The (Self Organizing) Team

The sprint planning sessions are taking long but this is because these concepts are new to the team. They need to be taught that they are the owners of their own destiny and as a team they, and only they, must move forward in this. The current way of working is way different, generally involving one or more managers dictating what needs to be done and being micro-managed until it’s done. I can see how this demoralizes people (myself included), afterall, doesn’t this send out a clear message that people don’t trust you to do something? And if someone doesn’t trust you how can you feel any pride or joy in what you do? I like the opening statement from “Agile Software Development using Scrum” saying “work can and should be an ennobling experience” , this is so true but people forget this… I think SCRUM is a way of bringing this back, a sort of “re-ennobling” process.

Anyway, I was pleased to see the team engaging (for the most part, I’m not expecting miracles yet) each other about the backlog, I do find though that I need to continually poke them to get them to start up, but they seem to be getting the idea that it’s all in their hands. I do need to be careful not to interfere too much though. The team has now managed to break down the user stories into reasonably well defined tasks that they need to perform to achieve success in this sprint, tomorrow the first scrum will happen and the team will commence with their work.

I did notice a interesting thing though, we had several questions and ideas we wanted to try during the sprint (one of the stories is overly complex but cannot be decomposed) and after the meeting the team seemed to spontaneously “self organize” in such a way that people who were best suited to do this “investigation” in various parts of the system automatically started doing it, this without prompting or “managing” them in the correct direction, all this before the sprint actually started! I found that pretty amazing…Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

As a side note, I’ve thought about the potential impediments to the upcoming sprint:

  • Micro management and interference from management.
  • Priorities changing.
  • Outside interference from other projects.
  • Production issues.

I’ll need to deal with these as they come up. I may not make any friends, but I will make this sprint succeed…

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