Self Forming Scrum Teams? Chaos or Harmony?
Has this ever happened to you at work? One day you are happily working on a project, and the next day you and your colleagues are brought into a room, told that you are not necessarily working on your project any more, then are asked to self form onto one of four new teams for the next year or two.
The Bank of Canada is a crown corporation that is not known for having an appetite for unchartered territory. We have, nonetheless, decided that we would try to adopt the Agile mindset and move away from the more traditional waterfall methodology. This decision had been endorsed by the higher levels of management and many initiatives were undertaken to achieve this shift of methodology.
Part of the agile mindset is to create strong teams: strong in their constitution and strong in their results. There are many ways in putting those teams together but one of the most extreme (we thought) is to have the team members self-select onto the teams they will join. With much reflection and discussion, and lobbying from our agile coaches, we proceeded with a “self-selection” exercise to form teams. “Self-selection” is a team forming practice pioneered and popularized by Sandy Mamoli in New Zealand. It’s literally unheard of in North America. We decided to give it a try.
We’ll share with you the gory details, the positive and negatives, lessons learned, and general impressions. Basically, we’ll let you know whether that immersion into the water was a belly flop or a precision executed dive with very little splash.
Our organization supports applications for a few departments and we decided about 2 years ago, to adopt more of an agile methodology to provide better value at a faster pace. As part of adopting agile principles, we debated really hard amongst the Management Team whether we wanted to put ourselves “at risk” by allowing the teams to self-select in teams based on a few specific rules.
After deciding to go “all-in”, we experienced a self-selection process with about 30 employees and have lived with the results for the last 18 months or so.
We will share with attendees the process that led us to decide to go with self-selection. We will also share the “aftermath” from a staff and management perspective, as well as other takeaways. This is all just in time for our next self-selection exercise.
No specific level of Agile knowledge required. This is an opportunity to look at an extreme of how agile teams can be formed, given the work environment that dominates in the Gatineau-Ottawa region.
Our goal is to share and take any questions about our experience. There will likely be 2 presenters and no special set-up would be required at this moment.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES / TAKEAWAYS:
- Understand what some implications could be of a self-selection exercise.
- The impact such an exercise has on the cohesion of resulting scrum teams.
- Is self-selection for our organisation? And if so, how you could get started.