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Self-Organization and Empowerment in Agile

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Self-organization is a core concept in the agile principles but can be hard to embrace in traditional command and control environments. We will experience what self-organization is, how it can help your team, and how you can experiment with self-organization strategies in a safe place.

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Self-Organization and Empowerment in Agile

  1. 1. Self-Organization in a Command and Control World © 2016 beLithe, Inc.
  2. 2. vv © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 2
  3. 3. Our teams are complex systems.
  4. 4. Self-organization is the spontaneous appearance of order or global coordination out of local level interactions.
  5. 5. Darkness Principle © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 9
  6. 6. Centralized Control © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 10 Immune System Pathogen Blood cells
  7. 7. What’s in it for our teammates I am more effective. I am more engaged. My work is more rewarding. I can handle adversity. © 2016 beLithe, Inc. “....telling them to sit at a desk and to do what they’re told obliterates 99 percent of their value.” – Valve
  8. 8. What’s in it for the business Increase customer satisfaction rates by 18% Decrease employee turnover by 14% Multiply financial success by x4½ © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 12 Gallup Research Increase employee performance by 40%
  9. 9. Self-organization ultimately makes manageability of the system much easier.
  10. 10. Data Distribution Number one barrier to self-organization YOU
  11. 11. Management Issues with Self-Organization Excellent specialist ≠ excellent manager Fear of exclusionIllusion of control Limited mentorship and training
  12. 12. Managers must learn that they are in charge but not in control.
  13. 13. Data Distribution “The leader is best when people are hardly aware of his existence (...). When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, the people say ‘We did it ourselves’.” -Laozi
  14. 14. SafetyTrust Boundaries Vision Elements of Effective Self-Organizing Teams Authority
  15. 15. SafetyTrust Boundaries Vision Elements of Effective Self-Organizing Teams Authority 01 02 03 04 Trust your people. Earn trust from your people. Help people trust each other. Trust yourself.
  16. 16. Boundaries Elements of Effective Self-Organizing Teams Create boundaries around how individuals relate to other teams. 02 01 03 Create boundaries around how teams change over time. Create boundaries around how teams are structured.
  17. 17. Vision Elements of Effective Self-Organizing Teams D C B A This is our desired level of performance. This is our fundamental purpose. This is what we want to be. This drives our decision-making.
  18. 18. Safety Elements of Effective Self-Organizing Teams It’s not about the first-mover advantage; It’s about the fast-learner advantage. The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else. -Eric Ries, The Lean Startup
  19. 19. Elements of Effective Self-Organizing Teams AuthorityEmpowerment Authority Authority: Gives a person the right to make decisions in a particular situation. Giving authority (delegation) is the act of handing over responsibilities to someone else. Empowerment: Empowerment is authority plus a whole lot more. Empowering people is an ongoing activity.
  20. 20. Empowerment Giving power does not diminish your own status, rather it increases it over time. Knowledge workers have the power. These are our star players. Managers are coaches. Like continuous improvement, empowerment is a never-ending process. Being an empowered employee is skill that must be learned. © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 24 Empowerment can make short-term problems harder to solve but makes long- term problems easier.
  21. 21. Empowerment Maturity Levels Low Moderate High Have no far-reaching consequences for the company. • Developing internal workshops • Establishing coding guidelines • Decorating office for holidays Hard for some organizations. If you’re doing Agile development, this is the minimum level you should achieve. • Interviewing job candidates by employees • Self-education • Self-organizing project teams • Freedom of working hours • Freedom of tool selection Very hard to achieve and may be practically impossible for most businesses. Most businesses in this category were created this way. • Determine salaries together • Allowed to work only the projects they want • No distinction of job titles © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 25
  22. 22. How can we as managers influence each element? I build trust by using the rule of two feet. I build trust by asking for a microstatus rather than micromanaging. I build trust by asking my team to regularly complete a retrospective on my performance.. Trust Boundaries Vision Safety Authority
  23. 23. Trust How can we as managers influence each element? Boundaries I create boundaries by helping each team create an agreed on DoD. I help the team create boundaries by facilitating the understanding of external requirements. Vision Safety Authority
  24. 24. Trust How can we as managers influence each element? Boundaries Vision Safety Authority I create the vision with my team early on in the process. I reinforce the vision by communicating it often.
  25. 25. Trust How can we as managers influence each element? Boundaries Vision Safety Authority I create a safe environment by encouraging learning from failures. I build a safe environment by not punishing the team for not completing a high priority in a sprint.
  26. 26. Trust How can we as managers influence each element? Boundaries Vision Safety Authority I distribute authority by letting the team determine when the PSI has met the definition of done. I distribute authority by having the team make decisions on how it will operate.
  27. 27. Delegation Poker © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 31 Delegation often comes down to either “I do it” or “You do it.” But there are really seven levels of delegation. Delegation Poker to make clear who’s responsible for what and to what level. This is a method where you can encourage employee engagement through controlled self-organization and clarified value and decision-making. 1. Tell: You as the manager make the decision. 2. Sell: You make the decision but you try to persuade others to buy into it. 3. Consult: You get input from team before still making decision. 4. Agree: You make a decision together as a team. 5. Advise: Your team makes the decision, but you try to influence it. 6. Inquire: Your team makes the decision and then tells you about it. 7. Delegate: You offer no influence and let team work it out.
  28. 28. Delegation Poker © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 32
  29. 29. Discussion & Takeaways DELEGATION IS NOT A BINARY THING. THERE ARE SHADES OF GREY BETWEEN A DICTATOR AND AN ANARCHIST. -JURGEN APPELO Delegation is not a binary “this or that” thing. Delegation is a step-by-step process. Delegation is context-dependent. 01 02 03 © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 33
  30. 30. Survey Link to survey © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 34
  31. 31. Resources – Check these out! © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 35
  32. 32. © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 36
  33. 33. Tana Linback www.beLithe.com Thank you, stay in touch! © 2016 beLithe, Inc. 37 @CoachLinback tlinback@beLithe.com Chris Daily @Chris_Daily cdaily@beLithe.com Treating employees like adult humans might be common sense, but it is not common practice. - Jurgen Appelo

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