Guide to Squads' Roles

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A squad is a cross-functional group of individuals with various expertise and responsibility areas. Squad members need to know whom to reach out to when needing to handle specific situations. This document aims at providing an easy-to-digest guide for squad members to leverage efficiently the expertise of each individual.

This guide is based off on the definitions of the roles and the handbooks for Developers, Team Leads, Engineering Leads, and Product Managers.

As a Developer

I have a technical concern or idea for a backlog item for the current sprint.

Reach out to the Team Lead.

Since Team Leads own the technical decision arbitration and lead the development sprint, they have the knowledge, responsibility, and incentive to resolve technical concerns.

I have a product-related concern or idea for a backlog item for the current sprint.

Reach out to the Team Lead first, then the Product Manager.

Since Team Leads collaborate on the sprints' backlog, they likely have the required product knowledge to unlock most concerns. In case, the Team Leads do NOT have the knowledge or a solution requires a change to the product, a developer must reach out to the Product Manager. The Team Lead can also do the latter on behalf of a developer.

The most common concerns are clarity of acceptance criteria and the need to break down a user story into more stories.

I need to change the story estimation.

Reach out to the Team Lead.

Since Team Leads must ensure the delivery of the sprint goals and the backlog efficiency, they did the initial estimation. Therefore, any change of estimation must be communicated to the Team Lead so that they can make the required changes to the tasks' assignments and inform the Product Manager about the potential impact on the sprint.

I will be on leave.

Inform the Team Lead.

Since Team Leads coordinate development resources, they must be informed first about the leaves so that they can perform the required changes to the assignments of the sprint's backlog.

As a Team Lead

I have a technical concern or ideas for a backlog item for the current sprint.

Reach out to the Engineering Lead.

Through their responsibility of collaboration with Team Leads, Engineering Leads offer technical support to Team Leads. The technical expertise and experience of Engineering Leads should be leveraged by Team Leads for large and complex decisions such as software architecture, performance, and security.

I have a product-related concern or idea for a backlog item for the current sprint.

Reach out to the Product Manager.

Since Product Managers own the backlog, define user stories, and set the acceptance criteria for user stories, they have the knowledge, responsibility, and incentive to resolve product-related concerns.

The most common concerns are clarity of acceptance criteria and the need to break down a user story into more stories.

I notice a performance issue with a developer on the squad.

Reach out to the Engineering Lead.

Engineering Leads manage developers, they can discuss the concerns directly with the concerned developer and work on improving the situation. While the Engineering Lead for the project might not be the individual report to, the Engineering Lead for the project will ensure the information is relayed to the right Engineering Lead.

I will be on leave.

Inform the Product Manager.

Since Product Managers own the backlog, they must know how the leave will be handled to ensure the sprint delivery.

As a Engineering Lead

I notice a performance issue with a Developer or Team Lead on the squad.

Reach out to the Engineering Lead managing the developer.

The Engineering Lead can discuss the concerns directly with the concerned developer and work on improving the situation.

I notice an issue with the backlog, sprint planning, or sprint review.

Inform the Lead Product Manager managing the Product Manager.

They can discuss the concerns directly with the concerned Product Manager and work on improving the situation.

I will be on leave.

Inform the Product Manager and Team Lead.

Since Engineering Leads support both aforementioned individuals, they must be informed so that they can plan accordingly during the leave period.

As a Product Manager

I have a technical concern with a backlog item for the current sprint.

Reach out to the Team Lead.

Since Team Leads lead the development sprint, they are the most knowledgeable about the day-to-day technical development for the current sprint.

I have a technical concern with a feature or backlog item for future sprints.

Reach out to the Engineering Lead.

To ensure Team Leads can be entirely focused on the current sprint, technical concerns for future increments should be handled by the Engineering Lead for the project. Engineering Leads collaborate with Product Managers to remove potential technical blockers and provide technical information allowing Product Managers to create stories for future sprints efficiently.

I need to have an estimation done for future stories.

Reach out to the Team Lead.

Since Team Leads must ensure the delivery of the sprint goals and the backlog efficiency, they need to ensure that the points estimation on each backlog item corresponds to the actual effort that will be spent by developers. Team Leads also have an in-depth knowledge of the whole codebase, often superior to the one of Engineering Leads.

I need a technical counterpart for a client meeting.

Reach out to the Engineering Lead.

Since Engineering Leads collaborate with Product Managers and Team Leads must focus on the delivery of the sprint goals, the former should be the go-to person for client meetings. The Team Leads can also be involved on a case-by-case basis.

I notice a performance issue with a Developer or Team Lead on the squad.

Reach out to the Engineering Lead.

Engineering Leads manage developers, they can discuss the concerns directly with the concerned developer and work on improving the situation. While the Engineering Lead for the project might not be the individual report to, the Engineering Lead for the project will ensure the information is relayed to the right Engineering Lead.

I will be on leave.

Inform the Team Lead.

Since Team Leads must ensure the delivery of the sprint goals, they must be informed first about the leaves so that they can review the backlog and remove any blockers requiring a product management decision.