Scrum Agile Project Management

Self-Designing Scrum Teams

In this article, Craig Larman and Ahmad Fahmy discuss how long does it take an organization to reorganize in order to adopt Scrum. This article is based on the transition done at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch Global Securities Operations Technology where the software development teams went from a traditional activity based organisation (business analysts, developers, …) to Scrum.

There were two constraints on design of the teams:
* Teams needed to be co-located.
* Teams needed to be cross-functional and cross-component; they should be able to (or be able to learn to) deliver any item from the product backlog.

The self-designing session was divided in four cycles of 25 minutes, with a five-minute review at the end of each, plus some breaks. Initially, teams tended to be formed on former working habits of working together. During the review, each team’s composition was assessed and gradually the situation changed to teams having a more balanced skills composition. In a final step, each team selected its ScrumMaster. The conclusion of the article is that “it’s worth noting how much can be quickly changed when the organizational will and appropriate hands-on worker and leadership support is in place. And it’s worth noting that, with some facilitation, people are quite capable of deciding among themselves how to organize into teams, without command-and-control management.”

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