Welcome!

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Machine Learning , Release Management

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Self-Organizing Agile Team - Is it a Toutology?

In real life will you always have the luxury to select the right team?

Statement (A): We know that some teams which have self-organized itself is much more productive compared to a team with similar set of members where the team organization has been prescribed from outside.

Statement (B): Self- organizing teams will always outperform an equivalent team with an imposed organization.

Is there a difference between the two statements or am I only playing with words?

Actually, the difference is enormous – and – of great practical significance.

To prove statement (A) we need to show examples of self-organizing team outperforming teams which are not self-organizing. Even examples of increase of team productivity through transition from traditional structure to self-organization mode will be sufficient.

On the other hand proving statement (B) is much more difficult – if not impossible.

Even one example of a traditional team being more productive or a fail attempt to improve productivity through self-organization will be sufficient to disprove the statement.

What is the difference between (A) and (B)?
Incidentally, if (B) is true then (A) has to be true – while the reverse is not correct.

Statement (A) can be restated as:

“…SOME self-organizing teams can be significantly more productive…”

And the statement (B) can be reworded as:

“…EVERY team can benefit from self-organization…”

Look at the emphasis on SOME and EVERY – that is the difference between (A) and (B). We can be reasonably sure that (A) is true, but what about (B)?

What happens if (B) is true?
If every team can benefit from self-organization than all you need to do if understand how to achieve it – what are the “do’s and don’ts”? Since most (all?) experts in agile community makes this assumption, there are enough advices available on how to achieve it.

Your task becomes much simpler. Not that it is easy to get a traditional team to self-organize it is much simpler compare to the alternative where you have to decide if the team will be capable of benefiting from self-organization.

What if (B) is not true?
When I say (B) is not true, what I mean is there CAN be teams which will not improve its performance by becoming self-organizing and the performance may even come down.

Let me just rephrase the above statement:

“…there are examples of team which has failed to self-organize or their performance has gone down after self-organization…”

I am sure you can find such examples and I don’t think it would be too difficult to do so.

It is possible to analyze these failures and point out what mistakes were made in the approach and give recommendation on how to avoid such pitfall. However, if the recommendation contains any one of the following then we may be indirectly accepting the fact that (B) is false.

Does it say that the Scrum Master was interfering too much with the working of the team? Does it say that the team needed more time to self-organize? Does it say that some member of the team was too dominating? Does it say that some of the key members of the team could not get along with each other? Does it say that some of the team members were too inexperienced?

In short, is there in suggestion that the team composition or the scrum master needs to be changed or they alter their attitude significantly?

This is as good as saying that this team – given its current composition – cannot self-organize.

In real life will you always have the luxury to select the right team?

  • What if you the team composition is given and cannot be changed?
  • What if the project time frame is too short to get people to change their attitude?
  • What if you cannot find more experienced people?
  • What if your key technical person has an attitude problem?
  • What if two key members of the team cannot get along with each other?

Such things happen in real life – so what should you do? Do you change the composition of the team and try to create a self-organizing team or do you resort to some amount of command and control?

Finally…
Depending on how you answer the previous question and how firm a believer are you on the effectiveness of self-organization – you can do one of the two things while starting a new project with a new team:

  1. No matter what, you assume that the team will self-organize and work towards that.
  2. You take a pragmatic view of the team composition and decide how much the team can self-organize and how much command & control is needed.

I am sure you would have guessed that I have a leaning towards the second option.

More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting
Google

Latest Stories
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, will highlight the current challenges of these transformative technologies and share strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” will outline the latest trends and developm...
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
"Avere Systems is a hybrid cloud solution provider. We have customers that want to use cloud storage and we have customers that want to take advantage of cloud compute," explained Rebecca Thompson, VP of Marketing at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.