How to Structure an Agile Scrum Team for Product Development

how to structure an agile scrum team for product development itechnolabs

Though it’s among the most commonly adopted Agile practices in the entire world, not many have the know-how that the term “Scrum” is derived from the rugby term.

Scrum and rugby have lots of things in common. Both of them are centred around teamwork. Team structures have a small group of individuals, and everyone has an essential role in achieving a shared goal. By this, we mean the delivery of functional software applications.

The best approach to succeed with the Agile framework is to structure an Agile scrum team. Keep reading to know more about the scrum team, who all are part of this team, the ideal practices, and the latest tips.

What is a Scrum team?

Scrum is the iterative project management framework for ideally applying the agile methodology. This framework generally focuses on ongoing improvement and learning to provide an agile mindset and enables teams to work together to build projects.

With just a few rules, the Scrum framework gives a flexible guideline for teams to abide by and adapt to their projects and development environments. This flexibility feature makes it an excellent structure across them and organizations.

The basic Scrum Framework is made up of the different elements:

  • The entire agile Scrum team 
  • A prioritized backlog of user requirements
  • Scrum events such as sprint planning meetings, daily Scrum meetings, etc.
  • Sprints

The Ideal Agile Scrum Team Structure

There are three key roles that play a crucial role in the Scrum team: product owner, scrum master and development team. Stakeholders are also there at different degrees with highly agile projects. In bigger enterprises, there are basically many business team members included in the development process.

Scrum Team Size

A Scrum team should have less than 9 individuals. For major enterprise projects, the perfect Scrum team size is 7 individuals (product owner, scrum master, and 5 developers). Smaller projects generally have four team members (product owner, scrum master, and 2 developers). Teams less than this wouldn’t technically be Scrum, as there would be too much overhead with every activity.

PRO TIP: Keep your team consistent and simple. Don’t begin your first project by bringing in new roles or including temporary team members. That attracts more confusion and risks.

Members of an Agile Scrum Team

members of an agile scrum team itechnolabs

There are three different roles within the Scrum team structure: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team.

1. Scrum Master

The Scrum Master acts as a Team Lead. This person ensures that the team implements the Scrum framework efficiently. They also are support leaders who ensure that the team works more productively without any blockage. They guide the entire team on the best practices, reduce distractions and even conduct Scrum meetings on a regular basis. They assist product owners in handling the backlog and making a plan of action. 

Their role includes coaching the team on the best practices, ruling in overbearing product owners, reducing distractions and also, and resulting in regular scrum meetings. They enable product owners to define the product’s value, control the backlog and properly plan the work.

2. Product Owner

Product owners show the interests of the stakeholder or the client. They have a complete know-how of business as well as user requirements and are quite responsible for defining the project direction. They prioritize and define the work needed for the product being made and convey the Scrum team requirements. The role includes:

  • Building and managing the backlog of product 
  • Ensuring everyone have clear communication with the business team
  • Coach the team on every iteration’s deliverables
  • Set the timelines of product development as well as delivery.
  • Scrum team members work together and discuss how to manage the work. But, the product owner has the final call on what to do first and when.

3. Development team

A group of individuals with particular skills needed to put the product altogether from the Scrum Development Team. The team involves developers as well as testers and can likewise comprise expert roles such as those of writers, architects, designers, etc. When the product owner sets the priorities, it comes down to the development team to find out how to get the job done.

The development team’s members are completely self-organized as well as authorities of their domain. The team, as a Scrum rule, is extremely collaborative as well as close-knit in doing their day-to-day roles.

Also, large-scale may include Subject Matter Experts or SME s in the professional team. They might not be involved actively in the regular activities of the team but provide their services as and when needed by the core team.

Choosing the Right Agile Scrum Team Structure

choosing the right agile scrum team structure itechnolabs

The Scrum team structure differs based on the job roles. The majority of the team falls under the below-mentioned categories:

1. Generalist Team

In this team, anyone can choose any task at any time. The entire team structure falls more effectively on the project and with individuals who excel in different roles. This is an excellent option if the size of the team is small. The project is well-defined and easy to understand and doesn’t need specialist expertise in any field. Passionate people who are very much self-motivated do well in such a team structure and have the ability to pull the project efficiently.

2. Specialist Team

In this sort of team, each member comprises a different and highly specialized skill set. So this team would be formed of a proficient software developer, a data analyst, a tester, and trained people in particular areas. Big team sizes, say, 15-20 individuals in a team, can work successfully in a specialist structure. Therefore, such a structure has no predictability and also, and resources sit around waiting for their upcoming task. One can think of minimizing this downtime by training every team member.

3. Transitioning Team 

A transitioning team is beyond just a supportive team. While a team is changing to Scrum, it is a great idea to set a team up to back up that transition. The load of work of this team can be well-managed by ongoing sprints. The team assists other teams in getting a hold of Agile as they move their focus from traditional methodologies.

4. Parallel Team 

In a parallel team, there are no fixed roles, and everyone’s job evolves with each sprint. So everyone understands how to create a code and go for testing. This structure is really good for training team members. While it may sound really tough to manage, there are different conditions, such as client specification or another resource crunch, that can create a team selected for such a structure.

5. Product Sub-Team

In a big organization, a larger team is parted into specialized scrum teams that work together to come up with great solutions. Every product sub-team holds the responsibility for deliverables that integrate into the final product. Most teams act similar to the relay teams giving the product of one team as input to the other team.

This structure works smoothly when the entire organization adopts Scrum as its mostly used methodology of development. Thus, it can likewise work in a condition where one team is Scrum whereas the other is not. The concept is to capitalize on the amazing features of Scrum and the different methodologies, such as a waterfall.

Related Article: What Agile Software Development Team Structure Looks Like

5 Key Features of an Effective Agile Scrum Team

5 key features of an effective agile scrum team itechnolabs

Below is a list of important characteristics that are crucial to consider while developing your Scrum team.

1. Self-managing

Every member of every Scrum team decides how the group will collaborate. Every member is important equally, but responsibilities are well-defined. This implies that every team member must get the same opportunity to give their opinion. Together, they can then make a solution.

Ultimately, the product has the final say about prioritization, but all other discussions are guided to a solution everybody agrees with by the scrum master.

2. Co-located

Scrum is all about close collaboration. Ideally, the entire team sits together under one roof so that there are no barriers (no matter how small) to communication. When team members are expanded over different locations, rooms, or time zones, it is normal for individuals to postpone their interaction.

3. Dedicated

The project should be assigned to every team member full time, as any distraction will just delay work. Focused work is far more effective than switching between assignments or dividing your attention between two projects. Being devoted to a single project is likewise an ideal way to take ownership as well as responsibility, which enables better self-management.

Every member of the Scrum team should be assigned to the project full-time, as any distraction will just delay work. Focused work is highly effective in moving between assignments or splitting your focus between two projects.

4. Long-lived

Don’t make any changes to your Scrum team structure. New Scrum teams take some time to adapt to one another, and evolving even between projects will need time for the team to learn to collaborate.

5. Cross-functional

The team should hold the excellent knowledge needed to provide a working product. This involves team members with specialization in development, user experiences, quality assurance, integrations, and different aspects.

When to Utilise a Scrum Team Structure

Scrum teams can work on different types of software development projects involving complete software packages and internal or client work. While Scrum is a totally flexible and great approach for different types of projects, there are a couple of ways to identify when it is correctly applied.

When requirements are not well-defined

At times, clients have a basic vision for their product but lack exact requirements. This creates difficulty in estimating the scope of costs and time – which are important for fixed-cost projects or additional traditional methodologies.

The Scrum framework is developed to adapt to changing requirements, making it the totally natural choice for projects with totally undefined scopes.

When changes are expected during development

Similarly, Scrum works really well for projects that accept changes at the time of development. This can happen even when requirements are well-defined from the start. 

Related Article: A brief difference between Scrum Development or Agile Scrum Methodology?

Do You Want to Structure an Agile Scrum Team for Product Development?

do you want to structure an agile scrum team for product development itechnolabs

The agile Scrum team, as well as the Scrum best practices, have been factually proven to generate results for the organization. Scrum is a highly adaptive approach and is all set for experiments. Making it work for a team, organization or project based on how well committed a Scrum Master or lead is to the process. As a Certified Scrum Master, one should comprehend the requirements. Finally, apply and keep doing changes until one gets an approach to enable the Agile development Scrum teamwork for everyone on it.

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