Take ownership in the team

My first inclination was to draw a responsibilities assignment matrix to document who “owns the ball” in a product team and when. “A product manager should always refine backlog into detailed user stories for at least two sprints,” except I know of instances where an analyst and designer collaborate to do just that. “A demo should always be run by the team lead,” except we’ve found a rotation works better and gives the team an opportunity to celebrate their results. So instead of forcing a fake structure across all teams, I would like to propose that you discuss the responsibilities inside your team. In many instances steps in the process will be touched and improved on by each member of the team. As long as you own the outcomes together and the train moves forward, you’re good.

The table below reviews our delivery process at a high level, showing how different roles interact and then exchange ownership of deliverables. By no means treat this as the golden standard.

Sprint planningPMTeam lead
Design lead
- The product manager schedules, proposes plan for the following sprint (which stories to include).
- Client validates priority assumptions.
- Engineers and designers confirm viability of completing work in time.
Design reviewDesign leadPM
-Team lead
- Design lead presents designs for proposed stories in the following sprint.
- Client validates concepts and provides feedback.
-PM and team lead evaluate complexity and feasibility based on story acceptance criteria.
Backlog refinementPMTeam lead
Design lead
- Stories for a given sprint are refined to meet the definition of ready, acceptance criteria are defined. Refinement can happen outside a session and the session is used to review and agree on final outcomes.
Daily standupPMFull team- Frequency varies; PM facilitates. 15 minutes to quickly go through who’s working on what, blockers, risks. Not meant to be a status report.
Architecture reviewTeam leadEngineers in team
- Team lead reviews technical design decisions being made for stories inside the sprint.
- Client technology experts validate design and implementation decisions.
- Architecture review cadence varies based on project and need.
DemoPMFull team
- The product manager schedules and facilitates the process, reports on delivery health status.
- The driver of the demo rotates through the team. The team leads prepare the contributor with our best practices of running a demo.
RetrospectivePMFull team
- The combined team runs a retrospective to adapt processes for future sprints. Even if delivery is smooth, small improvements are recorded and evaluated as part of process.
- Retrospectives are never skipped.
- Include the client if the delivery team is blended and client owns part of delivery.
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Kickoff internally
The Secret Source by Aurimas Adomavicius

About the author

Aurimas Adomavicius is the president and co-founder of Devbridge. When not in the trenches working with clients, Aurimas is an active speaker and writer on product design and engineering best practices.

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