Perhaps the most prevalent and persistent myth in agile is that a cross-functional team is one on which each person possesses every skill necessary to complete the work. This is simply not true.
- A cross-functional team has members with a variety of skills, but that does not mean each member has all of the skills. A cross-functional team has access to all the skills necessary to effectively deliver value to customers. A cross-functional team does not have to consist of all generalists. A cross-functional team also does not have to consist of all specialists.
- You will generally find that a cross-functional team consists of a mix of people who have some knowledge about a lot of different areas, and others who are stronger in one area but are willing to help out in other areas where needed and when they can.
- You generally want a stable, focused team such that they are working solely on the work of that team, which may cut down on the number of specialists on the team on an ongoing basis. You may instead opt for people that know enough about a certain topic and bring in specialist knowledge only for very specific occasions.
- A cross-functional team does not require specific roles. You don’t have to have a designer on the team as long as there are people who are proficient at design. You don’t have to have a tester on the team as long as there are people who proficient at testing. You don’t have to have a development on the team as long as there are people who are proficient at development.