A discussion of the Scrum project development team breaks down into three main areas: its goals, its relationship with others who are involved in the project, and its structure.
The team’s goal is to have something of business value to show by the end of each sprint. A sprint is a Scrum term defined as the time required to perform a logical series of prioritized tasks, in a project. The sprint is a fixed period of time, and there can be many sprints in a given project. For example, a one-year project may have twelve sprints of one month each. Sprints are commonly thirty days long, but they can be longer or shorter.
The team’s other goals are to complete the most profitable increments first on each sprint it works on; to be able to incorporate changes, and to provide higher quality due to ongoing testing and to debug, and using techniques such as pair programming. Other indirect goals that occur automatically if the above goals are attained are improved employee morale and user satisfaction.
The development team works closely with two key individuals; the ScrumMaster and the product owner. The ScrumMaster is the team’s coach, mentor, and protector. He is also the main enforcer to ensure the team is performing according to Scrum rules and processes. The ScrumMaster is not the team’s supervisor or boss. He is also a protector and is obligated to intervene when users or others make out-of-order requests on team members directly.
The product owner represents the users, customers, and vendors desires and works closely with the ScrumMaster and development team. He is responsible for the success of the team in realizing the project’s goals. The product owner is also responsible for creating and managing the product backlog report which is a prioritized list of project requirements with estimated times for their completion.
Communication is key for the Scrum team to do its job. The team also works closely with functional internal managers such as the marketing manager, as well as external vendors and customers. Most importantly, the key relationships are between the team members themselves. Communication and cooperation are essential.
Ideally the team itself should make decisions how it is structured. Many team members, however, may have better technical ability than organizational decision-making ability and especially initially. Team organization should be up to functional managers, product owners, ScrumMasters, and Scrum consultants to make, and again, especially initially. Potential team members should be consulted for their input, and especially those with prior Agile or Scrum methodology knowledge.
Three key factors in the creation of a Scrum team are size, make-up, and type of team.
- Size - Scrum recommends a smaller rather than a larger team in the range of five to nine people. As a general rule the larger the team over nine the less chance for success. Two teams of seven rather than one team of fourteen is almost always better.
- Make-up - Selection of team members is critical; not just for technical expertise but for interactional considerations. The personalities of potential team members should be carefully analyzed for compatibility. Team members should be able to communicate and cooperate together and be of a democratic nature. Team members must be willing to pitch-in and help out wherever they are needed even though it may not be their expertise. The goal is always to get the work done that they committed to accomplish during the sprint.
- Type of Team - There are basically two types of teams; feature and component. Feature teams are set-up to produce value increments sooner. Scrum believes it is ideal to have all feature teams, but sometimes it may be necessary to have component teams. A component team can be thought of as a traditional team that develops software to be delivered to another software team on the project rather than to the end user or customer.
There are many other factors involved in team creation. The above is just an overview of three key ones.
Agile Methodology that Works Best for Your Organization's Needs
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