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Multi products Scrum teams, how do you deal with that?

31 Oct, 2019
NLScrum meetup of Multi products Scrum teams

High interaction during the NLScrum meetup of Multi products Scrum teams

Multi Products Scrum teams are observed often in reality. So,one team serving different stakeholders and customer segments. Since both would like to use the same people to work on their improvements. At the other hand there tend to be more products than teams. While scaling frameworks give solutions for coping with a great Product and orchestrating value delivery among multiple teams. But how to deal with many products and a few Scrum teams? During the NLScrum Meetup Multi Products Scrum teams at ScaleFirstly, we shared views with 60 peers at our Xebia office in Amsterdam. After presenting a brief overview of scaling frameworks: LeSS, Nexus, SAFe, Spotify and Scrum @ Scale.

Discussion subject

Secondly, we discussed the following question: IF you have multiple products per Scrum team, WHAT are the advantages (up) and disadvantages (down) from the perspective of

  • The Organization
  • The Scrum team
  • The Customer

Here are the main points:

Advantages multiple products per Scrum team for The organization

  • If the team is serving a set of products with a clear audience, consequently there is a clear communication line for the audience.
  • There is a limit in capacity of people and teams. So multiple teams can be a solution. At least most products are clearly addressed.

Disadvantages/concerns multiple products per Scrum team for The organization

  • Coordinating and getting consent on priorities could cost more time and overhead.
  • Lower priority items will never be built or take a long time (but isn\’t this an advantage?).

Advantages multiple products per Scrum team for The Scrum team

  • The team can stay sustainably together, as there is a constant flow of work and learn the domain and take ownership.
  • The team could share knowledge and skills amongst team members. As a result this keeps the work interesting.
  • If the products have a clear commonality / purpose, this could give them focus.

Disadvantages/concerns multiple products per Scrum team for The Scrum team

  • With multiple products, subsequently the team could suffer from context switching.
  • Due to a broader spectrum of products onboarding could take longer to learn each of them.

Advantages multiple products per Scrum team for The Customer

  • The team doesn\’t have to be busy with you as customer, while the knowledge of how it the current is built is trusted and contained within the team. For a request, there is no resource hunt needed first.
  • As the team has a tenure, they will have a better understanding of the context of the Customer, so will be able to deliver faster the right products.

Disadvantages/concerns multiple products per Scrum team for The Customer

  • There will be competition among feature requests of the products, or some expertise could be over demanded. As a result, this invites healthy discussion and making intelligent decisions and negotiation about scope of items.
    [![Together](https://storage.googleapis.com/xebia-blog/1/2019/10/if-multiple-product-scrum-teams-customer-organization-scrum-team-advantages-and-disadvantages-458×224.png)](https://storage.googleapis.com/xebia-blog/1/2019/10/if-multiple-product-scrum-teams-customer-organization-scrum-team-advantages-and-disadvantages.png)
    Together we came to this aggregated view during the Meetup

Multiple products per Scrum team can be also a solution!

We concluded that multiple products per Scrum team are okay. There are advantages too! First, the people and so will the knowledge stay together. Secondly, various knowledge is available and growing for multiple products. Though the Product Owner has a demanding role in balancing prioritizing the most valuable parts to deliver first and finding consent among different customers.

The definition of a product is somewhat arbitrary

After questioning: how many products do you have in your Scrum team? Some mentioned a few and some many. More than five were among half the group! But on what basis did they distinguish multiple products? In the discussion, it became somewhat arbitrary. One extensive application serving various purposes is one or many products? Or the other way around: one purpose served by multiple software applications? We can conclude that it helps when there is commonality and synergy to have the Scrum team serving a clear product set!

How Some teams have really many products ![/caption]

Technical challenges of multiple products and multiple Scrum teams integrating and delivering the products.

If your product is software, various products can have different moments or heartbeats of going live. We share best practices around this challenge under the secret label CICD: Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. So you can deliver multiple products independently and often to keep your feedback cycle as short as possible.

How to gain more insights around many products and agile delivery

  • Learn more about Scaling Frameworks via trainings. You can start with the overview training
  • Learn more about DevOps and CICD to optimize the technical delivery and quality assurance of your products in a complex organization.
  • Find the slidedeck Multiple Products Scrum teams at scale here
  • Feel free to contact us about Multi-product Scrum teams at your organization. Leave your contact details, and we will contact you. We could host a session at your organization. Let’s consult for a few hours to get a clearer view of the challenge.

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