The team lead is responsible for stewarding the team, creating a trustful environment, facilitating team meetings, asking the difficult questions, removing impediments, making issues and problems visible, keeping the process moving forward, and socializing agile/lean within the greater organization.
A Note About Roles
Many organizations call the facilitation aspects of the team lead role the “scrum master.”
As stated in People first: Roles in DAD,
- On a DAD team, any given person will be in one or more roles, an individual can change their role(s) over time, and any given role will have zero or more people performing it at any given time.
- Roles are not positions, nor are they meant to be. For example, there may be many stakeholders of your project and none of them is likely to have a position of “stakeholder.”
- Agile de-emphasizes specialized roles and considers all team members equal – everyone pitches in to deliver a working solution regardless of their job description.
For information, see People first: Roles in DAD
The team lead focuses on the team: its health, its meetings, asking questions to help them jmprove, impediments, reporting, and so on. The team lead can also work with the product owner.
The team lead role is responsible for the following:
- Ensuring the process is understood and followed
- Facilitating the team’s efficiency and health
- Facilitating the daily coordination meeting and guided continuous improvement
- Helping to remove impediments and keeps the product and the process moving forward
- Providing visibility of process and work-in-process
- Facilitating iteration reviews and planning meetings
- Serving as the primary source for proactively radiating project information. In practice, the team lead is usually the role responsible for maintaining the team’s project board, ensuring it is up to date before the daily coordination meeting
- If the team uses a project management portal, the team lead is usually responsible for maintaining it, implementing security and accounts, and creating reports
- Helping the product owner develop the product backlog
- As appropriate, facilitating knowledge sharing and lessons learned across the organization
These responsibilities go beyond what is commonly understood in scrum as the scrum master role.
Preparing to facilitate the iteration planning meeting. With all appropriate stakeholders, address the following:
Facilitating iteration planning.
Supporting the team’s ability to commit by communicating team capacity.
Negotiating commitment between the product owner and the team.
Helping the team create information visibility boards.
Establish the progress charts: Product burn-up charts and iteration burn-up and burn-down charts.
Agreeing on daily coordination meeting location and times.
Setting up work areas.
Helping the team develop communication rules.
Updating spreadsheets and database information.
Reflecting on how the iteration is going, looking for tasks taking too long.
Facilitating daily coordination. Ensure that people clearly address the team and stay focused.
Radiating information to show progress clearly and predictably.
Updating visibility tools with the latest task and story progress.
Posting updated charts before the daily coordination meeting, current as of yesterday.
Identifying and displaying all impediments and issues that affect team velocity and iteration successes.
Clearly showing activity and progress toward resolving impediments.
Engaging team members to identify impediments, build rapport, and improve team cohesion.
Shielding the team from external interruptions and distractions.
Facilitating team meetings and process improvement workshops.
Monitoring team cohesion and sustainability.
Upholding the agile process and challenging the team to identify and implement process improvements.
Socializing agile within the organization.
Helping to demonstrate product increment to the product manager and other appropriate stakeholders.
Facilitating the team in reviewing the process of the iteration. Placing improvement stories into the product backlog.
Sharing the findings from the iteration retrospection, including the process improvement stories, with other team leads in the organization so that the knowledge can be applied more widely and refined as more is learned.
Practices for the Team Lead
- Coaching inception
- Components of a good team board
- Controlling work-in-process (WIP)
- Daily coordination
- Decomposing a feature into a user story
- Definition of ready
- Facilitating remote teams
- Handling external interruptions
- Iteration demonstration and review (Facilitate)
- Iteration demonstration and review (Plan)
- Iteration planning meeting (Facilitation)
- Iteration retrospective (Facilitate)
- Operational metrics
- Scrum of scrums
- Unfinished work
- Visual controls