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From I to T- Collaboration of Functional roles in Agile teams
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From I to T- Collaboration of Functional roles in Agile teams


It is now common to hear about IT organizations kicking off big Agile transformations. While there is a lot of training offered on how to improve the delivery process, culture change and mindset …

It is now common to hear about IT organizations kicking off big Agile transformations. While there is a lot of training offered on how to improve the delivery process, culture change and mindset shifting, people are not prepared on how to shift their roles. In traditional environments, everyone has a clear job description that explains their function and what they should/shouldn’t do. In a functional role, it is clear from whom to receive the work and where to send it after a certain expertise/skill is applied. In Agile, all these roles change to “Agile Team member”. What does a Team member do? What is the job description for this role? How can someone use the previous skills and expertise under this new role? What University Degree do I need to be "Product Owner", one of the "3 Amigos", "On-Site Customer"? And why does everyone talk about collaboration?

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  • 5 minutes intro to roles as defined by Scrum framework, touching how these roles are on other practices like XP, Kanban, etc
  • 5 minutes explaining the concept of the Team as all these roles working together and not as entities with a defined job description. In Agile, there are no functional roles, but more of a partnership of people with different skills and one goal. There is no University Degree for any of the roles in Agile. People come from different backgrounds and have different career paths. A Business Analyst can become a UI designer or Product Owner. A Project Manager can become a Scrum Master. A Tester can become Business Analyst and a developer can become an automation tester. A team uses the strength of individuals and provides room for them to grow expertise and experience.
  • 5 minutes explaining the shift from I shaped specialists to T shaped ones. The goal is to point out that at the beginning, people will start with their Functional role, as specialists with very deep knowledge on one area (I shaped) but working together in a collaborative way, they will learn new skills and will move across to other skills becoming a T-shaped generalized specialist.
  • When moving to an agile team, you are given the possibility to expand your knowledge, to learn more and to grow professionally
  • It’s a process, but if you are looking for one thing to do, switch your thinking from a functional role to Partnership
  • 20 minutes play "Build your own Scrum" team/process
  • 10 minutes Questions (probably combined naturally with the discussions)


  • 1. From I to T Collaboration of the Functional Roles in Agile teams Ardita Karaj Agile and Beyond 2014 Hello #AAB2014 From @Ardita_k
  • 2. This presentation brought to you by the letters I and T And by Me! More about me later
  • 3. Roles in Agile Teams Scrum Roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master, The Team XP Roles: On-Site Customer, The Whole Team, Coach, Tracker Other Agile job descriptions: Knowledge Worker, 3 Amigos, Generalizing specialist, Product Champion, Squad, Tribe, Guild, Servant Leader, Pizza Team
  • 4. Prefer better to bigger James Shore Teams can be as small as two and as big as you need to accomplish a common Goal
  • 5. Agile Teams Are Self Organized An Agile team uses the strength of individuals and provides room for them to grow expertise and experience
  • 6. The strength of an individual Deep Knowledge and understanding of one or two specific areas, systems, disciplines and/or cultures I
  • 7. Why I Pro  Researchers / Specialists  Evangelists  Teachers Con  Create delays/dependencies  Knowledge bottlenecks  Hide messy solutions and code Image by Erik Johansson
  • 8. Grow on expertise and experience Broad knowledge on multiple areas, systems, disciplines, cultures and connections between them but without any depth on any “Hyphen”
  • 9. Why Hyphen Pro  Large Program Managers  Networkers  Generalists  Learners Con  No expertise on any area  Hard to find pure hyphen types
  • 10. What is a T shaped person? Really awesome at one or two areas, fairly good on some other areas. Breadth of understanding the connection between different areas, systems and disciplines Broad Depth of understanding and experience on one or more areas, systems and disciplines Deep T
  • 11. Why         T Generalizing specialists Apply knowledge across situations Influencers Experience + Creativity Share Knowledge, Tools and Code Connectors Explorers Bottleneck removers
  • 12. Where to Mastery Basics Heuristics begin
  • 13. What helps to create T Team Collaboration Self-organized teams Osmotic communication Pairing MobProgramming Code reviews Team ownership of code Tight WIP limits Try something new Remain curious Ask for help Mentoring Pave the cow paths
  • 14. Passport to learn! By working on an Agile team, you have the opportunity to grow, learn, become T shaped
  • 15. Is there one switch to switch From Functional roles To Partnership relationship Be proud of your specialty and understand/respect the strength of the others on your team
  • 16. Me 4 Years Ago Me Now UX Design Release management Software Development Business Analysis Team Leadership Agile Project Management Process and Agile methodologies Coaching / Training Change management Me Speaker Guitar
  • 17. Goal of the bridge: Enable cars to move from one side of the bridge to the other How? By having just enough T shaped sections Goal of Agile teams: Deliver changes fast to customer for feedback How? By having just enough T shaped people
  • 18. Exercise 1 You are given a Goal. Create an Online Catalogue for a Pet store You have a pool of I shaped people with different skills. Build your Team and Process!
  • 19. Changes in people allocation Exercise 2 • 25% Richard: Marketing • 25% Ben: Customer Care • 50% Kat: Project Management • 25% Vlad: DB Admin • 25% Phil: IT/Infra • 50% Martin: Release Engineering  Debbie (Ops) collaborate with Steve (tech writer) and Kat (PM)  Lorna (BA), Kat (PM) and Lee (Tester) shared tasks  Lee (Tester) collaborate with Lorna (BA) and Debbie(Ops)  James(Java) pair up with Phil (IT) and Jonathan(PHP)  Vince(QA) and James(Java) pair programming and code reviews with Jonathan(PHP)  Jason(Bus), Matt(UI) and Steve(writer) sitting close to Richard (Marketing) and Ben (Customer care)  Jonathan(PHP) pair up and sitting close with Vlad(DBA) and Martin(Rel.Eng)
  • 20. Discuss How was your team and process with I shaped people? What changed from the T shaped people?
  • 21. ? Questions
  • 22. Build your T Share it with me Email : Twitter : @Ardita_K Stay hungry, Stay foolish ~ Steve Jobs