A feature team is “a long-lived, cross-functional, cross-component team that completes many end-to-end customer features—one by one.” Feature teams are an essential element to scaling up agile development. Without a feature team structure (but instead, a component team organization—based on code ownership, combined with a single-function organization—analyst group, programmer group, testing group, ...) your organization is likely to create numerous wastes and sub-optimizations that lead to a sequential (waterfall, ...) development cycle. Feature teams structure resolves many of these wastes but also introduces change and challenges.
Feature teams have been around in large products for a long time, for example, within telecom systems (Ericsson) and compiler development (Microsoft). They always emerged together with daily builds because frequent builds with automated testing is a key enabler for getting feature teams to work well. With the introduction of agile development (and Scrum specifically) feature teams have gained in popularity because they focus more on end-customer requirements and shorter cycle times.
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