Change. Chapter 7. Defining the scope for change: Building Real Teams

What not to do

Start with the leadership team

Including others

Target size for the real team

The process of descaling

The REAL team

  • Teams should not be larger than 150 and preferably a maximum of 80.
  • The team has a common purpose and business outcome.
  • A team has one and only one Product Backlog and one Entrepreneurial Product Owner.
  • A team always speaks directly to the stakeholders/customers.
  • They rely on each other to succeed.
  • They work on items together, rather than each person having an item each.
  • They are able to collaborate, sense, sense-make, and innovate together.
  • They iteratively deliver value to, and receive feedback from customers, so that they are able to take feedback into consideration when prioritising the next iteration’s work.
  • They have the necessary skills and tools mastery to do their job.
  • They have little or no dependency on other teams. Teams should contain everyone that is required to deliver the product or service. This includes marketing, sales, legal, compliance, and finance.
  • The whole team meets together at least once a month for a retrospective.
An agile REAL Team
An idealised model of a Real Team

Benefits of the Real Team

  • it eliminates handoff delay and removes queues,
  • everyone who is needed to provide the solution to stakeholders is right there,
  • everyone works on the highest priority items,
  • there is no need to wait for any external teams for dependent work. This team works with stakeholders directly as is able to make the decisions needed to change direction,
  • creates systemic optimisation for flow and ownership
  • raises the quality of the product
  • provides sustainable deliver

Considerations before you begin

Don’t shape the teams around the work

Teams should be long-lived but not forever

Volunteers create more ownership than those who are drafted

Steps to create Real Teams from silos

Make sure you try to follow the Playbook: Starting with the business problems and outcomes

The value stream experiment

Before the change
After the change
Steps to build cross-functional Real teams
Factors affecting team building

The systemic coaching experiment

An example of this approach from a real case study

Your organisation may be destined not to adapt! A hard reality to face.

True story — Lessons from when it goes wrong

  • Would the customers want it?
  • Was it even legal to move customer data from one place to another?
  • Could we physically get the data we needed through the various security systems and firewalls?

Summary of the chapter

Remove silo teams and replace with a REAL Team




CEO and Founder of the community of practice, training, and coaching company: Adventures with Agile.

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Simon Powers

Simon Powers

CEO and Founder of the community of practice, training, and coaching company: Adventures with Agile.

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