Three Scum teams with one shared designer

Last post 08:18 pm February 22, 2019
by Ian Mitchell
2 replies
11:16 am February 22, 2019


My situation:

I work at a small software development company. We are reorganizing the company according to the Scrum framework, and we are gradually introducing Scrum ceremonies.

We currently have 3 Scrum teams. None of the team members have design experience.

The company employes one dedicated designer, and he is not a part of any Scrum team. Rather he is in a "staff position", and PO, steering group, and teams use his help to sketch out their ideas. We are not going to hire more designers.

My problem:

I, as a Scrum Master, am stressing the importance of crafting a Definition og Done, in order to create transparency with what is finished word, and what is not.

I was going to invite the designer to each teams DoD-workshop, but then I second guessed, because he is not a part of the teams per say.

What do you think is the best way for me to act from here?


Thank you!

06:48 pm February 22, 2019

I don't think the DoD really has any relevance in this situation.  I am more inclined to put this problem into the scope of Refinement.  If the work that the Development needs to do is dependent on having a design by someone outside the team, then a Product Backlog Item is blocked from being pulled into a Sprint Backlog until that impediment is resolved.

I'm also going to suggest that if every team needs design capabilities and that skill is not present on the teams, then they are not fully capable of doing their work.  From the Scrum Guide section on the Development Team (emphasis added by me)

  • Development Teams are cross-functional, with all the skills as a team necessary to create a product Increment;

What if the sole designer worked with members from each of the 3 teams to mentor them on how to do the work.  Then that designer could work in an advisory role, reviewing work, aiding the individual from each team on how to do the work. The designer could provide guidelines, style guides or best practices to the teams for the work.  If the team can stay within the guidelines then they can do what they need. If going outside the boundaries is needed, larger discussions are needed. Maybe even have the designer chair a Community of Practice where the skills can be spread to a wider segment of the organization. 

08:18 pm February 22, 2019

If the designer “sketches out ideas”, why would any team be dependent upon him for achieving a “Done” standard of work once a Sprint is underway?

How do teams currently determine whether or not work is ready for Sprint Planning? Might the designer have more of an input into that?