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Hello everyone. Welcome to the 5 Minutes Podcast. Today I'd like to talk about the squad and I know that many of you know the squad in the Agile environment, but I will talk about that. But I want just to go back to the basics squad is a common term using a military army, marines, and air force. They have used the concept of squads for quite a while. And what is a squad? A squad is a cross-functional team. It means different competencies. It's not everybody with one single expertise, but different expertise that operates with autonomy. So they operate, I don't want to say isolated, but they have a clear autonomy to make the decisions and the best judgment to do only one thing to accomplish a specific mission. So if you know these three points, you know what I'm talking about a squad cross-functional, team, autonomous and with a clear mission, a clear target, and a clear objective. And this is why when we translate this concept from the military environment, where, for example, someone is an expert in explosives, another one in communication, and not one in hacking. And they combine their effort, for example, to do a special operation, a special military operation. This is a perfect example of a squad in project management. We can do absolutely the same. And I know that some of you will ask me, okay, but it's what can I use only in Agile? The answer is no squad is to give you agility on what you are doing every time you need cross-functional competency, autonomy, and a mission-specific, you can use the squad.
And in Agile, we call this maybe squad because of this Spotify model that makes this term very famous, but also a Scrum team, and they are very, very similar, and you use them every time you need these competencies. Let me give you an example. Recently I was interviewing professionals, and executives from InBev, a beverage company and the beer, very famous for the beer. And during the COVID crisis in Brazil, they used the concept of the squad to build hospitals and to support building hospitals or relocate procurement services. And they use this concept. It's just an example. So you don't need to think that it's only software development that will benefit from the squad concept. No, every single one will benefit. And if you want to call it squad, you can. If you don't want to, you just call it whatever name you want to call. Just remember the concept and what makes a good squad and turn it into a great outstanding squad. And I can identify three topics. Maybe you will not agree with all of them, but based on my experience, I think that they are very relevant.
First is the cohesion and the bond among the team members. Of course, everybody will say, Oh, people are a very relevant asset. I know this, but what I want to share here is that you need to have a group of people that know how to work together. Sometimes you have excellent, brilliant people, extremely competent people that are not able to work in a team environment. Unfortunately, they don't work. They don't cooperate well. So you need to take care of the bond of the team. And this drives me to a very relevant point. I don't like to make changes to the composition of a squad. Usually, what I do when the squad finishes that specific mission, is provide the squad with another mission and another mission and another mission. Why? Because then I don't lose the energy of that team, because, over time, this team will be so strong working together that they can accomplish many things. So I may challenge people to improve, or I make some adjustments, but only when it's really needed. Because when people know each other, they really know how to operate very well, and you create this bond. Second, you may not agree with that but try as much as you can to keep the team in the same time zone. I know with COVID, I know with people working remotely.
I know with global teams, this is challenging, but try as much as you can because when you have someone in the Pacific. Time and someone in Central European time. And there is a nine-hour time difference every single day. It's very hard to work in a collaborative way on a day-to-day basis. I know maybe some people will disagree with that, but if you can try to create these small teams and just to remember, a squad is usually between six and ten people, this small team is as close as you can to each other. And this drives me to the third point. And the third point is very related to the second is communication. A brilliant, fantastic squad has a very strong sense of communication, a very strong sense of how they interact with each other, how they share information. And, you know, it's how they do their daily scrum. If they are using scrum, how do they meet? How do they evaluate their own work using retrospectives, so they know they have open communication? And this is why I said it's very related because for you to have daily communication, open communication, and talk to people all the time, it becomes very challenging if there is a 12, to ten-hour time difference every single day. So this is what brings us a lot of challenges.
And finally and this squad should always have the support of an agile coach and someone that can help these groups to perform and help these groups to operate. Is it the boss of the group? No, it's not the boss of the group. Usually, you have a leader, and usually, the leader is the product owner that will drive the direction of the development of the product. However, it's not a boss relationship. It's far more an autonomous and independent, and self-motivated team. This is what makes a really great squad, and you can see this in all. For example, in this new book I published, you can see hundreds of times companies talking about squads and maybe, maybe, just thinking out loud. These will become the de facto organizational structure of the future. So you use these diverse teams to bring this agility to deliver software, but also to deliver a product in a crisis or to implement something in a time frame that you never thought would be possible. Think always about that. I will talk in the future about tribes and other groups, but the squad is, for me, the DNA of what we call agile and agility in our delivery. Think about that. I hope you had a great week, and see you next week with another 5 Minutes Podcast.