Adding new team members

Last post 09:39 am October 22, 2012
by Oliver Tyson
3 replies
02:00 pm October 19, 2012

As a Product Owner, i have an line manager asking my team to "absorb" 3 new members, brining the total size up to 11 members!
Although i appreciate the thought, i'm worried about bringing new members into a scrum team that has already committed to a 3 week sprint. Is this grounds for pushing the highly unpopular "Sprint Cancel Button"?

Thanks for any feedback.

02:16 pm October 20, 2012

Hi Oliver,

Yes ideally you would add team members when the Sprint has finished. The team will dislike the Sprint being cancelled. Is waiting until the end of the Sprint not an option?

03:51 pm October 20, 2012

On top of Joshua's comment:

Did you educate the line manager about the inevitable new forming/storming phases? Is he willing to accept the lowered performance during the next couple of months?

Additionally, you should involve your Team as deeply as possible. If they WANT the new members, you will be fine. If they HAVE to absorb them, you should allow them to self-organize. Allow them to do anything necessary, including splitting up into several Teams, if that is what they want to do. Don't raise suggestions yourself but wait for the Team to come up with some - that way you make sure the decisions are committed to by everybody.

If you really have to bring in new members in mid-Sprint (which would be a violation of the Sprint and should be avoided), don't assume you will get anything done at all during the Iteration. Canceling the Sprint is difficult for your Team but on the other hand makes it for everybody very transparent what is happening there.
If I was you, I would describe all options to my Team and let them decide. No matter how hard the decision. It will pay off in the long run.



09:39 am October 22, 2012

Thanks so much for the feedback Dominik and Josua. I am extremely uncomfortable about absorbing 3 new members during a sprint, so i'll "educate" the line manager as to the potential impacts upon the ongoing sprint and team. I would prefer they do not join until the next sprint (2 weeks from now), rather than interrupt the team momentum and dynamic. It is good to have your feedback on top of the Sprint Rules to highlight the potential negative impacts of changing the team mid-sprint!