Skip to main content

Scrum Team Size

Last post 08:45 pm March 6, 2023 by Timothy Baffa
5 replies
05:46 pm February 28, 2023

The Scrum guide without being prescriptive mentioned 10 or fewer people for the Scrum Team size

"The Scrum Team is small enough to remain nimble and large enough to complete significant work within a Sprint, typically 10 or fewer people" - Scrum Guide 2020

However, is the phrase, "10 or fewer" not rather ambiguous?

Knowing 1 and 2 can suffice?

Definitely, a team size for the Scrum Team cannot be be 1, or 2 knowing we have at least a Product Owner. and Scrum Master as part of the Scrum Team?

Will the next guide take this into account and still without being prescriptive?

What about "typically 5-10 people", taking into the account the Product Owner and Scrum Master accountabilities at the minimum?



07:22 pm February 28, 2023

However, is the phrase, "10 or fewer" not rather ambiguous?

The Scrum Guide is saying "typically 10 or fewer," not "typically 11 or fewer", or "typically 9 or fewer". That seems fairly unambiguous to me.

08:06 pm February 28, 2023

You seem to miss the point that Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developer are not job descriptions.  They are roles with specific accountabilities and responsibilities.  It is possible that one person can be fulfilling all or part of the Product Owner and Developer accountabilities. Or any combination of the 3 roles.  So, yes it is possible to have a Scrum Team of 1 or 2 people if the Product can be supported by that many people. 

From my experience, those situations are not typical. There are usually more people needed to fulfill the accountabilities and responsibilities for those roles. I also fairly confident that "there are studies that show" the effectiveness of different team sizes for various activities. 

As for the Scrum Guide revisions, the last revision actually became less prescriptive.  Remember that Scrum is not intended to be solely for Software Development.  It is for any situation where empirical learnings can be applied to help complex problem spaces deliver solutions.  I know of Human Resource organizations using it.  I have seen it applied to Medical Labs.  I am aware of it being used in Event Planning and Sales organizations. The Guide needs to be minimally prescriptive in order to be applicable to a wide variety of possibilities. 

10:45 pm February 28, 2023

I don't think that the phrasing is ambiguous. Typically, or in most cases, a Scrum Team will be no larger than 10 people.

The Scrum Guide doesn't get into hard upper or lower limits, but it's possible to reason through them.

You can think about an upper limit at around the time it becomes difficult to complete the Daily Scrum within its 15-minute timebox. Although the Daily Scrum is for Developers, you can think about how many Developers can successfully review progress and plan their next day in a 15-minute timebox. In my experience, this is somewhere around 8-10. If your Product Owner and Scrum Master are not Developers, then your Scrum Team size would be around 10-12. This is very close to the "typical" maximum size of 10 people, so that checks out based on my experience.

A lot of the Scrum Events, such as the Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, and Sprint Retrospective are about getting the team together to collaborate on something - a plan for the Sprint, a plan for the day, or improvement. When you have a small team, any kind of formality is too much. You want a team that's large enough to need the structures of Scrum. In my experience, if you have fewer than 2 or 3 people, the structures of Scrum add little value.

I would suggest that the optimum Scrum Team size is between 3 and 12. It's quite reasonable, realistic, and unambiguous to say that a typical or most common Scrum Team is 10 or fewer people. It encompasses most of the team sizes where my experience tells me that Scrum would be useful. Of course, in your context, you may be able to find value in Scrum in a 1- or 2-person team. You may also find value in larger teams of more than 10 people. However, you may want to start paying attention to potential problems that arise in teams larger than 10 people, and this is what the Scrum Guide is pointing out.

10:55 am March 6, 2023

The Scrum Guide recommends having three to nine team members in a single team.

08:45 pm March 6, 2023

The Scrum Guide recommends having three to nine team members in a single team.

That is according to the 2017 Scrum Guide version.  The 2020 Scrum Guide version removed that recommendation and replaced it with the '10 or fewer' recommendation.

By posting on our forums you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.

Please note that the first and last name from your member profile will be displayed next to any topic or comment you post on the forums. For privacy concerns, we cannot allow you to post email addresses. All user-submitted content on our Forums may be subject to deletion if it is found to be in violation of our Terms of Use. does not endorse user-submitted content or the content of links to any third-party websites.

Terms of Use may, at its discretion, remove any post that it deems unsuitable for these forums. Unsuitable post content includes, but is not limited to, Professional-level assessment questions and answers, profanity, insults, racism or sexually explicit content. Using our forum as a platform for the marketing and solicitation of products or services is also prohibited. Forum members who post content deemed unsuitable by may have their access revoked at any time, without warning. may, but is not obliged to, monitor submissions.