The importance of a real team

Scrum requires a real team.

The word ‘team’ is often used, often in different ways.  So, let us define it.

According to “The Discipline of Teams” by Katzenbach and Smith, this is what you should look for:

1. A meaningful common purpose that the Team has helped shape.

2. Specific performance goals that flow from the common purpose.

3. A mix of complementary skills. Including technical/functional, decision-making, and interpersonal.

4. A strong commitment to how the work is done. (An agreed approach or work methods.)

5. Mutual accountability.

For more discussion, see The Discipline of Teams.

The team needs to be small (~7), stable, cross-functional, and self-organizing.  The team is in it together.  And should help each other.

In general it is best if the team is fully dedicated to one mission, one purpose, or at least the goals of one team.

All of these team characteristics together are key to starting Scrum.  You must start with a real, stable Team. You really want a fully dedicated team, dedicated to one mission.  That is, if the mission is important.  If the mission is not the most important mission (for that team), then why are you doing it?

At some point, if you were to move away from a dedicated, stable team, you are no longer doing Scrum.  Maybe you are doing something Scrum-like.  But who cares about that; what is key is that the Team is less effective.

More importantly, you will get much better results with a real, dedicated, stable team.

Note: Not everyone wants to be on a Team.  And for sure, not everyone walks into the office knowing how to act in a real Team.

 

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