Disciplined Agile

Form Team

This Inception process goal describes how we will build our initial team. Although we expect the team to evolve over time, right now we need to get it started and we will work with our People Management (Human Resources) team to do so. To do this we need to consider team structure, membership, and organizational concerns. We do this for two reasons. First, we need people to get started. Although we expect the team to evolve over time, right now we need at least enough people to do the work involved with Inception. Second, we make key decisions early on. Early in an initiative we make important decisions around scope, development strategy, and schedule among others. These are decisions that the team should make as they will be responsible for executing on them.

To form the team we need to consider several important questions:

  • Where will team members come from?
  • How do we intend to evolve the team over time?
  • How large should the team be?
  • How will sub-teams be organized (if we need them)?
  • What type of team members do we need?
  • How complete will the team be?
  • How long will the team exist?
  • Where will team members be located?
  • What organization(s) do the team members work for?
  • What range of time zones are team members found in?
  • How will we support the team?
  • How available will team members be?
Copyright Project Management Institute All Rights Reserved Form Team v5.5 Source of Team Members Existing product team Existing team from another product Borrow team member New team Team Evolution Strategy Team evolves itself Team lead makes changes Management makes changes Size of Team Small team (2 to 15 people) Medium team (10 to 30 people) Medium team of teams (10 to 50 people) Large team of teams (30+ people) Structure of Team Component team Feature team Focused solution team (FST) Innersource Program team Service team Single team Member Skills Generalizing specialists Specialists Generalists Team Completeness Whole (cross-functional) team Core team Specialized team Ad hoc Team Longevity Stable (long-lived) team Project team Ad hoc Geographic Distribution Colocated Partially dispersed members Distributed subteams - Whole Distributed subteams - By function Fully dispersed members Organization Distribution Single-division full time employees (FTEs) Multiple-division FTEs Consultants Contractors Outsourcers Time Zone Distribution Same time zone Multiple time zones - 5 or more hours overlap Multiple time zones - Less than 5 hours overlap Multiple time zones - No overlap Support the Team Coaching Mentoring Stakeholder access Training Availability of Team Members Dedicated Borrowed team member Ongoing part-time As needed/available

Figure 1. The Form Team process goal diagram (click to enlarge).

You can use the DA Browser to learn more about the options in the goal diagram of Figure 1.

Why This is Important

There are several reasons why this process goal is important:

  1. There is a lot to consider when you’re building an awesome team. Awesome teams are comprised of the right mix of people, with the requisite skills, with an open and safe culture, collaborating and learning together, and enabled to do so by the organizational ecosystem in which they work. 
  2. We need time to build an awesome team. We need to get started as soon as we can so that we can start inviting the right people to join the team as they become available. The mix of skills and collaborative style will evolve as we do so, and people will come in and out of the team as it evolves to meet the context of the situation that it faces.
  3. The people on the team, and the way we work together, will be the primary determinant of success. The first value of the Agile Manifesto says it bestindividuals and interactions over processes and tools.

Key Points

  • You will need to decide whether your new initiative can be given to an existing team, or to evolve an existing team or create a new one.
  • You will need to appropriately size the teams and decide what type of work they are best suited for. 
  • How whole are your teams and what is the strategy for accessing skills or responsibilities not held within the team?
  • You should strive for dedicated team members and if not, then understand the cost of this decision.
  • Your teaming strategies will vary based upon your enterprise realities such as outsourcing, distribution, and time zones.
  • You should consider strategies for adequate training, mentoring, coaching, and obtaining access to stakeholders.
  • Who is responsible for evolving the team, and how will they do so?