Presenter: Eric Jimmink

Objective(s) of the session:

Participants will learn that being most effective and productive as a team requires a good picture of the weak spots or missing skills you have as a group, as well the ability to present and advocate your case towards management


Agile (Scrum) theory tells us that a typical agile team is cross functional in nature, and consists of about 5 to 9 generalizing specialists. When forming the team, one takes care that the team possesses all the skills that are required to get the job done. Agile practice tells us that teams are often slightly smaller, 3 to 7 people, and that very few team members are generalist enough to fulfil different roles on the team. That means that it is quite likely that at least one discipline on a team is understaffed. This can seriously limit the team’s velocity.

To an organization, multiple approaches are possible. One might invest heavily in job rotation and training, to make team members more generalists. It is known to be highly inefficient if an individual is forced to divide his or her attention over more than one team, but it is nonetheless an option, one that is frequently chosen if multiple teams are shorthanded in the same discipline.

In short, there are no easy answers. The audience is invited to help come up with some alternatives. And to figure out how to present the issue. For sometimes a necessary first step is to convince management that there really is a problem.

Format and length: 60 mins workshop

Intended audience and prerequisites:

the issue should appeal to team members, scrum masters, and management alike. People with some hands-on experience being on or leading cross-functional team will be able to contribute the most.