Agile Team Role Capabilities


In the last post, I went over the three main agile team roles;  cross-functional team members, product owner, and team facilitator.    These are mentioned in Chapter 4 on Implementing Agile, as part of the The Agile Practice Guide put out by the Agile Alliance.

In this post I am listing what the capabilities are of the people who should fulfill these roles.

  1.  Cross-functional team members–they should have the professional experience to deliver potentially releasable product on a regular basis.  On a software development project, for example, there should be designers, developers, and testers.   They should have a focus specialty plus a breadth of experience across multiple skills.   This is why the Agile Practice Guide consists “generalizing specialists” to be best suited to this role as a team member.
  2. Product owner–this person should have business background so that they can focus on prioritizing the work according to how much business value it brings to the customer.   The result is the product backlog, which the product owner manages to help the teams deliver that business value.
  3. Team facilitator–rather than focusing on the features of the product (the results), the team facilitator focuses on the process itself, and helps serve the team by facilitating, coaching, and removing impediments.   To do the latter, they need to have strong relationships in their organization.

The product owner and team facilitator have complementary roles that face the team and the customer, respectively.

The phrase “generalizing specialists” may seem to be a contradiction in terms, but it is explained more fully in a sidebar on p. 42 in the discussion of “I-shaped” versus “T-shaped” people.  That is the subject of the next post.

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