A question of “what is the ideal scrum team?” came up in one of those Scrum LinkedIn groups I’ve been telling y’all about. I jumped again at the opportunity to consider this question that is becoming relevant to my life, and I will share my answer with you here.
Team = People + Relationships
The ideal scrum team is a team. I like to think of teams being composed of the people on it and their relationships. So an ideal one would have ideal people, and ideal relationships.
The Ideal People
As for people, you need an ideal Scrum Master, an ideal Product Owner, and ideal Team Members.
For a Product Owner, I quite like this video, entitled Agile Product Ownership in a Nutshell. It talks about what a product owner does, and who they are. One thing that the team here at Glacier Ag thought was important for a Product Owner is that he deeply understands that intimate, open to expressing opinions, and inclusive relationship with the developers is essential to his success in maximizing the business value of the software built. This, we thought, has to be explicitly explained to, and agreed on by any people used to “command-and-control”-, directive-, and/or “ivory tower”-style leadership.
For Team Members, I like the scrum.org list entitled Professional Scrum Developer Objective Domain. I believe it expresses the current state of thinking in the field of being a good software developer, although I think the state of thinking is ready to be advanced through some of the ideas I have, and other upcoming champions in the field of sw dev
The Ideal Relationships
When it comes to relationships, it seems that the ideal candidates need to have an understanding that the inspect and adapt means “I will inspect you, and you will adapt based on my input” And of course, vice versa. I find that I struggle with that on my team. The individuals making a free choice to join a Scrum team need to understand that is what they are signing up for, and ideally be welcoming to the opportunity to “level up.”
Probably a good term in the area of team relationships, is Group cohesiveness. See the Wikipedia article on Group cohesiveness for a start.
It also strongly seems to me that a deep understanding between team members, of who each individual on the team really is, what makes them tick, and generally what their whole style is all about, is essential for effective communication between them, and is something that is not trivial to achieve. It also appears to me that this is often overlooked, and I’ll give you an example that you can perhaps relate to. The answer to “How’s it going?” – “Not bad”, can mean completely different things to different people, based on their expectation of how likely “bad” or “great” are. “Not bad” can be interpreted as “everything is good”, or “I’m not so good, but at least I am not great”. Just like “no problem” means different things to different people, seemingly based on the generation they belong to.
You will almost certainly benefit from team-building activities, or relationship katas in the early phases of team [relationships] building.
What do you think? Have anything to add? Thanks in advance!
Guest Blogger: Dan Bernardic
Experienced and natural leader, educated in software development, specializing in the Web.
Dan Bernardic on LinkedIn