Feature Teams vs. Component Teams

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Aug 31, 2022
Updated on
Sep 2, 2022
Table of Content

There are two main types of software development teams: feature teams and component teams. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right one for your project is important.

Feature teams are responsible for developing a specific feature or set of features. This method works well for projects that need a lot of coordination between team members. However, scaling up a feature team can be difficult if the project grows in scope.

On the other hand, component teams are responsible for developing a specific software component. This approach is more flexible and can be easily scaled up as the project grows. However, it can sometimes lead to communication problems between team members.

Organizing your development team into feature or component teams is one of the most important decisions you'll make as a Product Manager. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, so it's essential to understand which option will work best for your situation. Let's take a closer look at each approach!

What Is a Feature Team?

Feature teams are cross-functional, product backlog-driven teams that build products in short iterations. The Product Owner is in charge of sharing the vision with the team and making sure that the product backlog is set up to achieve that vision. 

The team members are self-organizing and have the skills necessary to complete the work. This means there is no need for handoffs or coordination between specialized teams; the team decides how to do the job best and brings value to the table every time. Feature teams are usually co-located so that they can easily communicate and collaborate

The benefits of feature teams include faster delivery, higher quality, and more engaged employees. Product Owners also benefit from this method because they have more control over the product roadmap and can make changes without waiting for other teams. Feature teams are an important part of Agile software development because they help organizations move faster and respond to change better.

What Is a Component Team?

A component team is a group of people who work together on a software development project. The team is responsible for developing and maintaining a specific software component. For instance, a component team might be in charge of making the user interface or the layer for accessing the database. 

Component teams typically consist of developers, testers, and technical writers. Sometimes, a component team might include a Project Manager or business analyst. Agile component teams are responsible for software components' development, deployment, and maintenance. 

Agile component teams work closely with other Agile teams to make sure that all software dependencies are met and that the final product is of high quality. To be successful, Agile component teams must have a clear understanding of the entire Agile process and the responsibilities of each team member.

Differences between Feature and Component Teams

Feature teams are cross-functional, including all the skill sets needed to complete a feature (design, development, QA, etc.). This allows for better collaboration and faster delivery because there are no dependencies on other teams.

Component teams typically have more specialized knowledge than feature teams, because they focus on developing a small part of the overall application rather than the entire product. As a result, component teams often have greater knowledge about their particular areas of expertise.

Feature teams are typically more independent than component teams. Most of the time, they have all the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs without having to rely on other teams.

In contrast, component teams often rely on other teams that provide them with access to specialized skills or knowledge. As a result, feature teams tend to be more flexible and adaptable than component teams. 

Feature teams tend to be more flexible and better able to respond to changes in customer needs. Component teams, on the other hand, tend to be more stable and predictable, making them better suited for long-term planning. 

Another big difference is that feature teams are more customer-oriented, whereas component teams tend to focus more on the technical side of things. 

Feature team members may spend more time understanding customer needs and developing customer-facing features. Component team members may spend more time working on technical problems and designing internal components. 

Why Would You Use a Feature Team?

There are several benefits to using feature teams. One advantage of using a feature team is that it allows for greater collaboration between disciplines. 

For instance, engineers can work closely with designers to make sure that the way a new feature is implemented meets the needs of the user experience. This can help improve communication and reduce the risk of bottlenecking. 

Second, it helps to improve product quality. Having all the skills they need in one place makes it easier for feature teams to find problems early on and fix them, making sure the product backlog is properly set up.

Finally, it can help improve team morale. Feature teams tend to be more engaged and motivated because they are self-contained and have a clear sense of ownership over their features. 

Why Should You Use a Component Team?

A component team is organized around product components rather than features. This means that each team is responsible for a specific part of the product regardless of where it falls in the overall product roadmap.

Component teams can also help to identify and solve problems more effectively. Component teams are often better equipped to find creative solutions to complex challenges by pooling the resources and expertise of multiple departments.

Finally, component teams can also provide a valuable opportunity for professional development. By working closely with colleagues from other departments, team members can gain new skills and knowledge that they can apply in their day-to-day roles. 

How to Establish a Feature Team

  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities. Every member of the team should understand their responsibilities and expectations.
  • Set project goals and timelines. The team should clearly understand the project's objectives and how long they must complete them.
  • Communicate frequently. Feature teams rely on good communication to function effectively. Team members should meet regularly to discuss progress and identify any potential problems.
  • Be flexible. The nature of feature teams is such that changes are often required mid-stream. Team members must be willing to adapt to these changes to keep the project on track.
  • Celebrate success. When a project is completed, it's important to take the time to celebrate the team's achievement. This helps build morale and motivate team members for future projects.

How to Establish a Component Team

  • To establish a component team, first determine what part or component of the product needs to be developed. 
  • Then, assemble a team of employees with the necessary skill set to develop that component. 
  • Once the team is assembled, provide them with the resources they need to get the job done, such as access to the product’s source code and documentation.
  •  Finally, support the team by removing impediments and celebrating their successes.

How can GoRetro Help?

When it comes to software development, teams can take two main approaches: feature teams and component teams. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, and which is best for a given situation depends on several factors. 

Ultimately, the best approach for any situation will vary depending on the specific circumstances. GoRetro can help by giving you detailed information on both options and advice on how to choose the best one for your team.

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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