I just listened to the PMI IS CoP webinar called The Illusion and Promise of Self-Organizing Teams. Points the presenter made:
- What we have is a spectrum with on one end the manager-lead team and at the other end the self-governed team (no manager). The self-organizing team lies in the middle.
- Lack of management support at every level
- Avoidance of team responsibility. Responsibility has to be part of the package.
- Death of empowerment. If they self-organize they have to have the power (and the responsibility that comes with it)
- Distrust. I think this is a pitfall in every environment self-organizing, self-governed or manager-lead
- Disrespect. Goes hand in hand with distrust; you don’t trust people you don’t respect.
- Not nurturing collaboration. Otherwise it is not a team.
- Impatience with continuous processes. Things do not appear fully formed, they evolve.
- Not cultivating a culture of learning. Again, you have to evolve.
- Lack of purpose and vision. People have to know why they are doing something. Money, passing time, etc., are not good reasons
- Create a compelling purpose and vision. Set the goal in a way that everybody is on board; what does this project solve, who/what benefits from the project.
- Nourish passion. The purpose and the vision is a team activity (otherwise it is manager-led, no?). Spoke about the 5-why technique (Ideo started this I believe) as a way to drill down on purpose and vision.
- Define project success. Some think this means a project that ends on time and on budget; that is simplistic. For example, a project ends on time and on budget but delivers an outcome that does not benefit anyone.
- Develop cross-functional teams. Broadens the horizons; it works but it can’t be maintained, most people give up before reaching the end of a purchase (for example)
- Empower. I personally hate the term but I take it as remove the road block a command and control approach can create. A leader doesn’t need to take EVERY decision and probably isn’t the best person to take EVERY decision.
- Get the team to accept the responsibility and accountability. Help members along because leadership starts with individual leadership.
- Acknowledge contributions, results, and performance. I reversed the speaker’s order because sometimes the flow of the project may mean that a contribution ends up on the cutting room’s floor. Celebrating results and performance are strong motivators
Pretty good webinar that speak about a number of reason why Agile teams sometimes are Agile just in name and how to walk the walk. I love that the speaker did not picture Agile and self-organizing teams as panaceas but rather an alternative that can work you if you really try.
What do you think? As always questions and comments are welcome.
Connect with me on LinkedIn. I am a LinkedIn Open Networker (LION); you can use “Friend” to add me to your network.