How to Assemble an Efficient Sprint Team to Achieve the Impossible

Ocean’s eleven starring George Clooney and brad Pitt is one of the all time great caper movies. In the film Danny Ocean an ex con player summons a band of criminals who had a career being con artists. They come together for one final heist the heist that will make them good for life, the target is the Las Vegas casino on the night of the big prize fight, a 150 million dollars will be at vault. The clock is ticking the odds are against them and it takes a very special skill from every team, member to pull of such a plan.

A sprint perfectly resembles a perfectly orchestrated heist; every team member imparts their best effort to pull something off that seems impossible at first. Thus we have seamlessly established the importance of picking up the right team. We’ll call it the Oceans’ 7.

How to be the Danny Ocean and assemble your artists?

The ideal size of the sprint is seven or fewer because with eight or nine people you have to work hard to keep everyone focused and productive, so naturally you’ll include the people who are experts with execution, the designers, engineers and product managers, because they know how the company’s services and products work and they might already have the idea about the problem at hand. But…you still might be lacking one key point..

The sprits are always successful with a mix of people

You’d be amazed to hear that during the synthesizing of the Google maps the best inputs came from the marketing end of the team, people who normally wouldn’t have a say in the development of the product.

Choosing whom to include isn’t always easy, so here is a cheat sheet

Decider

Who makes decisions for the company? The CEO or perhaps the CEO of the project, if he cannot join the team he should delegate his role to someone who can be in the room at all times.

Finance expert

Someone who handles the budget end of the project, this member will have all the detailed information about where the money comes from and where it goes.

Example: CFO, Business Development Manager.

The marketing guy

This member is responsible for developing the presentation layer of the product, what the customer sees and how the product will be revealed to them in the most appealing and customer relevant way.

Example: Business Development Executive

Tech/Logistics

The essential Engineers/Developers, Designers who are responsible for bringing the entire blue print to life.

Example: Developer/Engineer, Designer.

The word team is pretty cheap and over used but in a sprint a team is actually a team where you work together side by side for five days and by the end of the fifth day you become a problem solving machine.

Bring the trouble maker

Yes every company has them, the one that sees the problem differently and opines differently from the team, often the trouble maker’s view adds the much needed creativity. Even a guest appearance by this person can act as a catalyst to the entire process.

The facilitator

Remember Luca Brasi from The Godfather, his singular purpose was to enforce and keep Don Vito’s business flowing. In our context this person is responsible for management, conversations, someone who can tell the team that it is time to stop talking and get to work, someone with amazing people’s skill, someone the team likes to listen to.

As the movie Ocean’s Eleven unfolds we slowly notice each and every con artist using their skill to get close to the big prize, this is exactly what happens in a sprint each and every person utilizes their skill set to get the team closer and closer to the achievement of the goal.

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