Posted in My Scrum Notes, Scrum Roles

Considerations for a New Team

Scrum Roles

  • MUST – One Product Owner
  • MUST – One Scrum Master
  • MUST – Developers

Scrum Team Size and Structure

  • MUST – No sub-teams
  • MUST – No hierarchies
  • SUGGESTED – ‘Typically fewer than 10 people’ (3)
  • Are the team members remote or co-located?
  • Are all the team members committed to the team?
  • Are there any unspoken hierarchies, e.g. an assumed leader?


  • MUST – The team has all the skills necessary to create value each Sprint (3)
  • Are the skills siloed into specialisms, or are the team members multi-skilled (or T-shaped)?

Evaluating Group’s Skill Bases (2, page 162)

Four types of knowledge
  • Individual expertise: gained through training, education, and experience
  • Relational knowledge: An understanding of how to work together to integrate individual knowledge to achieve specified goals
  • Embedded knowledge: The core technologies on which your group’s performance depends, such as customer databases or R&D technologies
  • Metaknowledge: The awareness of where to go to get critical information


  • Do they decide what is developed?
  • Do they decide who does the development?
  • Do they decide how to build an increment?
  • What are they responsible for in terms of product development?
  • Are they held accountable for creating an increment?

Team Working Agreements


  • How do they like to communicate day to day?
  • Do they have any information radiators to aid their communication?
  • What are the understood response times for communications internally and externally?

Team Culture

  • Do they socialise away from work?
  • What is the energy of the team?
  • Is there overtime? Is it acceptable/ expected?

Evaluating Individuals (2, page 171)

Consider these six criteria

  • Competence: Does this person have the techincal competence and experience to do the job effectively?
  • Judgment: Does this person exercise good judgment, especially under pressure or when faced with making sacrifices for the greater good?
  • Energy: Does this team member bring the right kind of energy to the job, or is she burned out or disengaged?
  • Focus: Is this person capable of setting priorities and sticking to them, or prone to riding off in all directions?
  • Relationships: Does this individual get along with others on the team and support collective decision making, or is he difficult to work with?
  • Trust: Can you trust this person to keep her word and follow through on commitments?

Team Smells

Problematic behaviour patterns (2, page 120)

Lack of…Symptoms
FocusThe group can’t clearly define its priorities, or has too many.
Resources are spread too thin, leading to frequent crises and firefighting.
People are rewarded for their ability to put out fires, not for devising enduring solutions.
DisciplinePeople exhibit great variation in their levels of performance.
Employees don’t understand the negative consequences of inconsistency.
People make excuses when they fail to make commitments.
InnovationThe group uses internal benchmarks to measure performance.
Improvements in products and processes unfold slowly and incrementally.
Employees are rewarded for maintaining stable performance, not for pushing the envelope.
TeamworkTeam members compete with one another and protect turf rather than work together to achieve collective goals.
People are rewarded for creating fiefdoms.
Sense of urgencyTeams members ignore the needs of external and internal customers.
Complacency reigns, revealed in beliefs such as ‘We’re the best and always have been’ and ‘It doesn’t matter if we respond immediately’


  1. Henrik Kniberg’s checklist
  2. The First 90 days by Michael D. Watkins
  3. The Scrum Guide

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