The Right People in the Right Places

Photo by Neil D Taylor

Photo by Neil D Taylor

Large organizations often have large software development departments, and too often, large software teams. UX people are shared on project teams to keep design consistent across projects, so multiple UX people are needed on a single team to do the actual work.  Many developers are needed to write the code faster because of the size and complexity of the project and/or the skill levels of the developers.  Additional QA are added to do all of the testing.  Team size gets bloated quickly.  Why do we let this happen when wisdom and experience tell us that smaller teams are more effective?

Part of the problem stems from trying to optimize productivity of people rather than throughput of projects.  Build cross-functional teams that are right-sized (i.e. two pizza teams), and let the team members hold each other accountable for contributing.  Cross-functional is more than putting UX, developers, and QA people on the same team: do the team members have the skills needed to develop the product?  Domain knowledge and technical skills need to be reflected on the team, but especially for organizations that are undergoing an agile transformation, someone (or multiple someones) needs to be the agile mentor/evangelist.  A team with strong technical skills will flounder without someone familiar with the domain to help guide them; a team with strong domain knowledge will struggle without the right amount of technical skills.  And teams that are supposed to be adopting agile will encounter issues without someone to keep them from falling back into old habits.

Help your teams help themselves--put the right people in the right places.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.