Self-Organizing and Self-Managing Scrum Development Teams - dummies

Self-Organizing and Self-Managing Scrum Development Teams

By Mark C. Layton

The key word here is ownership. Self-organizing and self-managing teams develop ownership in what they do. With a scrum development team, this is part of what creates such efficiency and success. The visibility and acknowledgment of hard work increases drive.

Visibility and performance are directly correlated. Increase performance by increasing visibility.

One technique sometimes used is to have two (or more) development teams. Synchronize their sprints so that the sprint reviews happen at the same time on the same day. Then, invite an executive to come to both sprint reviews randomly for a few minutes and have them ask at least one question before leaving.

Each development team knows that their performance will have executive visibility, and they all want to look good. Historically, they might not even have been given credit for the work they did. Now they can produce a product that they can be proud of. They’re on stage getting all the credit. This is hugely motivating and increases drive and buy-in.

Ownership and, therefore, accountability are increased in a scrum development team in the following ways:

  • The development team is directly accountable for the deliverables that they create. This isn’t always easy on them because visibility brings intrinsic pressure to perform, but this visibility also creates ownership.

  • Cross‐functionality creates ownership because there isn’t any “my job versus your job.” Everything is “our job.”

  • Because the whole scrum team is held accountable, individual performance is increased. Everyone wins as a team, and everyone contributes to the success of every sprint.

  • The development team actively participates in creating the sprint goals and demonstrating the working functionality during the sprint review.

  • The development team is responsible for tactical status reporting every single day. In less than one minute of administration per day, the organization will get a level of tactical status reporting that they’ve never had before.

Development teams perform best when they’re stable. Feed them projects, and give them what they need to do their best possible work. Every time you have to switch members on your team, it takes time to stabilize again. Protect your development team to nurture good dynamics.

Cognitive Consistency Theory describes our tendency to seek out information, beliefs, and stimuli that are consistent with our current set of beliefs and attitudes. In scrum, if development team members have a voice, and if they have buy-in and control, they will strive harder to achieve their work-related goals. They will try to find consistency between the ownership that they have created and their future output.