Agile Team Organisation: Squads, Chapters, Tribes and Guilds

There is a growing trend around agile company organization reorganization with Agile and Scrum.

Why Reorganise?

Obviously building a product that is flexible, high quality and that can react to market demand quickly is important, but for me having a process and organization that emulates this is as equally as important.

“Don’t just fix the product, fix the process too”

If we look at real life examples of company’s who have failed, who cope with legacy technology, and those who embrace change and innovate — the image speaks volumes:

Roadmap Sabotage

Creating and building products or projects can be a tough thing, and there are usually many different factors (some in your control, some not) that can cause your project to fail and ultimately kill your product roadmap.

Sabotage is a big one. Imagine in Hollywood war movies, where the good guys sabotage the bad guys plans for world domination. There are actually two different types of sabotage, 3rd party (external) and personal (self). The quickest and biggest risk to any project you undertake comes in the form of Negativity

Negative Attitude

The crippling effects of a negative attitude have been known for…

Roadmap Architecture & Structure

As a Product Manager it is important that you have a roadmap in place. Equally important is that you design your roadmap architecture and structure.

This becomes increasingly important as your company, teams and products scale. The larger your company and product grows, the more difficult it can be to align them. It is important to always ensure that your product roadmap is aligned with the business objectives as well as helping to align with your peers and teams (an I don’t just mean product teams).

It is advantageous to get a good framework or structure in place from the…

A Scrum Master is not a Manager

Often organisations new to Scrum and trying to implement it struggle with the Scrum Master role. I mean; its a person who the team does not report too, yet they are responsible for the process and getting things done. Its not just the organisation, people new or transitioning into the role often have these problems too.

A good Scrum Master will not insist that all information goes through them, they are not a conduit or an approver and should not act like a filter or a funnel in an organisation. …

Protect the Team

A very important role of the Scrum Master is to protect the team.

This can come in many forms such as uneducated stakeholders or over eager product owners. I have highlighted two things below which I think are important for the Scrum Master to protect the team from.


Remind yourself why you initially decided to implement Agile or Scrum, most likely it was so you could get better. Scrum is all about getting better iteratively and persuing continuous improvement. …

Estimate Story Points in Ranges

Someone once told me this great analogy for estimating story points.

Image you have a well where you take water, and you need to transport 10 litres of water back to the village. You have a 8 litre bucket and a 13 litre bucket. Which do you use to transport the water?

Missing Stand Up on Sprint Planning Day

We all know everyone doesn’t like meetings.

A good tip to save you some time is to not do the Sprint Planning on the day of Sprint Planning. What you should actually do is spend a few minutes at the end of the Sprint Planning meeting to discuss the first things that will be tackled during the sprint. With this, everyone will leave the meeting with a sense of purpose.

This doesn’t need to to be an actual daily stand up, there should be no impediments or they do not need to go through what happened since the last stand…

When User Stories Get Bigger

We have all been in the situation; you discuss a user story, you have a pretty good understanding of how it needs to be implemented in the system. Then when you start to work on it, you realise more work needs to be done.

Its a common practice, when you originally estimate its at a pretty high level, then when you actually get into the detail and further clarifications are made — scope can often increase.

Mitigating the Risk

A good technique that I have used many times is to create a checklist of areas to consider each time you estimate. This would…

7 Signs that you are failing at Scrum

See below some key indicators that you are not implementing scrum at its highest efficiency:

1 — You Have Abandoned the Sprint Retrospective

Your scrum team are no longer performing the Sprint Retrospective. This means your team are no longer focusing on continuous improvement of have any kind of plan in place to speed up delivery time.

2 — User Stories Aren’t Finished on Time

Preaching Agile

Whenever an agile practitioner is selling reasons to adopt an agile approach; in general or one of the the specific methodologies like Scrum, Kanban or XP, they always focus on the benefits (as they should).

These usually include:

  • Working at a sustainable pace
  • Working in collaborative, self-organising and collaborative teams
  • Working in a culture that accepts change
  • Working in highly motivated teams with high morale

These are all very important things to consider, and when you think about it, these stand out because they actually impact the working lives of people within the organisation. There are the obvious business benefits…

Ashley-Christian Hardy

Product leader. A strong advocate in innovation, experimentation and building great products with the use of qualitative and quantitative research.

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