24.06.2020

Re-organize Scrum teams

By danielkt

I guess I’m not the only Scrum master who has experienced a situation where you have scaled Scrum to have multiple development teams working on the product with same Product Owner and the same Scrum Master.

One day one of the development teams are reduced with several people in the team. Now you have two teams where only one of them is cross-functional.

So what do you need to do to ensure all teams are cross-functional? Most often you have to re-organize the teams if you can’t just hire the people required to fill the gap.

I will now introduce you to one way of doing it. I have tried this small workshop a couple of times now, and it works.

Multiple teams activity

I have now held a couple of mini-workshops where all teams working on the same product are together to craft new development teams.

First I tell them why we need to re-organize teams and what we want to achieve with it. Next, they will do three activities.

Activity: Identify and list key competencies

In the first activity, you must:

  • Identify and list all the key competencies needed to work on this project or product.
    • Like: JavaScript, Java, XML, MongoDB, SQL, SCSS etc. ?
  • Group related key competencies
    • Like: SCSS, HTML > Frontend Skills

List those you identified on a board – when working with a remote team then I use FunRetro.

Timebox: 15 min.

Activity: Skillsets

In the following activity, you will do an individual exercise:

  • Each person now lists their skill sets by adding a card with their name and XP level for each key competencies that you identified in the first activity.
    • XP level could be 1 (novice) – 5 (expert)
  • Add your cards t the same board under the respective key competence that you have identified.

Timebox: 15 min.

Activity: craft the new development teams

In the last activity, you will use the knowledge you have gained from the first two activities to craft the new development teams.

This activity is done together as one group.

Add some guidelines that each team must adhere to so that you ensure that they are all cross-functional.

Timebox: 15 min.

Benefits of letting people self-organise their teams

This approach has some great benefits:

  • All take ownership of the process where they craft new teams.
  • Everyone has a chance to speak up in case they are unhappy with the crafted teams.
  • It is made transparent to all where people’s strengths and development areas are.