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A few weeks ago, someone asked about RACI and Scrum. Who is responsible for what? Scrum defines this quite clearly, but rather than talk about responsibilities, the Guide talks mostly about Accountabilities. What is the difference?
Let’s start with a slightly snarky guide to RACI and Scrum. What does RACI mean (traditionally)?
- R – Responsible – Does the work.
- A – Accountable – Can be blamed if the work is not done satisfactorily.
- C – Consulted – Will be asked about the change, and they care what you think.
- I – Informed – You will be told about the change, the don’t care what you think.
Sometimes it is difficult to understand the difference between responsible and accountable. If you are responsible for the work, then you do it; usually your manager is accountable that it gets done and done well.
Before the 2020 Scrum Guide, RACI didn’t really explain what a Scrum Master does, so sometimes you will see RASCI. The S for Supporting, which is closer what the Scrum Master does.
The 2020 Scrum Guide went a step further to define accountabilities and, in some cases, responsibilities for each member of the team. For example: “The Scrum Team is responsible for all product-related activities from stakeholder collaboration, verification, maintenance, operation, experimentation, research and development, and anything else that might be required.”
In the Scrum Guide, accountabilities define each member’s contribution while leaving open how they do it. Roles often define limits and boundaries and are the basis of turf wars, so the Scrum Guide does not define roles. It uses Accountabilities to define the expectation and contribution of each member.
Accountabilities in Scrum
The Scrum Team is accountable for:
- Creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint
- Having all the skills necessary to create value each Sprint
- All work necessary to create the product
The Developers are accountable for:
- Creating a usable Increment each Sprint
- Creating a plan for the Sprint
- Instilling Quality through the Definition of Done
The Product Owner is accountable for:
- Maximizing the value of the product.
- Ensuring each Increment is valuable.
- Effective Product Backlog management.
The Scrum Master is accountable for:
- Establishing Scrum
- Scrum Team’s effectiveness
If anyone asks you about RACI in Scrum, you can refer then to this article or the attached graphic.
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