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 consequences and based on that react and adapt their behaviour and their actions as needed to reach the desired goal.


Self-Regulation is a required element for a well functioning self-organisation. Indeed one of the principles of the Agile Manifesto state:
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

The Lean principle Amplify learning suggests to increase feedback via short feedback sessions to support the continuous improvement, to better understand customers and project's needs, to learn how to better satisfy those needs and so adjust efforts for future improvements accordingly. Kanban is a Lean tool that helps here in many ways.




Why it’s  important to reflect, as individual and as team, at regular intervals?
This is because when our actions have consequences beyond our learning horizon, it becomes impossible to learn from direct experience.

What it means to become more effective?
For a team it means for example getting better in 
  • Completing team projects (i.e. quantity, rate and quality of the outcomes)
  • Fulfilling member needs (i.e. rewardingness from membership or from a member, commitment from members and to members)
  • Processing information and generating meaning (i.e. contribution of information from members, proportion of information held in common or uniquely by single member, proportion of information relevant to the tasks or socio-emotional)
  • Managing conflict and developing consensus (i.e. distribution between task and procedure and interpersonal conflict, expressed versus unexpressed conflict, escalation and de-escalation dynamic, level of implicit and explicit consensus)
  • Maintaining the structure and integrity of the team as a system (i.e. team social and task cohesiveness, patterns of interaction, of influence, of participation and of affect)
  • Motivating, regulating and coordinating member behavior (i.e. behavioral coordination about team norms and about errors and its speed/delay of the feedback)

Print | posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 3:37 PM

Comments have been closed on this topic.