Self-Organization                    The Power of Self-Selecting TeamsChris Farrell and Shawn ButtonAgile Tour Toronto 2012
Agenda• Introduction• Exercise #1• Self-organization - BEGIN• Self-selecting teams• Exercise #2• Questions
Exercise #1
Drawing ExerciseAt your table produce a drawing that shows  the benefits of a self-organizing team.•  Form into groups of ...
Drawing Exercise - DebriefVolunteers to explain their drawing.
Self-Organization
"Self-organization is the  process where a structure  or pattern appears in a  system without a central  authority or exte...
Self-Organizing Systems• Not planned or directed• Spontaneous emergence of order and  behaviour• Sum is greater than the p...
Agile and Self-Organization"Build projects around motivated  individuals. Give them the  environment and support they  nee...
But, are there problems?
How to enable self-organization• Setup the initial conditions• Continually tune  o Reinforcement  o Change conditions to g...
How do you BEGIN?• Boundaries  o What the team must do, or must not do• Empowerment  o What authority is granted to the te...
Boundaries
BEGIN - Boundaries•   Depending on the maturity of the team and the    organization, you may not be able to completely    ...
Empowerment
BEGIN - Empowerment•   What authority is granted?•   Be explicit about what they are allowed to do•   e.g. Self-management...
Goals
BEGIN - Goals• Why does the team exist?• Dont control - tell them what the goal  is, but not how to achieve it• Allow peop...
Ingredients
BEGIN - IngredientsDoes the team have what they need to thrive?• People, e.g.:    o technical skills required by the work ...
Nurture
BEGIN - Nurture throughFeedback• This is not something you set and forget• On an ongoing basis you need to provide    feed...
BEGIN - Nurture throughEvolution• Once teams have grown and earned trust  change conditions to reduce control and  encoura...
"Agile managers work thesystem, not the people" - Jurgen Appelo, author of Management3.0
Drawing - Debrief
Drawing Exercise - DebriefHow does the drawing exercise fit the BEGIN model?Boundaries•   Groups of at least 4•   10 minut...
Further Reading
Further Reading
Self-organizationThrough Self-selectingTeams
Initial State• Company of about 500 people• Transitioning to Agile      Removing cubicles for team rooms      Agile trai...
Reason Needed to Reform• Company had teams oriented along  component lines• Two teams needed to be reformed to  become fea...
Reforming TeamsBut team persistence isimportant!Reforming teams is expensive.
Typical Team Forming•   Chosen by management•   People grouped based on skill set•   No team/project chartering•   No team...
Could we just put everyone in aroom and have them hammer outsome teams?
Overview of Process• All people together in room• Stakeholders presented and discussed work  and vision• Management provid...
Overview of Process - Exercises• Wanted to reveal people along three facets:   o Skills, Values and Personality• Ran three...
Choice of Exercises• Lots of different facets, so lots of possible  exercises, for example:  o Hard skills, soft skills, e...
Overview of Exercise• Facilitated process to pick team membership
How Does This Fit the BEGINModel?• Boundaries  o What the team must or must not do• Empowerment  o What authority is grant...
BEGIN - Boundaries•   Time boundary - Had to be done in one day•   Teams had to be equally sized•   Teams had to be whole ...
BEGIN - Empowerment• Able to create own team membership as  a group• Able to request addition of extra people  if they fel...
BEGIN - Goals• Goal for this exercise: To create two  well-balanced feature teams• Goal for teams: Stakeholders presented ...
BEGIN - Ingredients• People in the room (team members,    stakeholders, management, facilitator)•   Exercises that were de...
BEGIN - Nurture• Management display of faith in teams• Facilitation of process to ensure it went  smoothly• Followed up th...
Exercise #2
Exercise - BEGIN Solving aProblemEither:1. Pick someone at the table who has a   situation where they want to encourage   ...
Exercise DebriefVolunteers to present to group
Further Reading
Further Reading
Questions?
Begin model for self organization
Begin model for self organization
Begin model for self organization
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Begin model for self organization

  1. 1. Self-Organization The Power of Self-Selecting TeamsChris Farrell and Shawn ButtonAgile Tour Toronto 2012
  2. 2. Agenda• Introduction• Exercise #1• Self-organization - BEGIN• Self-selecting teams• Exercise #2• Questions
  3. 3. Exercise #1
  4. 4. Drawing ExerciseAt your table produce a drawing that shows the benefits of a self-organizing team.• Form into groups of 3 or 4• You have 10 minutes• Everyone at the table should draw at least part of the drawing Begin!
  5. 5. Drawing Exercise - DebriefVolunteers to explain their drawing.
  6. 6. Self-Organization
  7. 7. "Self-organization is the process where a structure or pattern appears in a system without a central authority or external element imposing it through planning"- Wikipedia
  8. 8. Self-Organizing Systems• Not planned or directed• Spontaneous emergence of order and behaviour• Sum is greater than the parts• Robust, adapting, self-healing• Influenced by initial conditions• Influenced by feedback or changing conditions
  9. 9. Agile and Self-Organization"Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done."- Agile Manifesto Principles
  10. 10. But, are there problems?
  11. 11. How to enable self-organization• Setup the initial conditions• Continually tune o Reinforcement o Change conditions to grow self-organization
  12. 12. How do you BEGIN?• Boundaries o What the team must do, or must not do• Empowerment o What authority is granted to the team• Goals o The reasons the team exists• Ingredients o The raw materials for success• Nurture o Ongoing feedback and evolution
  13. 13. Boundaries
  14. 14. BEGIN - Boundaries• Depending on the maturity of the team and the organization, you may not be able to completely empower a team• Explicitly list the things that a team must do, and must not do• You should try to keep the conditions as unrestrictive as possible to increase the level of self-organization
  15. 15. Empowerment
  16. 16. BEGIN - Empowerment• What authority is granted?• Be explicit about what they are allowed to do• e.g. Self-management o choose own tools o own day-to-day schedule o manage own vacations o clear own impediments• Err on the side of trust and respect
  17. 17. Goals
  18. 18. BEGIN - Goals• Why does the team exist?• Dont control - tell them what the goal is, but not how to achieve it• Allow people to organize themselves around the work, rather than the work organizing itself around the people• Side effect - motivation o Increased sense of purpose and commitment
  19. 19. Ingredients
  20. 20. BEGIN - IngredientsDoes the team have what they need to thrive?• People, e.g.: o technical skills required by the work o interpersonal skills to work as a team o If these are not there need to add or work on them• Resources o required tools o access to information o education
  21. 21. Nurture
  22. 22. BEGIN - Nurture throughFeedback• This is not something you set and forget• On an ongoing basis you need to provide feedback to amplify the behaviour you want and dampen the behaviour you dont want• Use feedback rather than imposing control
  23. 23. BEGIN - Nurture throughEvolution• Once teams have grown and earned trust change conditions to reduce control and encourage further self-organization o Boundaries should relax o Empowerment should increase o Goal - should from from specific work to a Vision
  24. 24. "Agile managers work thesystem, not the people" - Jurgen Appelo, author of Management3.0
  25. 25. Drawing - Debrief
  26. 26. Drawing Exercise - DebriefHow does the drawing exercise fit the BEGIN model?Boundaries• Groups of at least 4• 10 minutes• Everyone at the table should drawEmpowerment• You decide what to drawGoal• Produce drawing showing benefits of self-organizationIngredients• paper, pens, table, youNurture • Chris and Shawn walking around, giving feedback
  27. 27. Further Reading
  28. 28. Further Reading
  29. 29. Self-organizationThrough Self-selectingTeams
  30. 30. Initial State• Company of about 500 people• Transitioning to Agile  Removing cubicles for team rooms  Agile training for everyone  Committed to the transformation• Re-aligning their work along Agile lines• But, just starting their Agile transformation
  31. 31. Reason Needed to Reform• Company had teams oriented along component lines• Two teams needed to be reformed to become feature teams, capable of delivering end-to-end slices of functionality
  32. 32. Reforming TeamsBut team persistence isimportant!Reforming teams is expensive.
  33. 33. Typical Team Forming• Chosen by management• People grouped based on skill set• No team/project chartering• No team building
  34. 34. Could we just put everyone in aroom and have them hammer outsome teams?
  35. 35. Overview of Process• All people together in room• Stakeholders presented and discussed work and vision• Management provided their support for the people, and trust in the results
  36. 36. Overview of Process - Exercises• Wanted to reveal people along three facets: o Skills, Values and Personality• Ran three exercises to create a Personal Information Sheet: o Marketplace of Skills o Motivating Values o Myers-Briggs Personality Type Index• Everyone presented their sheets to the group
  37. 37. Choice of Exercises• Lots of different facets, so lots of possible exercises, for example: o Hard skills, soft skills, emotional intelligence, personal values, motivators, personality types, etc
  38. 38. Overview of Exercise• Facilitated process to pick team membership
  39. 39. How Does This Fit the BEGINModel?• Boundaries o What the team must or must not do• Empowerment o What authority is granted to the team• Goals o The reason the we are doing this• Ingredients o The raw materials for success• Nurture o Ongoing evolution
  40. 40. BEGIN - Boundaries• Time boundary - Had to be done in one day• Teams had to be equally sized• Teams had to be whole teams - required all necessary skills• The exercises and choosing process were created for the group
  41. 41. BEGIN - Empowerment• Able to create own team membership as a group• Able to request addition of extra people if they felt they were required• Opt out - anyone could opt out of the process• Veto - Consensus was required for the results
  42. 42. BEGIN - Goals• Goal for this exercise: To create two well-balanced feature teams• Goal for teams: Stakeholders presented upcoming work and their vision• We had our own goals: o Show people it is possible to self-organize o Start self-organizing from the beginning o Start team building process as early as possible
  43. 43. BEGIN - Ingredients• People in the room (team members, stakeholders, management, facilitator)• Exercises that were designed to reveal people to each other• Process was designed to ensure everyone was heard• As a result the missing ingredients became obvious, for example required skills
  44. 44. BEGIN - Nurture• Management display of faith in teams• Facilitation of process to ensure it went smoothly• Followed up the self-selection process with team building activities • Able to build on the foundation that was established
  45. 45. Exercise #2
  46. 46. Exercise - BEGIN Solving aProblemEither:1. Pick someone at the table who has a situation where they want to encourage self-organizationOr:2. Canned Situation: You have hired a completely new team. Apply the BEGIN model in the context of someone at tables company. 15 minutes - Begin!
  47. 47. Exercise DebriefVolunteers to present to group
  48. 48. Further Reading
  49. 49. Further Reading
  50. 50. Questions?

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