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You Need Feature Teams to Produce Features

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You Need Feature Teams to Produce Features

· Agile Zone ·
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Many organizations create teams by their architectural part: front end, back end, middleware. That may have worked back in the waterfall days. It doesn’t work well when you want to implement by feature. (For better images, see Managing the Stream of Features in an Agile Program.)

Pierce Wetter wrote this great article on LinkedIn, There is no “front end” or “back end.” Notice how he says, referring to the yin/yang picture,

Your product isn’t just the white part or the black part above. It’s the whole circle.

That has implications for how you structure your teams.

If you have front end, back end, or middleware teams, you lose the holistic way of looking at features. You can’t produce features—you produce components, parts of features that work across the architecture. Even if everyone does their job perfectly, they still have to knit those pieces together to create features. Too often, the testers find the problems that prevent features.

Instead, you want a product development team, a feature team. That team has someone from the back end, someone from the front end, someone from middleware, and a tester, at minimum. Your team may have more people, but you need those people to be able to create a feature.

You might call these teams product development teams, because they produce product chunks. You can call them feature teams because they can create features.

Whatever you call them, make sure—regardless of your life cycle—that you have feature teams. You can have feature teams in any approach: serial, iterative, incremental, or agile. What differentiates these teams from functional or component teams is that feature teams can produce features.

Features are what you offer to your customers. Doesn’t it make sense that you have teams that create features?

Download the free agile tools checklist from 321 Gang. This guide will help you choose the right agile tools to position your team for success. 

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