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Roles in Projects

SyBIT is a distributed project with many partners, many subprojects. It is important to define certain roles and terminologies to avoid misunderstandings. SyBIT often makes use of the terminology used in Agile development, see also the next section below.



Description, Responsibilities

Science Lead

Each SyBIT project must have a relation to a real need inside a project or partner laboratory. The Science Lead is the person interacting with the project on its requirements and results, and responsible to make sure that the results of the project are actually being used by the researchers. Can be several persons.

Project Lead (Product Owner)

Also termed Product Owner, the Lead is responsible for keeping an up-to-date prioritized list of open functional requirements (also termed Project Backlog) for the given project. The Lead has to interact with the scientists (not just the Science Lead, but mainly) and assure that the project is actually doing what is required and that the requirements are properly understood by the Project Team members. The Lead needs to closely follow the project development and adjust the Project Backlog regularly. Every project can have its own Charter where the exact processes are agreed on. The Project Lead does not decide what the Team is working on and how the Team achieves its goals, that the Team does on its own. The Project Lead merely sets the priorities and negotiates the next steps to be done with the Team on a regular basis according to the Project Charter. Preferably one person acts as Project Lead, in exceptional cases in distributed environments maybe two persons.

Project Team

The Team is responsible for the project's results. Based on the requirements and its priorities as communicated by the Project Lead, it is responsible to plan the detailed work to be done in the immediate future and deliver on it on a regular basis. Usually this planning is done in 2-weekly cycles (Sprints in Scrum terminology); the length of the cycle is defined in the Project Charter. At the end of each cycle, the Team and the Lead discuss what was achieved and what the priorities are for the next cycle.

Process Master (Scrum Master)

The Process Master has to make sure that each project is happy with how it is operating. The Process Master helps to establish new projects, to choose the proper charter, the right persons on the team and regularly makes sure that the processes are still viable. The Process Master helps to adjust processes should this be necessary. Usually the SyBIT Project Manager or the SyBIT Deputy act as overall process masters in SyBIT (Peter and Ela).


Scrum Terminology used in SyBIT

See the Wikipedia definition of Scrum (and references therein) for background information.



Usage in SyBIT

Project Charter

Each project needs a description how it is being operated. People working in a project need to agree on basics, like the roles inside the projects, the code conventions, how documentation is done, etc. SyBIT operates many projects according to Agile project development methods, and is often using Scrum terminology. See the page on Project Charter for more details.

Product Backlog

Also called Project Backlog, this is the high-level ordered list (based on priority) of user requirements, formulated in a table having the following columns:

  • Priority for the Project Lead (Product Owner): 1(top) - 5(low)
  • Title
  • Actor (what is the context of the requirement, who needs to be enabled to do something) "As a ..."
  • Description of what the actor needs to be able to do "I want to..."
  • Description of why the actor would like to do that "So that..."
  • Notes, more explanations
  • Acceptance tests
    The backlog is managed by the Product Owner.


A Sprint is a period of time (called Sprint Length) in which a Project Team is expected to deliver tangible results to the Project Lead and Science Lead. At the beginning of each Sprint the results of the previous Sprint are discussed (delivered) and the priorities of the next Sprint are set (the Product Backlog is updated). The idea is that the Project Lead and Science Lead are strongly involved on a regular basis with the project and can identify mistakes and misunderstandings very early on.

Sprint Backlog

The Sprint Backlog is the detailed list of items the Team will work on in the current Sprint. The Team itself assembles the Sprint Backlog and estimates its duration. The Sprint backlog contains

  • Title
  • Relationship to Product Backlog item(s)
  • Who is assigned to do the work
  • Expected amount of work needed to do the item
  • No labels