Nurturing Self-Organizing Teams

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Nurturing Self-Organizing Teams. Dr Rashina Hoda Leader, SEPTA Research The University of Auckland New Zealand. Who Is Rashina Hoda. Researcher, Lecturer, Consultant, Author, and Wannabe-Supermom twitter: @ agileRashina website: email: [email protected] On the Topic…. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Nurturing Self-Organizing TeamsDr Rashina HodaLeader, SEPTA ResearchThe University of AucklandNew ZealandWho Is Rashina HodaResearcher, Lecturer, Consultant, Author, and Wannabe-Supermom

twitter: @agileRashinawebsite: www.rashina.comemail: [email protected]

On the TopicHot off the PressIEEE Software article Power to the People, March 2013

Not so long agoXP2011, Supporting Self-organizing Agile Teams, Madrid, 2011

Ah, and that tooPhD Thesis, Self-Organizing Agile Software Development Teams: A Grounded Theory, 2011Power to the People

Whats Going On?Inability of managers to adapt their style to the new age

Desire of people to take matter in their own hands

Fundamentally,A widening gap between the two.People no longer live or want to live under command and control.

New age management styleAdaptive, supportive, and collaborative leadership

Empowerment and Self-organization are here to stayThe Self-organizing connectionAgile Teams and SELF-ORGANIZING TEAMSBrand new from ages ago

Humble beginningsStudy of English coal miners, 1950s

Self-Managing groups: 10-15 cross-trained people, autonomous, learning systems, assuming responsibilities of former supervisors

Complex adaptationsComplex Adaptive Systems,1990s

Characteristics of Self-Organizing Teams: informal structure, strong sense of shared purpose, decide own affairs

The ResearchIndustry-based, original PhD research, 2006-201158 Agile Practitioners from 23 OrganizationsNew Zealand, India, North AmericaRounded perspective

Agile practices: Scrum + XPTeam size: 4 to 15 membersProject duration: 1 to 48 monthsOrganizational sizes: 10 to 300,000 employees

Semi-structured interviews and observationsIterative rounds of data collection and analysisFinding common concepts, patterns in data

Becoming self-organizing the biggest concern

ParticipantsParticipantsImplications for Software EngineeringThe Theory of Self-Organizing Agile Teams *

explains how Agile teams take on informal, implicit, transient, and spontaneous roles and perform balanced practices while facing critical environmental factors.

Main Findings

Self-Organizing RolesSelf-Organizing PracticesCritical Factors influencing self-organizing teamsSenior Management SupportCustomer Involvement

*Rashina Hoda, Self-Organizing Agile Teams: A Grounded Theory, PhD Thesis, 2011Whats senior management got to do with it?No, but reallyManagement Influence on SO TeamsOrganizational Culture

Resource Management


Customer InvolvementManagementSelf-OrganizingTeamsOrganizational Culturea standard set of basic suppositions invented, discovered or developed by the group when learning to face problems of external adaptation and internal integration*


The way we do things around here.

What organization cultural traits are desired?

*Schein, E. H. Organizational Culture and Leadership, 1st edition ed.Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Franciso, 1985.Building a Culture of TrustInformal Structure


Free flow ofcommunication

Environmentof Trust

Calling all CTOs : Chief-Trusting-Officer

Building a Culture of Trustdon't expect that you're going to be in any other traditional hierarchical matter if its 4 years or three years [of experience], they [team] can walk up to [CEO's name] and say `this what you did, is [rubbish]' (laughs) and [CEO] will say `Oh, okay fine, let's discuss what happened'. So people have that freedom to voice their opinion very clearly. At the same time people will [give] feedback to you.- Senior Manager, IndiaResource ManagementWhat are the benefits of a dedicated team?

Why split people across projects?

Human-Resource [HR] : an oxymoronPeople Dedicated to ProjectsWhat I think affected our project...[the developer] was working on another project, he didn't have enough timespace to chat with anybody, to discuss ideasto work with anybodythat really impacted a lot of the work he did in the last few months ... When you're working in a team like this [Agile team] and you've got to work quite closely, the individuals in the team matter. - Product Owner, New ZealandContracts Fixed contracts do not help embrace change

Who sets fixed contracts?

Who needs to absorb change?

Agile ContractsEncouraging flexible contracts

Offering optionsbuy per iteration, swap features, exit

Adding a buffer to absorb changeEncouraging ParticipationSoftware teams usually find it demotivating to be given ridiculous deadlines by managers who dont actually have a clue about the technical challenges associated with them (Developer, NZ)

Invite teams to provide estimateswhen negotiating contracts.

Customer InvolvementWho sells Agile to customers?

Do customers realize their role?

Who suffers the consequences?

On-board, off-guardCustomer InvolvementThe client reads [Scrum books] and what they see is client can make changes all the time and they think wow that sounds great! They don't understand the counter-balancing discipline [customer involvement] ... Customer involvement is poor." - Scrum Trainer, India

Two of the [internal customers] responded lots and were very...complaining, and at the end of the project their business units loved it and the business unit that didn't give much feedback - when it went to a user - started complaining. And it's like well, if we didn't get any critique it's not really our fault! - Developer, New ZealandCustomer InvolvementSelling the Full StoryIn the sales room, even the way we work is Agile. We have two groups, one for marketing, one for sales. We have stages for each teams - we use kind of post-its and put them up. So even our sales is Agile.- Sales Manager, India

Offer Product Owner TrainingIn the software engineering worldBack to conflictsThe New Global VillageUnprecedented access to information

Unprecedented access to influence

Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime.

The Same Old Office

Time for an IT Revolution?

WOAH!Lessons for BossesEmploy the hands-free, watchful-eyes management approach

Teams are resourcesSell customers AgileExpect Trust your teams to perform their best.Teams are resources humans. Treat them so.Sell customers Agile the full story.Expect your teams to perform their best.Your Pick

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