Team structures and division – Teams in scaled environment, part 1

Multifunctional stable teams

The size of self-organized teams is limited, experience shows that they work up to a size of about 10 people, above that subgroups form, daily communication suffers. This limit is set by the number of people we can have in view at the same time and is backed up by many years of experience.

Teams replace the functional silos of a traditional organization in an agile environment. They build, test and deliver in short intervals and thus enable transparent project progress.

feature teams

The usually better structuring of teams is into feature teams within a release train. It makes it easier for teams to deliver in short cycles. If this is not possible at all, the teams should be structured thematically, e.g. on products, interfaces or subsystems.

The Agile Release Train as a team of teams

SAFe leverages insights about effective teams and is effectively constructed as a structure of “teams of teams”. SAFe is built on multifunctional stable teams that have the decision-making power to organize their own work and that collaborate in one place whenever possible. They include developers, testers and all other required roles and they use proven agile methods especially Scrum and the agile software development methods from Extreme Programming.

The release train follows similar structures as the individual team. It is also self-organised – because of the larger number of people involved, new structures must necessarily be introduced. This includes structures to limit the communication effort – in particular, meetings are held with all stakeholders at longer intervals and new roles are introduced for coordination.