Agile Teams: Structures and Roles That Work

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Agile project management is a method of managing work that produces incremental, iterative benefits.
It’s not like predictive project management, where you know what you’re building and plan how to get there. Agile methods allow you to adapt as you go.
You don’t always know where you’re going. Agile methods such as Scrumban, Scrumban, Kanban are great for delivering projects that are high in uncertainty or where the product specification is still being developed.
Agile methods require agile teams — teams that think differently, work in ways that support responsive delivery, and that are flexible. Agile teams can succeed with an agile mindset and a shared set of values, principles and, often, Agile tools.
Why are they different? This article will discuss the components of an Agile team, the roles within it, and the team structures that can be set up to make your agile team successful.

What is an Agile Team?
Roles for Agile Teams
Agile Team Structures
1. Generalist Agile Team
2. Specialized Agile Team
3. Transitioning Agile Team
4. Parallel Agile Team
5. Agile Product Sub-Team
Agile Project Management Challenge #1: It doesn’t feel right
Agile Project Management Challenge #2: Team size
Your Agile Team Structure

What is an Agile Team?
An Agile team is a cross-functional group that can deliver the product or the next iteration without the need to draw on other skills.
It is almost easier to see Agile teams through the lens of what they aren’t. Agile teams are not just a team of people from different areas.
Agile teams don’t just include developers. They don’t work in a matrix environment.
Agile teams are committed groups of people who, if they want to do their best work, don’t move around between products or teams just for a demand in another area of the business. They become close-knit and trusted colleagues, creating a work rhythm for delivery.
They are a “whole group”. They don’t need to rely on anyone or anything else to get the job done. This is especially important when it comes time to make decisions. The team includes the people who make the decisions. Agile is the future of projects.
The State of Agile 2021 Report shows that 66% of agile teams use Scrum. However, Scrum is not the only option. We’ll see how agile teams can be set-up in many ways and use a variety of methods.
Roles for Agile Teams
It is important to have the right roles within an Agile development team. These are the most common roles in an Agile team:
Assisting the team leader. This role will also be used if you use Scrum Agile. Facilitating the team is the purpose of this role.
The Scrum Master (or team leader) is responsible to find resources and protect team members from office politics, allowing them the freedom to do great work. The Agile Alliance describes the role as follows:
“The scrum master is the team member responsible for ensuring that the team adheres to agile values and principles.
The scrum master is the team member responsible for ensuring that the team lives agile principles and practices and follows the processes and procedures agreed upon by the team.
Product owner. This role is most closely related to that of a project sponsor for a non-Agile project. They represent the interests of the client/stakeholder and are literally the owner of the product the agile team is creating or changing.
Assisting team member. This role is usually a member of a software or programming team.

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