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What Cross-Functionality really means as a Developer (65)

April 4, 2024

We started this Scrum foundation series explaining we see four underlying concepts of the Scrum framework. In the past series of mails we covered the three pillars of Empiricism, the Scrum Values, and Self-Management.

A self-managing team is taking decisions about who does what, when, and how. This ensures the team can move forward without unnecessary waiting time. If we want to improve on that, and to support the team taking ownership, having the needed skills within the team is another step.


👉 Cross-functional, meaning the team internally has all skills needed to successfully complete their goals.


Growing cross-functionality = growing skills = raising mastery = higher motivation = higher effectivity.


Each team member brings in skills to make the team cross-functional. What are skills expected from the Developers?


Reminder: As Developer you are accountable for creating a usable Increment each Sprint. For this you, together with the other Scrum Team members manage your work: creating a plan, executing the plan, adapting the plan. All in order to build that Increment with the required quality level as defined in the team’s Definition of Done.

What does this mean with regards to skills?


Without even trying to being exhaustive, here are a skills / experiences I would expect the team to use:

  • For sure the skills specific to the type of product you are working on. Building and testing a marketing product requires different skills compared to building and validating an insurance product. You read it correctly, I was talking about both the building and testing skills.
  • Yet the Developers also need other skills in order to collaborate as one: effective communication including active listening, empathy, planning, estimating and forecasting, resolving conflicts, decision making, …

These are just a few examples of skills that are put in action in order to create a usable Increment each Sprint.


☝️ It is not a matter of who in the team has the skills, as long as together the team has the skills needed.


Cross-functional is about having all skills within the team to create value each Sprint.

In order to create a usable Increment each Sprint, the Scrum Team needs specific development and delivery skills.

Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate which skill improvements the team would benefit from to create a usable Done Increment each Sprint.


I hope you find value in these short posts and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.

If you want to take a deeper dive into the core concepts we are covering in this blog series, then surely check out our Professional Scrum MasterY workshop. We have some scheduled in the coming period.

Don't want to miss any of these blog posts? Have the professional Scrum foundations series weekly in your mailbox.

A Cross-Functional Team and the Developers

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