One man Scrum Team

Last post 01:39 pm August 24, 2021
by Daniel Wilhite
4 replies
Author
Messages
04:36 am August 23, 2021

In our organisation there are multiple teams who are already applying Scrum. They manage the dependencies also together. However, there is new start-up division where there is only person who treats himself as PO/SM/Developer., since the product being built is small and they are learning. Are they operating properly in the context of Scrum? What are the pros and cons of applying Scrum here?

I see nothing wrong here since it is a start-up division. However, if i think from general perspective, I see- conflict of interest, justice to the role, limiting cross-functionality. But on the other side, this may be short term, as they are learning and is start-up. May be once it grows, they may have the dedicated role.

Any other views here?

06:21 pm August 23, 2021

The key statement in the Scrum Guide is:

The Scrum framework, as outlined herein, is immutable. While implementing only parts of Scrum is possible, the result is not Scrum.

If you have a single person doing all of the work, I'd want to know if it even makes sense to implement all of Scrum. Does it make sense to have a Daily Scrum? Does it make sense to have a Sprint Retrospective? I'd suggest walking through the required accountabilities, events, and artifacts. Do all of the accountabilities on the team exist? Do all of the events, as they are described in the Scrum Guide, make sense? Are the artifacts appropriate? Since Scrum is about how a team collaborates on the work, I'd suggest that a lot of the coordination and collaboration elements that are required for Scrum would be overhead on an effort with a single person.

I'd also point out that scaling frameworks tend to recommend applying them once you've hit 3 or 4 teams. When you only have one or two teams, Scrum as it's described in the Scrum Guide is sufficient and any cross-team collaboration can be more ad-hoc. Once you have 3 or 4 teams working on the same product, then having some more structure can help improve communication and collaboration. Along those same lines, I'd suggest that you'd need at least 3 people, if not at least 3 Developers, before applying all of the structures and patterns of Scrum.

This doesn't mean that you can't take pieces of Scrum as a foundation. If the organization has a strong culture of applying Scrum for teams, maybe it makes sense to consider what is useful to a single person that can help a team apply Scrum once it grows. An ordered Product Backlog seems like it's something easy for one person to do and can give visibility to outside stakeholders. Perhaps an idea of a regular review modeled on the Sprint Review also makes sense. By laying the foundations early, it could be easier if the product grows and needs to be supported by a larger team.

02:00 am August 24, 2021

there is only person who treats himself as PO/SM/Developer., since the product being built is small and they are learning. Are they operating properly in the context of Scrum? What are the pros and cons of applying Scrum here?

Suppose that heroic individual was to catch Covid or otherwise become indisposed. How would the "Scrum Team" then manage the situation so Sprint Goal commitments are met?

11:44 am August 24, 2021

The Scrum Team is small enough to remain nimble and large enough to complete significant work within a Sprint, typically 10 or fewer people

Though Scrum guide recommends maximum limit for a Scrum team size there is no mentioning of minimum size. But I think a team should have minimum enough to complete a significant work in a sprint. I wonder why the organisation has created a silo team with 1 person to work on startup.To me, the innovation culture should be enabled with in any of existing Scrum teams. 

01:39 pm August 24, 2021

Ever look up the definition of the word "team"?  I have never seen any definition that didn't include words like "group" or "multiple".  You can not have a 1 person team. 

I really don't see how the Scrum Events would be useful for a single individual.  This heroic individual would be talking to themself all the time.  I'd think that the continuous thoughts running through their head would be sufficient and no need to have any of the events. 

As @Thomas Owens suggests I believe you should stop thinking about whether one person can use Scrum and focus on what benefit Scrum would provide for a single individual.