Our Scrum Team Structure
At Fellowship Technologies, we value team work and collaboration. In fact, as part of our Scrum implementation, we tend to focus on creating self-organizing teams that strive for excellence on the first principle of the Agile Manifesto (individuals and interactions over processes and tools). Who better to estimate and organize the work at hand than the people actually doing the work? This creative and cohesive environment is one that we value for each of our teams.
As we grow in experience and education, we adapt and change your environment which in the end makes us all stronger. That is what I love most about our teams, their ability to look back, adapt to the realities seen, and strive to do better today than they did yesterday.
In our Product Development organization, we currently employ three (3) Scrum Teams. While each team should be able to work on any feature that is deemed the highest business priority from our Product Owner, we found it best to segregate their areas of focus on specific features/functionality. We feel this helps minimize context switching and provides ownership over the entire solution.
- Team Prototype: Administrative focus (the features that allow for administration of your processes)
- Team S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ministry focus (the features that allow for ministry and outreach for your congregation)
- Team Vision: Information access focus (the features that allow you to view your data as well as manipulate and report on your data in ad-hoc fashion)
While Scrum focuses on a cross-functional team (meaning that the team should have all resources required to complete their work), we definitely have roles / expertise on the team. This means that those with the expertise must continually cross-train those without so that in the end, we remove potential bottlenecks in the work flow. Everyone on the team should at least be able to make progress on any task. This is very challenging in practice, but in the end, will make our teams more efficient and free them from the “relay-race” attitude of software development. Scrum is about a team moving the ball down the field together.
In an attempt to satisfy all of the roles/skills for a team, our structure currently consists of the following:
1-3 Web Developers
1 UX/UI Developer
1-2 Quality Assurance Specialists
1 Database Developer / DBA
1 Business Analyst
1 Scrum Master
There are times where some of these roles (DBA, Scrum Master, QA) are shared between teams, but we strive to prevent that when we can. In addition, we have created another role called “Technical Lead” that assists our Lead Architect in ensuring the technology and engineering practices are standardized throughout the teams. While Technical Leads are actually performing the Web Developer role on the Scrum Teams, the Lead Architect actually works outside of the Scrum Teams helping the teams expand their technical knowledge and looking ahead of the features to ensure we have sound architectural plans going forward. Working closely with the Lead Architect, is a new role/concept called Dev Ops. In a nutshell, this role focuses on our tooling and configuration management for our applications. They work closely with our Tech Ops team (the team that actually manages the hardware in our data center) to ensure our software runs optimally in our production environment.
Stay tuned for more information as we learn from our past experiences. While this is our current make-up for our teams, it could certainly change should we see room for improvement.
Lance Dacy is the Director of Project Management and acting Scrum Master for Fellowship Technologies. He has been with Fellowship Tech since the beginning (2004) and has held numerous roles ranging from SQL developer , Reporting Manager, Director of Customer Services, and since 2008, his current role in Product Development. After our teams choice to use Scrum as our process management framework, Lance founded and continues to co-lead the DFW Scrum User Group to assist the Dallas area in sharing the collective wisdom of the crowds using or trying to use Scrum.
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