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Cross Functional Teams



Development teams are a lot like a church congregation.


A congregation is a community of people with special skills and jobs. You have pastors, preachers, choir directors, ushers, worship leaders, organists, etc.


It takes everyone working together doing their special jobs to make a worship service happen.


Development teams are also a community of people with special skills and jobs. You’ve got developers that specialize on certain parts of the stack, people who do different types of testing, people who have specialties in breaking down and managing the work of developing software, etc., etc., etc.


But, not every church is a cathedral…


… or a megachurch.


Most churches are small and rural. They don’t have a huge staff. This is like LifeWay. We don’t have a huge QA team or dozens of DevOps engineers.


Like the country preacher our more specialized roles are spread really thin. Our country preacher here has got to sort out an organist for Sunday, plan the music, write a sermon, teach Sunday School, do hospital visits, preach a funeral, and so much more.


But, is the preacher the only person the congregation that can do this?


Others can preach.


Others can teach.


Our development teams have come to the same conclusion. Maybe instead of thinking about these jobs as “preacher” or “QA” or “DevOps” jobs …


… maybe we should look at them as “congregation” or “Christian” or “team” jobs.


Our teams have taken on the mindset of a small congregation. They’re learning from each other and sharing responsibilities. We have teams where developers write tests and teams where QA folk write code. We have teams where developers have learned some DevOps and teams where DevOps are able to participate in the team. I’m really proud of the cross-functional and self-managing teams that have formed at LifeWay. We’re able to do a lot more with less using this approach and I think it’s something we’ll strive more towards in 2017.