Self organising teams – the agile autonomy

Self organising teams – the agile autonomy

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What is a self organising team ?

A self-organizing team is a team that has the autonomy to choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team. Unlike traditional management principles, the self-organizing empowered teams are not directed and controlled from the top; rather they evolve from team members participating actively & collectively in all the Scrum practices and events.

Challenges

Adopting agile mindset and practices across the whole organization is a big challenge. It is easier said than done. This challenge is not only for the teams themselves, but even for the management who finds it difficult to reconcile the need for predictable outcomes with the demand for greater freedom and autonomy.

Benefits

Benefits of self-organization mainly arise from enhanced sharing and learning. This learning can happen from peers & seniors during frequent interactions encouraged by Scrum. Learning also takes place by observing and exposure to cross-functional teams with diverse skills and backgrounds. The frequent interactions also lead to close team bonding and identification with project commitments. Thus the most essential requirement of Scrum teams is to have active participation by all team members in all Scrum events.

Building a Self-Organizing team in 3 Steps

Training

• Proper training can help satisfy many of the principles that self-organizing teams require.

• Specifically, hard skills training can ensure competency and provide the necessary framework to conduct tests that lead to regular improvements.

• Meanwhile, soft skills training can help lay the groundwork for high levels of communication, collaboration, commitment, and confidence.

Coaching

• Before becoming a true self-organizing team, groups need coaching. They may require more support and guidance at the beginning.

• These are the indicators of your team getting more and more mature such as: Scrum ceremonies are productive, the team enjoys the work and members help each other, new ideas are forthcoming, and teams are pulling work for themselves.

• Finally, the role of the coach should diminish over time as team members learn how to take ownership and begin to collaborate with and trust one another in a self-organizing way.

Mentoring

• Once a team starts self-organizing, the journey has only just begun. Assign mentors who can help the team go to the next level, so that the growth of the team will to be sustain in longer run.

• For example, job rotations can be an important aspect of keeping employees involved and of encouraging continuous learning, as this kind of mentoring could help with continuity by ensuring everyone grows together.

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