have to work together to ensure that the development team knows what to do next and will deliver valuable solutions.
Since the above two Agile roles are extremely similar, take a look at the table below to understand the key differences:
|Product Manager||Product Owner|
|Collaborates with external stakeholders||Collaborates with internal stakeholders|
|Defines the product’s vision||Helps development teams execute the shared vision|
|Outlines how success should look like||Outlines the plan for success|
|Is responsible for the vision, marketing, and ROI||Is responsible for the product’s backlog|
|Operates at a conceptual level||Is engaged in daily operations|
How can a Product Owner use Whiteboards effectively?
- A centralized hub for all the information
Keep all of your data together in the same space to remove the barriers between multiple teams and do better discovery with less effort. Place insights from the research, surveys, competitor sites, or interviews to find customers’ biggest pain points and take appropriate steps in finding solutions. Place images, PDFs, or iFrames on your board and have everything at your disposal.
- Prioritize work with the Voting option
Decide which items on your to-do list are most critical by conducting a voting session. Choose together with your Agile team what to focus on first. If everything seems to be of the highest importance, your task will be to prioritize and sequence the tasks in an appropriate order.
Which Whiteboards templates are best for a Product Owner?
- Kanban Board Template
Represent work items on digital columns to stay fully informed about the current status of work and stay involved in the day-to-day activities and progress of the Agile team. Keep in check if individual team members will manage to deliver tasks on time and if the Sprint goal is not compromised.
- Product Backlog Template
Place work items in the backlog section that are of most importance and prioritize them accordingly. Make sure that everyone on the team is aware of their key responsibilities and what needs to be delivered first. Ensure the development team knows what key stakeholders expect from them and that they must work together toward the shared goal.
- Sprint Planning Template
Run your Sprint Planning meeting in a clear and effective way by prioritizing tasks from your Sprint backlog on a digital canvas. Define Sprint’s shared goal and check on the team’s progress regularly. Conduct your Daily Scrum meeting on the same template to have all data in the same virtual space.
Curious about other templates for a Product Owner? Check them out here!
The responsibility of a Designer when working on an Agile project is to create an effective design vision while also keeping in mind the experience of a customer when engaging with the service, product, or whole system.
An experienced Designer is also required to collaborate with other team members, like Product Owner or Business Analyst, to create and define what exactly will be built. They also work closely together with Developers and Testers to find out how to build it. Such close collaboration between different Agile team roles provides Designers with valuable inputs and insights and helps with problem-solving.
How can a Designer use Whiteboards effectively?
- Conduct ideation and brainstorming sessions
Run your next brainstorming session on a digital canvas to kick off your next big project. Jot down ideas, concepts, or suggestions on sticky notes to get back to them anytime. Add visual context to the board by inserting images, documents, SVGs, iframes, and other multimedia files. Keep all resources from your discovery phase in one online space.
- Draw anything on the board
Create mockups or wireframes on whiteboards with ready-to-use tools. Add pre-made shapes to the board to designate the direction of your product. Draw lines to connect elements on the board or give direction to your flows. Use the digital pen to manually mark essential components on your design or create freehand drawings.
- Collaborate with others in real time
Hop on a quick audio and video call with the Developers, Product Owner, or Scrum Master to discuss any changes needed in your project. See their faces and listen to valuable feedback without using any other third-party video conferencing tool. Provide adjustments to your flows, Jira issues, or mockups in real time and see how everything automatically updates.
Which Whiteboards templates are best for a Designer?
- Design Thinking Process Template
Understand your users and their behaviors, question the hypotheses, and prepare problem-solving solutions for independent testing. Try to empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and challenge your ideas.
- Service Blueprint Template
Create a visual map of all the organizational processes that you should follow to optimize the user experience. Treat the service blueprint as customer journeys on steroids and draw the most complex scenarios on digital whiteboards. Visualize all steps that your users take to boost consumer satisfaction once your projects will become real products.
- Flowchart Template
Use pre-made shapes to represent a sequence of actions, steps, or processes. Draw flowcharts to demonstrate logical procedures and what results from what. Visualize the operations on digital boards to understand which solution will be the most valuable for your users.
Curious about other templates for a Designer? Check them out here!
As a member of an Agile team, an Engineer’s role is to develop, test, and deliver high-quality software products and solutions that meet the customers’ needs and align with the company’s objectives. They work very closely with Product Owner, Scrum Master, and other Engineers to make sure that all work will be delivered in a timely manner.
Besides being responsible for the technical part of creating solutions, Engineers also participate in various meetings that follow the Sprint’s specific flow — Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Retrospective meeting, and other ceremonies. Engineers are expected to collaborate with other team members and communicate openly about any obstacles they meet when working on their tasks. They’re expected to be open to customer feedback and continuous improvement.
Overall, an Engineer helps to deliver valuable solutions through an iterative, incremental development process.
How can an Engineer use Whiteboards effectively?
- Pull Jira issues to your whiteboard
Work, edit, and manage Jira issues on your digital board. Stop switching between numerous tabs on your browser. Everything can be done in the same digital space.
- Integrate Whiteboards with GitHub
No more switching between various contexts or tools. Collaborate on tasks and projects in one common area with your coworkers. Add GitHub pull requests and issues straight to Whiteboards and manage your work there.
Which Whiteboards templates are best for an Engineer?
- Planning Poker Template
Provide accurate estimations for tasks and projects with your team. Create a collaborative environment where you can review the list of issues from the backlog and discuss how much effort is needed to complete them. Encourage all team members to give input and estimate the task, leading to more accurate resource allocation and project planning.
- PI Planning Template
Collaborate with fellow engineers during the Program Increment Planning session to define objectives, prioritize features, and develop a realistic plan for reaching business goals. Identify the dependencies between teams, plan the roadmap, and work on new solutions.
- Post-Mortem Template
Collect details of incidents or failures and reflect on why they happened with the entire team. Discuss their impact and what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future.
Curious about other templates for an Engineer? Check them out here!
QA, also known as Quality Assurance Specialist, is a professional responsible for inspecting, monitoring, and proposing areas to correct or improve within a product or solution. By doing so, the development team can follow the suggestions of a QA Specialist and meet established quality standards with each increment.
QAs prepare and implement quality assurance procedures and policies while also performing quality tests and routine inspections. They support the Engineers in delivering solutions that meet the requirements and needs of the end users and customers. Whenever a proposed solution deviates from the previously agreed-upon direction, they make recommendations for improvement to ensure the technical integrity between what’s developed and what should be delivered.
How can a QA Specialist use Whiteboards effectively?
- Use different shapes to build flowcharts
Illustrate different stages of tests on a digital whiteboard and use ready-made shapes just for that. Connect them with lines when necessary to indicate their direction.
- Write your notes on sticky notes
Write the acceptance criteria or scenarios directly on digital sticky notes. Keep them short and concise and near the elements to which they refer. Use the color-coding method and change their colors to indicate different stages of the test; for instance, orange indicates work in progress, whereas green means a phase of tests is complete.
- Prioritize the work with voting
Vote on different elements on the board to prioritize bug fixes, tests, or other elements based on the input and feedback from stakeholders involved in the project.
Which Whiteboards templates are best for a QA Specialist?
- RICE Prioritization Template
Adjust the RICE prioritization method to your needs as a QA Specialist and take a broader look at the features or solutions you’re testing and their feasibility. Make notes to correctly spot the impact they might have on the business growth.
- MoSCoW Prioritization Template
Prioritize the independent testing requirements based on the Must, Should, Could, and Won’t Have categories. Align the testing efforts with business goals and the most critical stakeholders.
- Eisenhower Matrix Template
Prioritize bug fixes, adjustments, or any other tasks based on their impact on the Eisenhower Matrix template. Communicate clearly the severity of things that needs to be done and ensure that the most critical tasks are completed first.
Curious about other templates for a QA Specialist? Check them out here!
A Project Manager oversees the planning, execution, and delivery of a project while also respecting the Agile principles. They make sure that the projects will be completed on time and within budget. To achieve this, they need to coordinate the efforts of the entire team and communicate effectively with customers, vendors, or other stakeholders involved in the project.
Project Managers are responsible for defining the scope of a project, planning its execution, allocating resources, managing risks, monitoring progress, and resolving any challenges that arise during the project’s lifecycle. They also ensure that all project documentation is updated and everyone on the team is aware of the deadlines, dependencies, and responsibilities.
Overall, the Project Manager must adapt to changing environment when working on new projects and adjust the plan to ensure its success.
How can a Project Manager use Whiteboards effectively?
- Invite guests to your whiteboard
Share your board with external customers, stakeholders, or other teams. Collaborate on the next project’s kick-off or brainstorming session. Gather all details necessary for specific users and together prepare a plan that will lead the project to success.
- Spot dependencies between tasks
Make the most of the deep Jira integration with Whiteboards. Add Jira issues to the board and connect them with lines to show what derives from what. Spot connections between tasks to know what you and the team should work on first.
- Populate the board with various resources
Before starting a new project, collect all the data and place them on your board. PDFs, images, SVGS — you name it. Keep all materials in one digital space to minimize switching between tabs or tools.
Which Whiteboards templates are best for a Project Manager?
- Annual Calendar Template
Prepare plans for your projects for the year ahead or separate months. Write down goals or milestones that you would like to achieve. Get a birds’-eye view of what you and your team will spend the energy and resources on.
- Working Backwords Template
Make a list of steps and actions that you need to take to reach your objectives. Visualize your team’s efforts on a handy timeline to see what needs to be done to bring the next project to life. Analyze the insights to decide if the project is worth launching.
- Gantt Chart Template
Visualize the phases of your project and dependencies between different teams and tasks. Outline assignments, milestones, or epics that need to be completed and place them on a digital timeline.
Curious about other templates for a Project Manager? Check them out here!
The Scrum Master takes ownership of practicing Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. They help understand the theory and practice of Scrum within the organization and the Scrum team. They’re also accountable for the effectiveness of the Agile team members by constantly improving the practices.
The responsibilities of the Scrum Master can be listed at three levels: serving the Scrum team, the Product Owner, and the organization.
They coach the team members in self-management, self-organization, and cross-functionality. They also help focus on creating high-value increments meeting the DoD (Definition of Done) and assist in removing any blockers to the Scrum Team’s progress. Scrum Masters also make sure all Scrum events take place exactly when they need to take place.
When working with Product Owners, Scrum Masters help define the product’s goal and manage the product’s backlog items and their delivery. They also establish an empirical process for product planning and facilitate meetings with external or internal stakeholders when needed or requested.
On the organizational level, Scrum Masters lead, train, and coach everyone in the company in Scrum adoption, plan and advise smooth Scrum implementation, help enact an empirical approach to complex projects, and remove barriers and obstacles between the Scrum Team and stakeholders.
How can a Scrum Master use Whiteboards effectively?
- Convert stickies to Jira issues
Whenever great ideas emerge during a brainstorming session, jot them down on sticky notes. Then, easily transform them into Jira issues, edit as necessary, and modify their details. All without leaving the digital whiteboard.
- Collaborate with remote workers
Make sure everyone participates in your event and is fully engaged. Add comments to any element on the board, share your screen for more context, and hop on quick calls with your teammates using audio and video chat. Build valuable products for your audience by mastering the art of collaboration.
- Estimate work items effortlessly
When everything seems to be as equally important, conduct a Voting session to designate clear winners. Use it during the Sprint Planning session to estimate user stories and the order in which the Agile team should be working on them or for Sprint Retrospective to determine the most important topics for discussion. The sky is the limit!
Which Whiteboards templates are best for a Scrum Master?
- Sprint Planning Template
Take part in Sprint Planning sessions with the development team members to draw conclusions from the previous Sprint, plan the upcoming one, and keep track of current tasks. Facilitate the session and observe if the team can reach the common Sprint goal.
- User Story Mapping Template
Bring a visual touch to your user journeys by breaking down interactions with the product into smaller steps. See where bottlenecks are in your process (if any), what’s missing, and what’s working great already.
- Product Backlog Refinement Template
Review and refine backlog items on a regular basis to know what’s urgent at the moment and what the team should focus on. Ensure work items are appropriate, in the right order, and ready for further planning and development.
Curious about other templates for a Scrum Master? Check them out here!
Agile Coaches act as facilitators, teachers, or mentors who guide teams in adopting Agile practices and principles. They help embrace the Agile mindset and implement Agile methodologies and values in the organization.
Agile Coaches mentor the team, facilitate Agile meetings and ceremonies, identify and remove impediments, promote continuous improvement, and provide feedback and guidance on Agile practices. They should have excellent soft skills and communicate and collaborate with all team members at all levels to ensure that they deliver value to the customers in an efficient Agile manner.
They play an essential role in promoting Agile culture and practices. They help the team understand the importance of constantly improving processes and delivering high-quality products.
How can an Agile Coach use Whiteboards effectively?
- Communicate through audio and video chat
Ensure you always see and hear your trainees when teaching them Agile. Make the collaboration more interactive by adding your camera streams to cursors.
- Use sticky notes for remarks
Prepare the board beforehand and add all needed elements before meeting with your group. Hide selected board elements behind others to encourage transparent and unbiased thinking. Use stickies to make notes during workshops to get back to them later.
- Save your work as a template
If you’re about to coach another team leader on introducing Agile roles and responsibilities, save your work as a custom template. Forget about doing it all from scratch. Reuse workflows that work again and again and again.
Which Whiteboards templates are best for an Agile Coach?
- Lean Coffee Template
Host an agenda-less meeting with your trainees and focus on sharing insights and collaborating during a group discussion. Use the Lean Coffee method to listen to any feedback or comments from the team about the Agile methodology and adapt your coaching session accordingly.
- Learning Matrix Retrospective Template
Collaborate with a group of people adopting the Agile framework to their everyday activities to discover what they liked or disliked about the Agile environment. Ask them what seemed to be a challenge for them and propose appropriate changes for the future. Help them better understand and be Agile.
- Sailboat Retrospective Template
Help your trainees conduct a proper retrospective session to identify the last Sprint’s risks, challenges, and hiccups. Direct them to pay attention to things that slowed them down and what they can do not to repeat that mistake in the future. Show them the basics of a good retro session so they can later carry it out effectively on their own.
Curious about other templates for Agile Coaches? Check them out here!
An Analyst (another known job title is a Business Analyst) plays a key role in an Agile team when facilitating business-change initiatives. They are responsible for defining the problems that business faces by conducting in-depth analysis and investigation of the market and gathering valuable technical and non-technical information.
Once they fully understand the challenges, they outline the requirements for a solution and make sure that delivered proposals meet business requirements. The cooperation between Business Analysts and the Agile team must function in closely coordinated subsystems. They’re engaged in many projects across the entire organization and play a very important advisory role to Team Leaders, Senior Managers, or Executives.
How can an Analyst use Whiteboards effectively?
- Real-time everything
Forget about regular daily or weekly meetings to keep your stakeholders in the loop. No more concepts or guesswork, just the latest version available at your fingertips. Whatever you add, change, or modify on the whiteboard, your team will see your every move.
- Frame your work
Prepare a neat presentation flow of your findings and present them to your stakeholders. Add your data to the whiteboard, create frames on selected areas, and keep everyone engaged.
- Differentiate components of the workflow
Separate and organize elements on the whiteboard using different colors, shapes, or arrows. Organize your thoughts, visualize approval processes, and create charts that impress others.
Which Whiteboards templates are best for an Analyst?
- Stakeholders Analysis Template
Analyze your next project and check which Agile team roles should be involved. Decide whether another Team Lead, Product Owner, or independent Tester should be kept in the loop or if it’s enough to keep informed only crucial team roles for the project. Continue the Agile process with the narrowed circle of experts.
- Product Canvas Template
Prepare an outstanding vision statement for the product while keeping your user needs or requirements in mind. Define the goals, outcomes, or success measures to know if the next MVP version of your product is the direction you should follow. Ensure that your insights will translate into the product’s excellence.
- Competitor Analysis Chart Template
Gather, validate, and document your findings. Analyze the information and decipher it so it’s easily understood by the entire team. Compare how your solution stands out in the competitive landscape.
Curious about other templates for an Analyst? Check them out here!
Ok, so that would be it!
The Agile methodology has become a very popular way to manage the Agile software development process due to its iterative and flexible approach. As you’ve noticed, each role in the Agile team has specific responsibilities, starting from Team Leader or Developer to Project Manager.
We hope we’ve introduced you to the world of Agile, how many Agile roles there are, what all the job titles mean, and what their responsibilities are.
To make the process of choosing between different Agile tools easier, give Whiteboards.io a try! You can test our tool and the features and templates mentioned above free of charge for 30 days!