What is an Agile Team?

Agile Team

Agile project management is popular because of its pace. However, even teams who seem to have agile values aren’t working as swiftly as possible. 

Agile is among the most prominent development approaches because of its performance and profitability. It allows you to quickly test your vision and make changes while maintaining a clear picture of what your final product will be. 

Even though most businesses have adopted agile and scrum approaches, establishing an agile team is still a dilemma. What roles does it need? What is the best way to work together?

What Is an Agile Team?

An agile team consists of skilled individuals with the necessary skills and experience to execute projects utilizing the agile methodology.

Typically, an agile team has all the resources needed to complete projects. They don’t have to rely on working with other groups to complete their tasks. 

An agile team has everything they need to complete several project phases. It includes creating a work breakdown structure (WBS), collaborating on tasks, testing, deployment, and project closing.

Teams that adopt agile principles can complete projects quicker while also enhancing the outcome of the end deliverables, as the word ‘agile’ indicates. 

Agile teams benefit from a better understanding of project objectives and increased productivity levels. Because they only collaborate on one project at a time.

For example, an agile team should contain a scrum master, a product owner, and any additional team members required when utilizing the scrum methodology. 

The scrum master (sometimes referred to as the project manager) oversees the project, facilitates collaboration, and coordinates daily meetings. 

The product owner is in charge of guaranteeing that the final product fits the customer’s needs. You can bring in subject matter experts and other stakeholders to help with the project. 

Still, they aren’t usually considered agile team members.

What Is an Agile Team Structure?

An agile team structure is a framework for organizing the various aspects of a team working on an agile project. Project activities, workflows, and team responsibilities are among these elements. 

The framework is a core paradigm that agile teams can use to direct their work and arrange operational processes.

Bruce Tuckman, a psychologist from the United States, created a model for the stages of group development in 1965:

  • Forming
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing

Agile project managers use this adaptable framework since it allows them to lead their teams through various projects. When a team member departs or joins, they can go back to the creation phase and start from the beginning. Scaling agile teams requires this level of team organization.

A strong team structure establishes clarity, ensuring that everyone understands their roles. Agile adds a layer of flexibility to the team, allowing them to adjust to changes rapidly and productively.

Features of an Agile Team Structure

Multi-functional

Agile teams have a cross-functional framework, and every team member has their own set of skills. Still, they all operate toward the same goal: meeting customer expectations by delivering deliverables on schedule.

Engagement

Within a cross-functional Agile team, there is a lot of collaboration and practical discussions. Some team members will engage in cross-training, learning new abilities. The horizontal line shows their overall understanding of different talents, whereas the vertical line represents their crucial specialty area. These team members refer to “T-shaped.”

Hierarchical-free

The non-hierarchical structure of an Agile team is another essential feature. Agile teams advocate a flat organizational structure that allows employees to work individually and arrange themselves. 

Every team member has a clear function and task. Extraneous levels of supervision get eliminated, allowing employees to self-manage. It performs well in small groups. A scrum team should be between three and nine people. Hence, making sure everyone should be on the same level.

Types Of Agile Team Structure:

Price, availability of resources, and the type of project will all influence the Agile team’s structure. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; varied frameworks work for different groups. Each option has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Some significant Agile team structures are as follows:

Generalist

As the name implies, a generalist structure is one in which every team member has a broad awareness of a range of issues without digging too deeply into any of them. A generalist knows a bit about several different topics. They can work on various projects and switch readily with their coworkers due to their adaptability. 

This Agile structure is typical in smaller teams. It is beneficial in the sales business, where experts may apply their foundational knowledge to sell across various industries.

Specialist

A specialist is the polar opposite of a generalist, as they specialize in one field. Everyone in a specialist team structure has a separate niche and is in charge of the duties that come under their jurisdiction. 

These “experts” are beneficial to a team. Because they can provide in-depth knowledge of challenging topics, resulting in higher-quality products. This structure is more frequent in a larger Agile team because there are enough employees to cover all different areas of knowledge.

Programmers, database managers, product designers, and Agile practitioners are just a few examples of specialists.

Hybrid

In a hybrid team, generalists and specialists are mixed. Each specialist on this team will emphasize developing their complex work component. At the same time, the generalists will connect the dots and ensure that the project makes sense as a whole. 

A hybrid structure’s adaptability is consistent with Agile’s spirit. It also means Agile teams can benefit from generalist and specialist approaches’ broad knowledge. Improved teamwork, high-quality outputs, and a stronger sense of control help a hybrid structure.

Parallel

Agile team members switch duties with each iteration in a parallel framework. If everybody focuses on software development in one sprint, they will all switch to software testing in the next. It allows for simultaneous delivery of software. This strategy necessitates practical training and skilled team members who can easily switch between responsibilities.

Sub-team

In short, this arrangement is a team within a team. Individual components that exist within bigger Agile teams are known as sub-teams. 

They focus on a particular area, which is then combined with other areas to generate a final project deliverable. Sub-teams break down enormous tasks into manageable chunks, increasing visibility and accountability.

Transitioning, utilized while a team is migrating to an Agile project management style, is another instance of an Agile team structure. We go over the Agile transformation approach in greater depth here.

The optimal size for an agile team, according to several experts, is between five and eleven people.

What are the gains when you work with a smaller team? What role does team size play in agile methodologies? What about big-picture agile initiatives? Now we’ll address those and other concerns.

You must prefer small teams over larger ones if all else is equal. Why? Communication is the key.

There are costs and rewards to every software development choice. It is especially true when bringing on new team members. Indeed, the team will gain (ideally) from the new member’s expertise, skills, and opinions. Each new member of a team, on the other hand, adds to the communication burden.

What Are the Agile Team Roles?

In agile teams, You can typically find the following primary roles and responsibilities.

Product Owner

The product owner represents the project’s stakeholders. The fundamental job of this position is to set the path for product development or project advancement.

The product owner is aware of the project’s stakeholder requirements. They also possess the soft skills to communicate those requirements to the product development team. 

The product owner also knows the long-term corporate goal and ensures that the project meets all stakeholders’ needs and expectations. 

Every stage of the project lifecycle is devoted to considering end-user input. It intends to determine an acceptable next-best-action framework for the development.

A product owner’s primary responsibilities are:

  • Scrum backlog management
  • Release management
  • Stakeholder management

The product owner is aware of both backlog items added to the list and those prioritized for development. Based on stakeholder comments and project situations, the product owner adjusts the importance of the backlog item list. 

The role also manages to release cycle planning. It also ensures that the development team can consistently produce updated project revisions.

Ultimately, the product owner guarantees that product development is valuable to the stakeholders. End-users, company executives, partners, and the development team must communicate effectively.

Scrum Master/Team Lead

The team lead, often known as the scrum master, maintains team cohesion and facilitates project progress among individual team members. 

The scrum master follows the product owner’s directions and ensures that the tasks get completed promptly.

  • The following are examples of possible responsibilities:
  • Daily scrum and sprint initiatives facilitation.
  • Team members communicate about changing needs and planning.
  • Toward achieving their goals, team members receive mentorship.
  • Conducting meetings, promoting collaboration, and removing roadblocks to project completion.
  • Keeping team members safe from distractions and outside intervention.

External cooperation with the organization and the product owner is also part of the role’s responsibilities. It guarantees that the scrum framework implementation happens effectively.

Among the duties that may get assigned to you are:

The first task is enabling efficient scrum deployment. The job also manages external collaboration with the organization and the product owner. Among the responsibilities could be:

  • Placing changes in place.
  • Getting stakeholders to work together to find the resources they need.
  • Assisting product owners in optimizing backlog planning for maximum efficiency.

As a scrum master, you are responsible for maintaining transparency, self-organization, dedication, and respect within the scrum team. Most significantly, pursuing an empirical procedure to determine the optimum product development approach.

Development Team Members

People with responsibilities that include product development make up the Development Team members but are not restricted. The team focuses on the cross-functional duties required to turn a concept or a demand into an actual product for end-users. 

One or more development team members may be able to provide the essential skills:

  • Product designer
  • Writer
  • Programmer
  • Tester
  • UX specialist

Not every team member must be an engineer. But they must be a part of the team if their talents are necessary for the project to move forward at the desired rate.

In addition to technical talents, team members need soft skills that allow them to organize themselves and complete tasks. It implies that the team is capable and equipped to respond if a problem arises.

The development team’s primary responsibilities are to complete work sprints according to the product owner’s specifications and the Scrum master’s coordination. A daily standup meeting called the daily scrum regularly shares project progress with colleagues and the scrum master.

This process ensures openness and helps the development team to make necessary changes in future sprints. The modifications are the result of product owner feedback.

Stakeholders

The stakeholder job is not actively engaged in the product development phase. However, you can use it to represent a variety of essential responsibilities. The responsibilities influence the scrum team’s decisions and activities. A stakeholder could be:

  • The end-user of the product
  • Business executives
  • Production support staff
  • Investors
  • External auditors

Scrum team members from associated projects and teams

Stakeholder input is critical in guiding the project’s growth in various ways. Such as aligning product development with corporate goals and end-user demands. Additionally includes overcoming issues faced by the scrum development team.

Conclusion

An agile team is a highly cross-functional group of people that work together to create valuable products. Agile software development is a continuous, incremental, and collaborative approach to developing software due to changing needs or requirements. 

An agile team structure allows the team members to collaborate effectively to provide solutions that are in line with the objectives of the agile team.

The team comprises specialists who contribute specific knowledge in requirements analysis, software design and development, testing, quality assurance, project management, implementation, and support.

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