March 2014 Blog Posts

Self-organisation without self-regulation, a recipe for chaos

This post is from the series of posts on Self-Organisation. First time I experienced an Agile lego game it was playing the Leadership game: we had been asked to form 3 teams and then we had been given a goal to pursue. We worked in time-boxed iterations, and at the end of each iteration we reflected how to become more effective, even with the freedom to move to another team if that could be more useful. In other words we had been asked to Self-Regulate: team members have early and frequent feedback in order to perceive the connection between actions and the...

Managing without impeding self-organisation

From the series of posts on Self-Organisation. I used to play football and basketball with friends every now and then in the afternoons after school. We formed 2 teams with the same size and with players filling the basic roles required for the game. We were free to self-organise guided and constrained by the teams size and roles. Teams size and roles defined our boundaries/barriers. In a self-organising team there are many boundaries/barriers that can be set and tweaked. This excerpt from Joseph Pelrine training material describes boundaries/barriers: They define the edges of the system, who is in and who is out. By changing the barriers of the system,...

Let people self-organise

From the series of posts on Self-Organisation. When you have attended a workshop, training or other events that involve group activities you probably have heard something like: now form two groups/teams and then ... In this sentence there is the 1st prerequisite to self-organisation: let people do it. It start with a purpose: some work that needs to be done. A principle of the Agile Manifesto states: The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.   Another principle from the same manifesto states: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. While it seems easy to let...

Motivations and prerequisites for self-organisation

During this information age some projects can face higher levels of inherent complexity.  As ambiguity, uncertainties and unknowns increase, our ability to predict is diminished, no matter how good you are and how hard you work. Change can be faster and sometimes viral, levels of interdependence can be higher and available information can be incomplete and fragmented. Working practices, people skills and expertise, tools and work organisation must all adapt to and fit specific project needs. Cross-functional self-organising crews and teams that work together from "concept to cash" have a higher capability to absorb and deal with more complexity, can respond to change faster and better, are more resilient to failure and misfortune, can organically grow and scale and naturally...