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Agile Teams Defined

Tim Zack
Reading: Agile Teams Defined

There’s no success in Agile outside the context of a team. Forming teams is just that important. So, what is a team? The Scrum Guide implies what a team should be, but we want to get super explicit. In this short clip, Mike Cottmeyer defines what an Agile team should really look like.

Video Transcript

The thing that I think is the most critical in a Transformation, I’m kind of bleeding up into the theory and approach section, is this idea that we have to have complete cross-functional teams. So what is a complete cross-functional team? It’s not a group of people working on a project. It’s not a group of people dedicated to a project. It is that, but that’s not it in its entirety. It’s a group of about six to eight people. Maybe it’s 12. Maybe it’s four, right? Not being super dogmatic about that. That have ownership over their technology stack and are focused at a well-identified business problem. Okay? If we want to go super deep into it, you could take like a business capability or a product line or a set of services within an organization. We want the team to be able to own the technology stack, deploy it on command and want that technology stack and those people to be focused at something that the business cares about.

That is a team in Agile. It’s implied in the Scrum Guide, I’m making it super explicit. Without a team like that, velocity will never stabilize. You will not get predictable against a known backlog. Super difficult to get to a definition of done at the end of every Sprint. And so what happens is that people do a lot of Scrum: daily stand-ups, reviews, retrospectives, story point estimation, burndown charts, all that stuff, but it’s not creating the momentum that they want. It’s like if you can’t get the organization to form teams, you’re stealing money from them. It’s that big of a deal, right? There is no success in Agile outside the context of a team.

Next What is a Well-Formed Backlog?

Tim Zack is a digital native with almost 10 years experience solving marketing problems with technology. Tim’s strengths are in strategic planning, UX, analytics, marketing automation, content and search marketing. Leveraging his experience across multiple industries, Tim drives marketing strategy for LeadingAgile.

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