The Development Team –DOPAMINE, a Mnemonic

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain‘s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.

The Development Team

I use the mnemonicDOPAMINE to review the prerogatives and responsibilities of the Development Team.

D– Dedicated,

O– Optimal size,

P– Participates in Scrum Events,

A– Accountable for delivering product increment (potentially releasable),

M– Manages Sprint Backlog,

I– Is mutually accountable,

N– No titles other than Developer, No hierarchy, No sub-titles

E– Empowered.

Well, this mnemonic helped me capture the prerogatives of the Development Team. The Development Team is one of the roles that constitute every Scrum Team. They are professionals that do the work! The Development Team’s responsibility is to create the product increment. They have collective responsibility and they decide how to build it!

The two important characteristics of the Development Team are self-organizing and cross-functional. I relate this by using a metaphor about how self-organization is in the nature –like ants self-organizing and building nests/structures that is complex by coordinating with several others.

The self-organizing characteristic is that the Development Team chooses how best they can accomplish the work, they have collective responsibility and no one tells them how to do the work. This should support Agile Principle# 11-The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. They are cross-functional which means that they have a collective skill-set within the Development Team to accomplish the Sprint Goal.

Does the Development Team’s size matter?

Yes, the Optimal Team size that is recommended in the Scrum Guide is 3 to 9– (we don’t count the ScrumMaster and Product Owner in this count). What will be the negative consequences if the Development Team size is less than 3 or more than 9

If the Development Team’s size is <3, then there will be skills constraints and decreased interaction.

If the Development Team’s size is >9, there will be too much complexity, too much coordination to deal with.

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