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Team Management and scrum

Last post 06:20 pm January 4, 2018 by Ian Mitchell
3 replies
01:00 pm January 4, 2018


I moved from an organisation where my team was composed of 9 "Engineers" (we're in infrastructure team), 1 Product Manager, two QA people one Manager. This seemed to work well, the Product Manager would handle new requests/ requirements gathering and the Manager would organise themselves into the best way to solution. Depending on the solution, an Engineer could be an Architect, or scripting/developing or whatever. The two QA team members would be involved in everything from the start.

I'm now in an organisation where there are different, specialist roles:

Service Manager/ Owner

Product Managers

Architects (inc Manager)

Engineers (incl Manager)


The idea being that the  the Service Owner / Product Manager would recieve requirements from the Business, who would pass to the Service Architect Team, who would pass to the Engineering team, who would pass to the Test team.

To me this constant hand off seems unnatural. From what I understand about Agile, my previous organisation's way of doing things was better even if we didn't actually call it Agile.

Any thoughts?

03:04 pm January 4, 2018

I wouldn't call these handoffs unnatural. I would call them wasteful, in the Lean sense. Waiting and motion are both types of waste.

Scrum, and several other agile methods and frameworks, address this by having cross-functional teams. I think it's normal for individuals to specialize, but having involvement in and knowledge of the entire flow of work reduces these explicit handoffs. People become involved early, are involved in making decisions as a team, and owning those decisions. This reduces waiting (people are always involved in doing work, even if they aren't the primary responsible party) and motion (no explicit handoffs or a need to coordinate moving information from one person to another or one team to another). I think that there's also a benefit with everyone feeling a sense of ownership of all of the work and decisions that just makes people happier.

04:52 pm January 4, 2018

Caveat:  You gave us very little context.

First place sounds like command and control waterfall.  (if the team self organized instead of relying on a manager, it would look more Agile)

Second place is sounds like functional silo waterfall.

See "WODF" here:

Yes, I would agree that at first blush the first place sounds like the cycle time to release would be much shorter thus resulting in quicker value delivery and quicker feedback on what value is.



06:20 pm January 4, 2018

From what I understand about Agile, my previous organisation's way of doing things was better even if we didn't actually call it Agile.

Neither way of working seems to be particularly agile, and they clearly aren’t Scrum. However, to the extent that the first of them permitted better collaboration and self-organization, the level of agility may possibly have been greater.

You may wish to model the value stream in order to highlight instances of waste.

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