Who decide team size?

Last post 07:21 pm December 31, 2021
by Ian Mitchell
14 replies
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02:32 pm June 28, 2016

Hi All,

I have a concern that who does decide the team size of a Scrum team when we set up a new Scrum team?
I think it would be SM after discussion with PO to understand about complexity of projects, technology...

Thanks.
Vinh

04:29 pm June 28, 2016

Vinh,

The SM can certainly recommend an ideal team size (according to the Scrum Guide, the Development Team should be between 3-9 members). However, the SM does not have any decision-making authority on this.

The team size should be based around skill set, communication, and coordination considerations. Complexity of projects and technology specialization are considerations for identifying a team that is cross-skilled as a team in order to deliver value to the business.

Mature Agile organizations can promote the self-organization of teams along these guidelines. Otherwise, it is my experience that organizations usually decide on team rosters, and their decisions are not always wise or well-informed. That is why it is critical for a SM to communicate clearly the benefits and negatives around team size, skill, and experience.

07:18 am June 29, 2016

A Development Team should have enough people with the right skills, between the limits of 3 and 9 members, to create an increment of release quality as per that team's Definition of Done.

Only the team itself can determine if it has the right membership and appropriate cross-functionality to do so.

01:01 am July 1, 2016

Absolutely to both previous responses! Often management dictates Development Team size, contrary to the ideal of a self-organizing team. In general trust the Development Team; they will know when the team is too large to coordinate efforts effectively or too small to meet the cross functional needs. An organization that truly supports the Agile philosophy will trust and empower the team to do so. And allow them to learn from their mistakes when first embarking on work within the Scrum framework.

06:39 pm August 2, 2016

Hi everybody,
Scrum recommend a team size between 3-9.
What should I do as a SM if I join to a new project and the team is going to be of 13 (without SM, neither PO)?

Should I have 2 teams?

Thank you.

07:45 pm August 2, 2016

> What should I do as a SM if I join to a new project and
> the team is going to be of 13 (without SM, neither PO)?
>
> Should I have 2 teams?

Why is this decision yours? Shouldn't the team be encouraged to self-organize and to determine the optimal arrangement for themselves? Wouldn't it be better for a Scrum Master to coach and facilitate that?

06:26 pm August 15, 2016

Posted By Camilo Acosta on 02 Aug 2016 06:39 PM
Hi everybody,
Scrum recommend a team size between 3-9.
What should I do as a SM if I join to a new project and the team is going to be of 13 (without SM, neither PO)?

Should I have 2 teams?

Thank you.

As others have mentioned, you should facilitate a discussion with the team about team size and ask them what they think would be the best way to organize themselves with the constraint that they need to have a done, potentially-releaseable increment at the end of each Sprint. The existing team might organize into as many as 4 Scrum Teams or as few as 2.

Also, explain the "whys" behind the recommended Development Team size for Scrum to your Scrum Team. Scrum recommends a Development Team size of 3-9 people because a Dev Team of 2 people is typically too small to be cross-functional and to justify the overhead of the events and roles in Scrum. When there are more than 9 people on the Dev Team, communication usually starts to break down because there are too many people to work closely with.

10:16 pm February 23, 2017

For a sprint, when is a team composition decided ?  In the sprint planning meeting, product owner discusses the backlog. But who are the development team members attending that meeting ? Only after you know the backlog can the appropriate skill required for the development team be determined. 

So does that mean all developers available in the department joins it,  and after listening to what needs to be done they determine the individual developers for that sprint goal ? 

or

Randomly 7-9 people join the sprint planning and based on their skill set they decide what is the best product backlog they can cover in the sprint and go ahead.

 

04:44 pm February 24, 2017

> For a sprint, when is a team composition decided ?

 

Based upon your understanding of the Scrum Guide, how useful might it be to have a stable team membership over multiple successive sprints?

10:01 am February 28, 2017

Shouldn't the team be encouraged to self-organize and to determine the optimal arrangement for themselves? Wouldn't it be better for a Scrum Master to coach and facilitate that?

Have anyone had a chance to facilitate such a process, where some of the Scrum Team members removed other ones with respect to self-organization? Could you share such an example?

I'm specifically interested in a case where those removed members didn't form another team. To me it is a very delicate matter that might be even considered as an ostracism, hence am curious if anyone went through it successfully (or not).

01:57 pm September 12, 2017

hi,

Have anyone had a chance to facilitate such a process, where some of the Scrum Team members removed other ones with respect to self-organization? Could you share such an example?

yes we had this before. I myself as a scrum master facilitated the discussion in the retrospective. the member in discussion mentioned himself, that he felt he didn't bring enough value to the team and was, with his knowledge and responsibilities, not overlapping enough with the goals of the team. (of course there has been feedback from other team-members before. I might have sparked the discussion by asking a general question about team efficiency). Afterwards I took the decision of the team to our department head and he took it on himself to find a more fitting position for (and with) the member elsewhere + made sure the team could still rely on getting future cooperation with  him if need be (however not highly synchronized as a team-member)

 

I have a question myself:

Our department head needs to allocate resources to different projects. Most of them are organized in scrum teams. If each team decides they need support by a person from our production planning (and synchronization) - but we only have one person available - there is an interest in conflict. Recruiting 3 more production ppl is not be the answer (costs and splitting of responsibility would be counter-productive). Of course the development head feels responsible (and in authority) for this. 

Whose responsibility is it to allocate the scarce resource in this case?

10:20 am September 13, 2017

In Scrum, it ought to be the responsibility of Scrum Teams to self-organize their membership in the optimal way. A Scrum Master may facilitate that process, and explain the available options with their pros and cons, but no-one should organize teams on their behalf.

12:47 pm September 13, 2017

"For a sprint, when is a team composition decided ?"

I guess this question is not yet answered.

Sprint Planning of 1st sprint is attended by SM, PO and DM. Organization will decide who will be SM and PO. But who decides the initial composition of DM? Further analysis of who all will continue in Sprints among them or any new person needed in DM will be done during 1st Sprint planning, but what about initial composition of DM?

As per my understanding of Scrum Guide, the initial composition of DM will be decided by PO post guidance from SM. This is because PO is responsible for maximizing the value of the product.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

02:09 pm December 31, 2021

what is the accountability of product owner in sprint 0? Is PO responsible for composition of scrum team or is it gathering requirements for building product backlog?

 

also is it mandatory that product backlog items should be refined enough to fill first 3 sprints?

07:21 pm December 31, 2021

what is the accountability of product owner in sprint 0?

The purpose of a Sprint -- any Sprint -- is to produce a Done increment. Why would any of the Scrum accountabilities change?

is it mandatory that product backlog items should be refined enough to fill first 3 sprints?

Does the Scrum Guide stipulate that this is a  mandatory practice?