Thursday, August 27, 2009

Does generalized roles mean a team of equals?

A very interesting discussion on LinkedIn got me to thinking...

If a Scrum/XP team adopts pair programming...
and everyone should be able to pick up anything...
and anyone should be able to test or fix the build...

does that mean there is no longer a need for team lead? tech lead?


Interesting discussion.

My thoughts:
...every Agile/Scrum team I've been on has had "leaders" that fill the roles of project or tech lead. In my mind, the advantage of agile is not to normalize the team to a bunch of equals, but to reduce the distance between the outliers. Keeping some diversity in the team is critical to team wisdom (read Wisdom of Crowds).

Feel free to join in the discussion.


  1. On a team where anyone can doing anything with confidence, we still have leaders; however, they are leaders in the truest sense: the followers choose them, rather than authority figures appointing them. Not only that, we don't need a (lone) technical lead. Instead, we have people who lead decision making in each important technical aspect of the project. Replace "technical" with each other adjective that matters on your team and you get the idea.

    I use the term "leader" to refer to a person whose actions influence other peoples' actions. I would prefer not to use that term to refer to a management-appointed potential scapegoat. (I exaggerate for humorous effect, but not by much.)

  2. what Linkedin group is that? When i follow the link it says I'm not a part of that group but doesn't say what group it is :-(

  3. This one is just called "Agile"... I help moderate it.... one of the 7-8 I follow!