Team Life Cycle – Self Org possible?

Initial Scrum Under Siege podcast talks about trying to get a team to self organization.

Oh the life of a pirate. Open seas. Plenty of sunshine. Late nights and late mornings. Sure you got to swab the poop deck from time to time, or you might a bad case of scurvy but no one is asking you to explain “What did you do yesterday? What are you doing today? What are you planning to do tomorrow?”. Taxes? We don’t pay no stinking taxes.

Pirates were to a certain degree self organized. I’m not saying they delivered value. In fact they generally delivered death and many other forms of badness. One thing they didn’t stand for was anyone telling them what to do (besides their captains). Yes Sir Francis Drake was loyal to his queen, but she didn’t micromanage him. He plundered the Spanish the way he wanted to plunder the Spanish.

Statute of Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake got a lot of his stories to Done but people didn’t like his retros.

Yet in the end, I wouldn’t say they ever truly self organized. They were a just a bunch of lunatics sailing around doing their own thing. And in the end they were always caught, tried and executed.

Self organized teams is a popular concept in agile. It’s a great goal for a Scrum Master to coach a team towards self organization. It’s not as easy as the textbooks say. Lots of things need to be in place or happen in order for a team to truly be self organized. What should you do if the agile team is not trending towards self organization?

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