Series business value 4: Microservices, agile and team structure

This is the fourth part of the series microservices and business value. It will handle the most important part of your IT projects. The team structure.

Team size

The whole size of a team responsible for one business application like time tracking or invoicing should not exceed 12 people. Up to 8 people are the development team. It is also common that 12 people form sub groups. This group size is backed by current research. To motivate them you should give them these three things:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

Time frame

Most of the people are not able to plan for a long time and a lot of challenges are overlooked when you are not doing single batch production. So you should deliver in a constant time frame to your customers. I would recommend the following time frames for sprints and deployments:

  • Sprint duraction 2 weeks
  • Deployments biweekly

The sprint should be disconnected from the deployments.

Product owner

The product owner is the “single wringable neck” because they are responsible for the domain of the product. They have to be domain experts and should be able to train their developers about the domain.

Business analysts

Business analysts help the product owner to gather requirements. Typical tools that they use are:

  • Wireframes
  • Business processes
  • Test Cases
  • User stories
  • Design Thinking

Development team

The development team is the main value driver for the product because they create the product. A mature development team will work as a single unit. This means that people will take responsible for all the tasks and help each other. Further they will try to find consensus on difficult decisions.

Agile vs Waterfall

You should use an agile methodology if you have a moving target and don’t know yet what your goal is. The current trend is to use methodologies like Scrum or Kanban but like all the time there are advantages and disadvantages. Here is a small table that compares Scrum vs Waterfall.

Waterfall Agile
  • Gives a date when the goal will be achieved
  • Gives a price how expensive the project will be
  • Contains a complete list what will be required to achieve the goal
  • Complex things have to be done only once
  • Has risk management integrated
  • Has well researched methodologies like PRINCE-2 or IPMA
  • Good tool support
  • Makes it possible for the product owner to shift the efforts if they learn
  • Is trendy
  • Makes it possible for the team to apply new knowledge fast
  • Gives the team more power over their work
  • Good tool support
  • Needs a strong and smart project manager
  • Task are typically a lot underestimated
  • Controlling needs a disciplined team
  • Projects are typically too big
  • Needs a strong and smart Scrum Master
  • Complex tasks like deployment or testing have to be done multiple times
  • No predictability of finish dates that are more than a sprint away


A good teamm structure with autonomy will motivate people and make them innovative. They will regulate themself and drive for mastery. If you need help create award winning teams feel free to contact us.

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