How to Increase productivity of agile teams by implementing an often overlooked agile principle

Alternate titles proposed:

How mutual transformations can increase productivity of Agile teams?

How can you increase productivity of Agile teams by generalizing your specialists?


At Leonardo Worldwide Corporation, we constantly aim to improve the efficiency of our Engineering teams. This talk is an Experience report of how we increased the efficiency of Scrum teams by implementing one of the often overlooked agile principles.

Experience Summary

At Leonardo Worldwide Corporation, we noticed that there was an uneven distribution of work amongst our Scrum team members. During the initial days of a Sprint, people belonging to certain functions were extremely busy and the others were constantly looking for work. And this paradigm shifted the other way round during the latter half of the Sprint. Our extremely smart engineers felt under-utilized in their Scrum teams. As a result, the Scrum teams were not performing at their best capacity.

Cause / Symptom:

Our Scrum teams were encompassed of engineers who were specialized in a specific function of Software Development - frontend development, backend development and Quality Assurance. During a two week Sprint cycle, the work was not uniformly distributed between the developers and QA specialists. There was also an uneven distribution of work between the frontend and backend developers during various phases of a product development. We also identified high latency when tasks transitioned between development and testing.


We designed a two phase strategy to transform our team of Specialists into Generalists. By doing this we were cautious of also preserving the expertise that our specialists brought to their respective Scrum teams.

Phase 1 - Create a mutual transformation between Developers and QA Specialists

Phase 2 - Create a mutual transformation between Frontend Engineers and Backend Engineers

We successfully executed Phase 1 of Mutual Transformation in Q4 2018. The results of the transformation were outstanding and exceeded our expectations. We are currently preparing for executing Phase 2 of mutual transformation in Q3 2019.

In this talk, I will share our experiences in planning and executing mutual transformation programs to convert a team of generalists to specialists that enabled us to achieve the following

  1. Efficiency of our Scrum teams increased by 19%
  2. Our ex-QA Specialists, are now our most productive Developers and DevOps Engineers.
  3. Our ex-QA Specialists, who are our current developers are more committed and feel passionate about what they are building.
  4. There is a substantial increase in the code quality. Since there is no dedicated QA team, our developers are constantly aiming to deliver better code quality.

Outline/Structure of the Experience Report

The presentation will cover

  1. How we identified opportunities to improve efficiency of our Scrum teams?
  2. Two phase strategy on mutual transformation of Specialists to Generalists in Engineering teams
  3. Our experience - challenges and lessons learnt - in executing the Mutual Transformation program in our Scrum teams.
  4. Video snippets of our teams sharing their experiences transforming from being a Specialist to a Generalist

Learning Outcome

Participants will learn:

  • How to look for opportunities to improve efficiency in Scrum teams
  • How to enable equal distribution of work in Scrum Teams
  • How to execute a mutual transformation program and broaden the skillsets of Scrum teams.

Target Audience

All - anyone keen to make improve productivity and efficiency of their Agile teams

Prerequisites for Attendees

  • Familiarity with Agile software delivery would be an asset, but not required.
  • Mindset to lead, execute or participate in a change.
schedule Submitted 3 weeks ago

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  • Steve Pereira
    Steve Pereira
    schedule 1 month ago
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    40 Mins

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