Having a Ball – Variant 9 : Shared Resources

V9 – Shared Resources

Introduce this variant if sharing of resources is common between teams. Do this after your teams have started stabilizing their velocity so the impact is noticeable.

The first variation can be used if your organization tends to share subject matter experts. To introduce this variant, state the following at the end of an iteration. “Bob is a rare resource, so we have to share his expertise. Bob will serve on two (or more) different teams, dividing his time equally between them.”

The second variation of this theme can also be accomplished by having a single Product Owner serve two (or more) teams. The Product Owner will be running themselves ragged trying to keep balls in motion for both teams. If you really want to hammer the point home, make them do it for three teams.

A third variation can be introduced if one team is doing much better than another. Announce, “I can’t help but notice this team is doing so much better than that other one. Management is here to help. We think that the better team can help the other team to improve by sharing some of their key people. You and you will need to take part on both teams.”

For all of these variations, it is vital that you impress upon the shared people that they need to touch every ball on both teams.

Origin: How many times have you been asked to participate in more than one team/project/effort in your organization? Wearing multiple hats is a time-honored and destructive project management practice. And the reasoning is always the same, “it’s efficient”, “we have no choice”. Watch the velocities of both teams drop when you implement this change. I like doing this variant with 2 shared resources to give the teams a chance to recognize that instead of two 50/50’s, they could each get one 100%

Reality Check: The conventional wisdom is that you lose 20% of a person’s focus for every team you add them to. Thus in a 50/50 split between two teams, each person can only give 40% of their attention to each team. The remaining 20% is lost to task switching. If they are on 3 teams, 40% of their time is lost to task switching, leaving 20% for each of the teams. That’s a pretty rapid fall-off, and it’s simulated here by everyone needing to pause as the shared resources turn and re-focus on the balls that may or may not be flying at them from various points.

Author: Michael Marchi

Michael Marchi CSM, CSPO, SA4 Co-Founder and Board Member @ APLN Chicago (michael.marchi@aplnchicago.org) Manager, Management Consulting / Chicago Agile Practice Lead / Agile Coach & Trainer @ Strive Consulting (mmarchi@striveconsulting.com)

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