Cross-skilling is where a team member decides (without being pushed) to learn a new skill area. This learning will, of course, take time and in the short term slow the team down. In the long run, the team benefits from the shared knowledge with increased quality, fewer bottlenecks, etc. All of this of course will eventually lead to greater speed.
Teams that do not encourage cross-skilling and who have only person who perform a certain activity (e.g. Analysis, Database work, Testing) will suffer a variety of problems:
- Bottlenecks – when there is more work for that skill area than the person can handle
- Quality – there will be no one else to crosscheck that person’s work
- Stuck – if a team member goes on vacation or, worse, leaves the team maybe unable to finish some work items
- 10 Quick Tips To Improve Cross-Functionality Within Your Scrum Team
- Breaking Silos within Cross-Functional Teams
- Clarify team skills with the Balanced Team Pie
- Do Skills Matter? Understanding Key Person Dependencies…
- Pairing for Learning
- Senior Software Developers as Mentors
- Stress Testing Skills Liquidity
- The Four Levels of the Skill Matrix
- Using a Skill Matrix for Growth and Learning
Mark Levison has been helping Scrum teams and organizations with Agile, Scrum and Kanban style approaches since 2001. From certified scrum master training to custom Agile courses, he has helped well over 8,000 individuals, earning him respect and top rated reviews as one of the pioneers within the industry, as well as a raft of certifications from the ScrumAlliance. Mark has been a speaker at various Agile Conferences for more than 20 years, and is a published Scrum author with eBooks as well as articles on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org an AgileAlliance.org.
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