My colleague Josh Anderson and I were chatting on the Meta-Cast the other day about agile team sizes. While there are no prescriptive limits or guidelines to agile team size, there are general guidelines.
From Scrum, the size has always been recommended to b 7 +/- 2 (or 3..9 in the latest Scrum Guide) as the preferred size for teams. But as in all things agile, direct experience is always valuable. So what was ours?
The answer seems to be somewhere around 10+ people.
Josh and I talked about 13 being a magic number at Teradata. That aligns with my experience too.
Josh had team ~ 13 team members. One of the primary reasons he shared for that was cross-team dependencies.
Josh didn’t really have a lot of experience with extremely small teams. I have had some. I’ve encountered teams of 3-4 and always found them to be somewhat unbalanced from a pure mass perspective. There usually aren’t enough team members to effectively pair, collaborate, or review each other’s work.
2-3-4 seems odd to me. I think 4 is the smallest “team” that works in my experience. And I’m not including the PO and SM in this…
Josh feels ~7 people, I feel ~6 people are the right size for an agile team. I think we both base this on direct experience, where teams of this size simply seem to work best together.
I always get asked; does this include the Product Owner and ScrumMaster? At least in my case, the answer is no. These are the equivalent numbers for what the Scrum Guide refers to at the “development team”.