Rare specialists in Scrum


One of the questions that occur again and again in trainings and coachings circels around rare specialists. Perhaps a company has five specialists for a special topic and all in all 80 developers. With Scrum they would end up with roughly ten teams. What should the company do regarding the specialists? Two options come to mind very quickly:

  1. Each specialist could work for two teams.
  2. The specialists could form their own team that acts as a service provider for the other teams.

While both options may work I like to highlight a third option:

Figure out which are the five important teams, put the specialists full-time in these teams and let the other five teams to their own devices. The first reaction often is: „No, no, no. That is a really dumb idea.“ But what would be the consequences? The most important projects/teams would move forward very fast and the less important projects would move forward slowly.

The two options mentioned in the beginning would lead to all teams moving with average speed (if you manage to bring flow to the workload of the specialists).

What would be the more valuable approach for your company?

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