Cross-functional team members load

Last post 12:15 pm July 6, 2019
by Pavel Kazlou
6 replies
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04:59 pm June 28, 2019

Hi everyone,

 

I searched through forum but did not found an answer to some simple question.

Imagine I have following scrum team within the organization:

1 Backend dev, 1 Frontend dev, 1 QA, 1 UI/UX. This team is self-sufficient in terms of delivering features from beginning to end. But it is not truly cross-functional in terms of Scrum, say UI/UX guy won't be able to fix a bug. (I think this is very popular team organization in software development).

This results in different load of each team member. What to do say if Backend guy needs to spent 1 day for the feature, while others - 4 days?

- Should I lend him to some another Squad, so that he helps them?

- Should I take some more work for him from the next sprint?

- Should I take tasks for him from another team's sprints, so that he helps them as well?

 

I understand that this happens to be not a "true" scrum, but I'd like to ask for some real-life advice how you guys handle such cases. 

 

 

 

06:45 pm June 28, 2019

Do the team recognize this problem, and that it is incumbent upon each of them to improve, so the team’s implementation of Scrum continually becomes more effective? Has the issue you describe been addressed in a Sprint Retrospective for example?

08:14 am June 29, 2019

- Should I lend him to some another Squad, so that he helps them?

With this, What is the influence on focus, transparency on capabilities, and things like self-organization and cross-functionality of your originating team and the targeted team

- Should I take some more work for him from the next sprint?

Who owns the Sprint Backlog? Who decided on work to be picked up?

- Should I take tasks for him from another team's sprints, so that he helps them as well?

Again, my previous questions!  

 

04:54 pm June 30, 2019

Do the team recognize this problem, and that it is incumbent upon each of them to improve, so the team’s implementation of Scrum continually becomes more effective? Has the issue you describe been addressed in a Sprint Retrospective for example?

We discussed this, but I don't think that we will be able to change this. You can't really teach a developer to be a good designer too in the nearest future. 

With this, What is the influence on focus, transparency on capabilities, and things like self-organization and cross-functionality of your originating team and the targeted team

I think PO will plan features considering involvement of this shared resource

Who owns the Sprint Backlog? Who decided on work to be picked up?

Sure, we have a PO who manages the backlog. 

06:59 pm June 30, 2019

Maybe one of the challenges you are (also) facing, is that roles and responsibilities are not clear or not conforming to Scrum. Maybe it is a good start to read and teach who does what, and why...

08:27 pm July 1, 2019

Pavel, in addition to Xander's advice, I would suggest that you read up on the term "premature optimization".   

One key goal of Scrum (and Agile) is not to keep everyone busy, but to keep items progressing through your workflow.   Finding additional ways to keep busy certain specialized Development Team members is a very poor strategy.

I believe this quote from Ken Rubin says it quite well:

“Working on all of the items (in a sprint) at the same time might be a great way of keeping people busy, but it is a poor way of getting things done.”

12:15 pm July 6, 2019

Thanks guys for your replies!