Exploring Pros and Cons of Component vs Feature Teams

Exploring Pros and Cons of Component vs Feature Teams

In the dynamic landscape of agile development, Scrum has gained prominence as a popular framework for managing complex problems. While the Scrum Guide offers valuable insights into Scrum principles and practices, it often leaves teams grappling with a crucial question: how should a Scrum Team be structured? Specifically, should it adopt a Component Team or a Feature Team approach?

In this article, we will explore the concept of Component vs Feature Teams in the context of Scrum, shedding light on their distinct characteristics and implications. By understanding the differences between these team structures, organizations can make informed decisions about the most suitable approach for their projects. Join us as we demystify the world of Component vs Feature Teams in Scrum and discover which path leads to greater success.

Component Teams are:

  • Teams are organized for technical layers or technical components.
  • Many teams needed to turn a customer-centric feature on Product Backlog into a releasable Increment
  • Horizontal slicing; work is divided by technical layer or technical components.
  • Teams are only together for the duration of the program-project lifecycle. May be involved in multiple projects.
  • Lots of coordination is needed to integrate a potentially releasable increment.
  • Very difficult to understand where we are. Lack of transparency
  • Requires project management
Component Teams

Feature Teams are:

  • Long-lived, work on many features together over time.
  • Cross-discipline, cross-component. Each feature team has all skills to turn Product Backlog into releasable Increments.
  • Vertical slicing; work is divided by end-user functionality.
  • Work is integrated continuously within each Sprint.
  • Transparency ensured; no unknown, undone work. Potentially releasable increment at least once per sprint
Component vs Feature Teams - Feature

Observing Component Teams: Analyzing Their Impact

Although sometimes necessary make them the exception rather than the rule.

  • Leads towards or reinforces waterfall process and holds back breaking down of organisation silos like Business Change, Architecture, Development, Test, Ops
  • Leads to water-scrum-fall, scrumer-fall. Something that uses the language of Scrum but definitely isn’t Scrum
  • Release of value is delayed, validation delayed
  • Lack of end-to-end accountability for the customer leads to a lack of creativity and self-organisation. Kills intrinsic motivation
  • Increased risk
  • Facilitates big upfront design
  • Delays learning delayed functional and non-functional testing
  • Increased hand-off waste and delays
  • Project task switching impacts work and morale
  • High technical debt
Comparing Waterfall Evolutions

Observing Feature Teams: Analyzing Their Impact

  • Leads to customer and business focused organisations
  • Leads to iterative and increment release of value and validation
  • Maximised value
  • End-to-end accountability
  • Facilitates emergent design
  • Encourages creativity, intrinsic motivation
  • Enables self organisation
  • Shared code ownership promotes good engineering practices clean code, CI, CD, refactoring, automation, and testing. Higher quality = lower cost of ownership
  • Decreased risk. Deal with high-risk items and deploy to production
  • Ensures transparency
  • Flexibility and Stability.
  • Can focus on the flow of value
  • Can learn from each other and cross skill
Comparing Scrum Evolutions

Conclusion: Component vs Feature Teams

In conclusion, while Component Teams offer specialized expertise, they can inadvertently reinforce waterfall processes and hinder organizational collaboration. This can result in delayed value release, lack of end-to-end accountability, reduced creativity, increased risk, upfront design focus, delayed learning and testing, hand-off waste, task-switching impacts, and technical debt. In contrast, adopting vertical slice teams (feature teams) promotes cross-disciplinary collaboration, end-to-end accountability, and a customer-centric approach. By working on complete vertical slices of functionality, feature teams enable faster value delivery, transparency, and flexibility. Emphasizing effective coordination, cross-functional collaboration, and continuous learning, organizations can enhance agility and achieve successful outcomes in their development processes.

If you to know more about Scrum and the Scrum Framework then we cover this and far more in the Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master course.

Thanks for reading and if you want to learn more about Scrum, scrum mastery, and product development, why not check out our courses?

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