#39 – The System Team

Authors’ Comments:

In SAFe, a System Team supports the other feature or component teams in the ART(s) by specializing in building development infrastructure, solution integration, end-to-end testing and releasing. They can be part of several ARTs, and if you’re working with large solutions and running Solution Trains, they help glue the ARTs together.

One could argue that having a team external to the Scrum team take care of these aspects of work is inherently a Scrum anti-pattern, as introducing this dependency reduces the level of ‘done’ of the team’s work. Since the team members in the System Team are probably specialized in the mentioned supportive work, a more beneficial approach could be to (eventually) disperse the System Team members into the other agile teams of the ART and spread their knowledge to the other team members, thus increasing the cross-functionality of the agile team.

In this way, we enable extending the Definition of Done of the agile teams to include points like the PBIs being fully tested, integrated and deployed/released, so that, when work is done, it is actually consumable by the end-users without needing to wait for a System Team. This will reduce time-to-market and speed-up the time it takes for the agile team to get feedback from real users.