A small group: 7 plus or minus two.
Motivated by the vision of one person, a vision that will realize good business value.
Dedicated (usually 100% but certainly a lot).
With almost all the skills needed to realize the vision.
The team works together daily.
A team is not:
* Lots more people than that (that’s a collection of people).
* Motivated by multiple visions (if there is some similarity in the work, that might be a department).
* Following multiple people (that would be confusion).
* Some folks who work together from time to time.
We give a Team a mission, and we expect them to figure out how to deliver it.
For an interesting discussion about how small teams work in warfare, see Maneuver warfare.
Why are teams important?
This may seem obvious to many of you. But even for those, it may be useful to review.
1. No simple problems. We now need a team to figure out almost any problem, because they are all complicated. We need the knowledge from multiple people.
2. Creating knowledge. The team is the unit that creates the real knowledge. They convert tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. They brainstorm. They convert ideas to something more real, and examine whether they are achieving the vision.
3. Has “it”. We can’t describe everything that makes a winning team. One day knowledge. One day skill. One day motivation. Every day something different. But they get it done.
4. Motivation. Creating something brand new is hard work. The team members need to motivate each other to get past all the problems and issues. The team has to find its heart. Once it has it (the heart), you can let the Team run.
5. Clarity. If we have a real team, then when we examine what it produces each Sprint, we have clarity about that. The problems are much more obvious. There is much less confusion. The best actions to make further progress are clearer. Tracking Team productivity or progress every sprint is far more useful than tracking individual productivity or progress.
6. Fundamental to make Scrum work. Scrum is built upon a team concept. To get the real value from Scrum, you should start with a team. (I have not thought about it as much, but I think this would apply to all or almost all of Agile.)
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Is your team reaching its potential now?