The development team does the work of turning business goals into value that is delivered to the customer. The team has all the skills it needs to be able to deliver that value, working collaboratively passing the ball back and forth as they move down the pitch together towards achieving their goal.
The team is responsible for the HOW, how are we going to design that, how are we going to solve that problem, how are we going to deliver that value, how are we going to test that.
This doesn’t mean everyone is superhuman and can do anything, but it does mean within the boundaries of team they have the skills to be able to deliver. Over time team members learn from each other through working together, this makes the team more adaptable and a great place for learning new skills and knowledge.
Whole Team Approach
The whole team has collective responsibility for the quality of its work and the value it delivers to its customers. There are no recognised titles within the team. The team wins together, in this way it is in the teams best interests to develop strategies to help and support each other in the fulfilment of its goals.
It’s the team that decides how they will achieve their goals, planning the work and managing it within the Sprint. It is also the team that decides how much work can be achieved within the Sprints.
As a team member I am only on 1 team, otherwise the cost of task-switching will be too great and without dedicated team members a team culture will never develop. If we are building a Scrummy organisation it means we are investing in building long lived teams.
The development team size is between 3 and 9 people. Less than 3 people and you don’t have enough diversity within the teams interactions to get great results. More than 9 people and the communications channels between members become too complex, and it will naturally start to divide into sub-teams, thus losing the idea of the ‘Whole Team Approach’.
You can read more about team size in Tom Reynolds article Team Sizes and Communication Pathways.
To start with the team is like lots of different ingredients that don’t know how to combine to create a great sauce. Through working together every Sprint heat is applied to the team, which allows the ingredients to start to learn how to combine effectively. At some point the sauce will be simmering along nicely, people will make comments about how they enjoy working as part of the team. However be careful if the heat is removed, your sauce will start to cool and ultimately congeal, maybe a key ingredient has left or the sense of purpose has gone. The other thing to be careful of within a team is turning the heat up too fast, you risk the sauce boiling over and having a mess. This happens when the team thinks Sprints are just about going fast, they end up thrashing.
Take time to build your teams culture, create a common identity, work and play together, get good at giving each other feedback. It’s like your favourite sports team, all the successful ones have an identifiable culture, this also makes it easier for new team members to add value faster. The team members may change slowly overtime, but the culture will survive. If the culture does break for whatever reason, its likely the team will no longer be so successful. Take time to do something everyday together outside of doing the work, do a quiz, exercise, go for lunch together, something the whole team can get involved in.
To read more about real teams take a look at Eben Halfords article You’re Probably Not Part of a Real Team