Consider a scrum team (component teams) operating in a producer-consumer model, catering to requests made by multiple consumers in each sprint. This team, based on their capacity and velocity, can deliver a fixed set of stories in each sprint. Which means that it is going to starve consumers if it cant keep up with their demands. In such circumstances there is a common perception that if more team members are added to this scrum team they will be able to satisfy requests from all consumers.
Adding new members to the scrum team - does it help or hurt? Honestly, the answer is "it depends" - this situation needs to be weighed and evaluated correctly. I have come up with a list of questions based on my experience that could help with decision making.
- Is the current scrum team in an ideal range of 8 to 10 members?
- If it's already in ideal range, consider the impact of adding new members in terms of overhead on sprint planning and daily stand-ups.
- Are new members up to speed with the technology and scrum best practices to work in this scrum team?
- If the new team members are already hands-on with the technology and development environment (Build env, setups, hardware, tools, etc) they will be able to add value to the team much sooner.
- If new members need educational spike on new technology as well as setting up development environment then consider the overall impact on how much help/coaching they will need from the existing team members.
- Also consider the effort needed to educate newer team members on scrum best practices which include coding practices, writing unit tests for code coverage, code reviews, etc.
- Does the addition of new team member disrupt the balance of Dev and QA ratio in the scrum team?
- If Dev/QA ratio is not managed correctly i.e. only developers are added to the team with no additional QA engineers, the existing QA engineers would have to take the load of extra testing, or team will have to cut down on new features being developed which would defeat the entire purpose of adding new members.
- Are new members just added on temporary basis or is it a permanent move?
- The answer to the above question will vary depending on how the team is structured and organized.
- Are new members being added mid sprint or at the beginning of the sprint?
- Based on when the new members are added re-planning and re-assignment of tasks and stories might be needed.
It takes a while for scrum team to become self organized and execute to plan every sprint. Adding new members to the team can bring positive energy and help with the momentum of the scrum team or it can disrupt the team momentum. Careful evaluation should be done based on answers to the above questions.