Scrum teams are “Tiger Teams” for everyday work

There’s a term I’ve been hearing a lot lately: “Tiger Team”. Ostensibly these teams are more aggressive, tenacious, skilled – maybe even more agile – than an ordinary team. But every time I hear the term, I wonder: “Then what are your normal teams – Kitten Teams? Teddy Bear Teams? “. Because if you need some extraordinary project or circumstance to form a team so unusually effective that it deserves such a namesake, it doesn’t speak well for your regular state of play. What it is about all your other projects that doesn’t deserve the same treatment? Are they worth doing at all?

A Scrum team is a “Tiger Team” without the pretense of exceptionalism. It’s a cross functional team of representatives with all the skills and domain knowledge necessary to solve a problem autonomously – hey, what a concept!   As our long-term partners at Intel put it, a Scrum team is “…a task force without the crisis”.  Instead of a crisis, we have urgency provided by short timeboxes; Instead of needing an emergency to use what we know is the most effective way to work, we make it a routine; and instead of high drama providing the emotional impetus, we have frequent and regular reward of seeing progress being made.

So I’d like to hear less of Tiger Teams, and more of boring old cross-functional, empowered autonomous Scrum teams, routinely churning out business value. Don’t your products deserve it?

Luke Walter

Luke Walter is a Certified Scrum Trainer® and Agile Coach, helping organizations maximize value delivery using the Scrum framework and Agile development practices. He guides senior management, development, and operations through the challenges intrinsic to agile adoptions, enabling them to adopt more meaningful measures of progress and realign for effectiveness. A 9-year Scrum veteran with over 8000 hours logged on high-performing Scrum teams, he brings an uncommon depth of real-world agile experience to organizations seeking to transcend procedural and cultural barriers to success.

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