Choosing Your Scrum Team Size and Structure

By 23rd July 2015 Agile

Composition of a Scrum team

A Scrum team normally consists of about 7 people or, to be more precise, 7±2 persons, so ideally no fewer than five team members and no more than nine per team.

All competencies needed to be represented in a single Scrum team. In other words, a Scrum team is a multi-disciplinary unit that consists of developers and testers focused on solving a common task.

Contrast this with what happens in traditional, waterfall-type organisations. The standard here is to do the exact opposite, so that the testers are all grouped in one team, interface developers in another and server developers in a third.

A Scrum team should be self-organizing

One of the core principles in agile methodology is that the team itself has the best knowledge of how data should be organized. It is not the prerogative of the product owner to interfere (at least not too much!), or to tell them how they should handle a task.

The team also has a shared responsibility for quality. It is not just the testers that test the product for errors, even the developers must contribute to ensure that high quality systems are released.

For the Scrum team to succeed given these conditions, it is exceedingly important everyone has access to the same information at the same time. Having the right tool facilitates this.

A given sprint is handled from beginning to end by the same team. Nothing will change during a sprint. The same requirements should apply throughout the sprint, and even the team members, the priorities, and the processes should remain constant.

Product Owner information

The Product Owner (PO) manages and communicates the vision, roadmap and product backlog.

Planning sprints and releases is done in close collaboration with the team’s Scrum master.

It is the PO who accepts and gives feedback. Being a product owner is a complex matter. It is difficult to be a superhero alone, so the need for close and effective interaction between the Product Owner, Scrum Master and team is essential.

As a product owner, you are both operational and strategic. You are the leader, but you not expected to interfere in the process. You need to be visionary, but not micro-manage everyday work activities.

Product Owner’s responsibility and authority

The product owner working on what will be built, but not how it should be done.

A PO’s responsibility includes:

  • Making business intelligence
  • Have customer contact
  • Communicate
  • Define requirements
  • Assess business benefits
  • Prioritize
  • Accepting delivery

They can exert their authority in the following ways:

  • Delimit the scope, resources and time
  • Make decisions about product direction
  • Decide on priorities
  • Decide on releases

Qualities and competencies that facilitate PO’s work

It’s hard to be the best at everything. Pick three traits from the follow list and try to find ways to develop them over the next 30 days. Consider this your own backlog!

  • Responsive
  • Relationship Builders
  • Team players
  • Resolute
  • Communicative
  • Analytical
  • Stress Resistant

What would you like to improve? If you do not have these characteristics: use the ones you have in a good way, work on the others, and always ask for feedback.

The Scrum team’s responsibilities and authority

Responsibilities

  • Divide the work among themselves (self-organizing)
  • Estimate the time required
  • Shared responsibility for quality
  • Shared responsibility for the sprint
  • Shared responsibility for creating ready for delivery parts
  • Notify the product owner if you are ahead or behind schedule, or anything that may jeopardize the sprint
  • Actively participate in sprint planning, sprint demo and retrospective
  • Contribute knowledge and experience

Authority

  • Suggest stopping of deliveries due to the lack of quality
  • Actively participate in sprint planning, sprint demo and retrospective

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