Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tuckman savings via feature teams

On the past 7 months I have been working with a SW delivery team on a way that is conceptually different than many of the teams I have worked before.

The main difference:
Instead of forming a team to deliver a feature, a performing team works on a feature after another.
Let’s take a look at options A and B below regarding team, project, and feature:

Option A: Shape a team according to the feature characteristics and the project time.

Option B: Shape the feature according to the (performing) team characteristics and the project time.

The team formation is the main difference between options A and B. A is the typical project team formation, where a team is selected for a target feature. B is the feature team, where the feature is selected for a target team.

Mind twisting, isn’t it?
A team selected for a target feature
A feature selected for a target team

it seems similar, but it is drastically different.

Here is why:

The Tuckman model for group development (Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing) depicts stages for a team developing their work relationship.

My original hypothesis (from 7monhts ago) is my realization today:

I have been saving project time and money by keeping a fixed team and selecting features for the team.

Thanks Tuckman for helping me understand the savings! The forming and storming phases are not consuming much time (and money) anymore. In fact these savings goes towards delivering more features. The team is already on a performing stage, and our track record is showing reductions on features lead time and cycle time


HalogenGuides said...

Slap chop!

Dmytro Lapshyn said...

Thanks a lot for the post and for bringing up the team formation dynamics!

Still, I'd like to understand your idea better, as I don't really think anyone in their right mind would be assembling and disbanding teams for each feature. In my book (and I by no means claim it's the right one) a team gets assembled _per project_, and this team eventually works on _all_ features from the product backlog. I hardly imagine a team cherry-picking features they'd like to implement - as, in that case, who would work in the rest?

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