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Topics: Agile, Scrum, Strategy
What size Agile team has worked best for you?
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There are numerous guides for sizing Agile teams. Some say it should be 3-9 team members, others say 7 +/- 2. What is the ideal Agile team size in your experience?
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My team now is 6, including myself, with 3 being remote. I understand it may increase over the course of the year though. Previously, I was part of a larger team of around 15. Much of what will work is dependent on the environment and functional complexity and size. When we had the larger team, it was with a very complex system, where each team was based on system functions. There were many moving parts and several programming languages, hence the increase in members. It worked very well, impressively well actually. All team members were co-located.

In short, it depends :)
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jan 20, 2018 8:37 AM
Sante Vergini
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Great, thanks Andrew. Team size could be a theory unto itself.
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Jan 20, 2018 7:23 AM
Replying to Andrew Craig
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My team now is 6, including myself, with 3 being remote. I understand it may increase over the course of the year though. Previously, I was part of a larger team of around 15. Much of what will work is dependent on the environment and functional complexity and size. When we had the larger team, it was with a very complex system, where each team was based on system functions. There were many moving parts and several programming languages, hence the increase in members. It worked very well, impressively well actually. All team members were co-located.

In short, it depends :)
Great, thanks Andrew. Team size could be a theory unto itself.
Network:1108



Sante -

if you are talking about an individual agile team or pod - I would usually go with the old 7 +/- 2 in general to avoid being impacted by the n*(n-1)/2 non-linear communication channels issue. Exceptions can happen depending on the scale of the project scope and the experience and maturity of the team itself. For example, I'd give the 80s show A-Team any project to do and they were just 4 people :-) !

However, if you are talking about the size of an overall team to deliver a product or project, it could be much larger, but you'd divide the project along logical lines (e.g. feature, component, value stream) and have individual agile teams working on each with coordination occurring between them implicitly or explicitly.

Kiron
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jan 20, 2018 6:29 PM
Sante Vergini
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Interesting. Many people like the number 7, for several reasons. I would say 6, but the right choice can be subjective and is certainly project-specific.
Network:14424



Jan 20, 2018 9:03 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Sante -

if you are talking about an individual agile team or pod - I would usually go with the old 7 +/- 2 in general to avoid being impacted by the n*(n-1)/2 non-linear communication channels issue. Exceptions can happen depending on the scale of the project scope and the experience and maturity of the team itself. For example, I'd give the 80s show A-Team any project to do and they were just 4 people :-) !

However, if you are talking about the size of an overall team to deliver a product or project, it could be much larger, but you'd divide the project along logical lines (e.g. feature, component, value stream) and have individual agile teams working on each with coordination occurring between them implicitly or explicitly.

Kiron
Interesting. Many people like the number 7, for several reasons. I would say 6, but the right choice can be subjective and is certainly project-specific.
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Although it depends on type and complexity of project, I have had 5-6 members on my team and it is because I have experienced that smaller teams have better communication, all members are better acquainted with each other and are more focused on project goals.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jan 21, 2018 2:34 AM
Sante Vergini
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Certainly smaller teams makes communication less complex, and 6 seems like a good number. Thanks Najam.
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I agree that 5-6 seems to be the best number to create high output without causing confusion within your team. I also noticed it's much easier to gain alignment with organizational / project goals which should be a top priority for any project manager / scrum master to enforce.

Lastly, while the team may be small, you still get a great mix of experience and perspectives if you've done your staffing properly.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jan 21, 2018 2:48 AM
Sante Vergini
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Agreed. Team mix and cross-functionality is more important than team size,
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Jan 20, 2018 9:05 PM
Replying to Najam Mumtaz
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Although it depends on type and complexity of project, I have had 5-6 members on my team and it is because I have experienced that smaller teams have better communication, all members are better acquainted with each other and are more focused on project goals.
Certainly smaller teams makes communication less complex, and 6 seems like a good number. Thanks Najam.
Network:14424



Jan 20, 2018 9:19 PM
Replying to Giuliano Caracciolo
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I agree that 5-6 seems to be the best number to create high output without causing confusion within your team. I also noticed it's much easier to gain alignment with organizational / project goals which should be a top priority for any project manager / scrum master to enforce.

Lastly, while the team may be small, you still get a great mix of experience and perspectives if you've done your staffing properly.
Agreed. Team mix and cross-functionality is more important than team size,
Network:600



5 +/-2 being a magic number for me in seven year expouser !

However when it came to product portfolio's or product lines ownership (in industry vertical) - i had 5-6 such parallel groups to satisfy sub domains.
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I would agree with Najam. Team sizes of 5 or less, there is less complexity in communication. It really depends on the experience of the team and how well they work together. Have they worked together before on other successful projects? Do they know how to best communicate and interact with one another?
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