Leading a self-organising team

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  • 1. Copyright Mountain Goat Software 2009 Mountain Goat Software

2. Ziaan HattinghManaging Director Copyright Mountain Goat Software 2009 Mountain Goat Software 3. Jaco ViljoenSDLCConsultant Copyright Mountain Goat Software 2009 Mountain Goat Software 4. Copyright Mountain Goat Software 2009 Mountain Goat Software 5. Agenda Self-organisation and subtle control Containers, Differences andExchanges Influencing how the team evolves Situational agile leadership Copyright Mountain Goat Software 6. What is a self-organizing team?1. Self-organizing does not mean the team gets to decide what goal they pursue or even necessarily who is on the team (some self-organizing teams are given this responsibility)2. Self-organizing is about the team determining how they will respond to their environment (and managers/leaders can influence thatenvironment) Copyright Mountain Goat Software 7. Complex adaptive systemsA CAS is characterized by: 1. A dynamic network of many agents acting in parallel acting and reacting to what other agents are doing 2. Control is highly dispersed and decentralized 3. Overall system behavior is the result of a huge numberof decisions made constantly by many agents Copyright Mountain Goat Software 8. Some examples Ant colony or bee hive Flock of geese heading south Us right now A family preparing, eating, and cleaningup after a meal A crowd batched up to get into a concertor sporting event Cars and drivers on the highway A software team Copyright Mountain Goat Software 9. Control is not evil1. Simple rules or incentives are used to guide or direct behavior Drive this direction and on this side on thehighway.2. For bioteams, these are provided by nature Produce honey3. For our teams, Rules and incentives can be added by managers orleaders...or in some cases by team members Copyright Mountain Goat Software 10. Self-organisation does not mean that workersinstead of managers engineer an organisationdesign. It does not mean letting people do whateverthey want to do.It means that management commits to guiding theevolution of behaviors that emerge from theinteraction of independent agents instead ofspecifying in advance what effective behavior is.~Philip Anderson, The Biology of Business Copyright Mountain Goat Software 11. Although project teams are largely on their own,they are not uncontrolled. Management establishesenough checkpoints to prevent instability, ambiguity,and tension from turning into chaos. At the sametime, management avoids the kind of rigid controlthat impairs creativity and spontaneity.~Takeuchi & Nonaka Copyright Mountain Goat Software 12. To be sure, control is stillexercised; but, it is subtle andmuch of it is indirect. ~Peter DeGrace & Leslie Stahl Wicked Problems, Righteous Solutions Copyright Mountain Goat Software 13. What this is not1. Were not talking about Being deceptive or sneaky Manipulating people2. Nothing Im going to advocate needs to be secret But there may be reasons why youdont broadcast your reasons Copyright Mountain Goat Software 14. Agenda Self-organisation and subtle control Containers, Differences andExchanges Influencing how the team evolves Situational agile leadership Copyright Mountain Goat Software 15. ContainerA boundary within which Self-organisation occursCompany, project, team, city, role, nationalitySignificant Differences There must be differences among the agents acting in our system Technical knowledge, domain knowledge, education, experience, power, genderTransforming Exchanges Agents in the system interact and exchange resources Information, money, energy (vision) Copyright Mountain Goat Software 16. Using the CDE modelYou can influence how a team self-organizesby altering the:Containers formal teams, informal teams, clarify (or not) expectationsDifferences Dampen or amplify them within or between containersExchanges Insert new exchanges, new people, new techniques or tools Copyright Mountain Goat Software 17. Containers Enlarge or shrink teams Enlarge or shrink the responsibilityboundary of teams Change team membership Create new teams or groups Copyright Mountain Goat Software 18. Differences1. Dont require consensus Creativity comes from tension Quiet disagreement is not as good asfierce debate that leads to behaviorchange2. Ask hard questions Then expect teams to find solutions Copyright Mountain Goat Software 19. Transforming exchanges1. Encourage communication between teams and groups Who isnt talking who should?2. Add or remove people from exchanges Change reporting relationships Relocate people Compliance with external groups3. Encourage learning Copyright Mountain Goat Software 20. You are the ScrumMaster or coach... The next slides describes some teams with some trouble might help them by changing theirspots. Think about how youContainers, amplifying or dampening Differences, orchanging their Exchanges. For each case, identify at least one thing youd do. Note whether you are tweaking their Container,Differences, or Exchanges. (You might be affectingmore than one.) Copyright Mountain Goat Software 21. 1The team consists of four developers, two testers, a databaseengineer and you. The developers and testers are notworking well together. Developers work in isolation until twodays are left in the iteration. They then throw code over thewall to the testers.2The team is failing to deliver potentially shippable software atthe end of each iteration. None of the items they start are100% finished. Theyre close but work is always left to bedone in the next iteration. Copyright Mountain Goat Software 22. 3The team seems to be consistently undercommitting duringiteration planning. They finish the work they commit but itdoesnt seem like much. The product owner hasntcomplained yet but youre worried she will soon.4Your organisation has 20 different agile teams. Each teamhas its own testers who are starting to go in differentdirections in terms of preferred tools and approaches. Copyright Mountain Goat Software 23. Agenda Self-organisation and subtle control Containers, Differences andExchanges Influencing how the team evolves Situational agile leadership Copyright Mountain Goat Software 24. The self-organising path1. Self-organisation is not something that happens one time A team is never done doing it The team continually re-organizes in a sense-and-respond manner to its environment2. Leaders can influence-but not control or direct-this path Copyright Mountain Goat Software 25. Self-organisation proceeds from the premise that effectiveorganisation is evolved, not designed. It aims to create anenvironment in which successful divisions of labor androutines not only emerge but also self-adjust in responseto environmental changes. This happens becausemanagement sets up an environment and encouragesrapid evolution toward higher fitness, not becausemanagement has mastered the art of planning andmonitoring workflows.~Philip Anderson Copyright Mountain Goat Software 26. Variation, selection & retention1. Evolution is the result of three elements: Variation, Selection and Retention2. Consider a giraffe: Variation: A random mutation that leads to a longer neck Selection: The long neck helps it reach food others cant; so it is more likely to survive and breed Retention: The mutation is passed to its descendants Copyright Mountain Goat Software 27. Influencing team evolution 1.Define performance 2.Manage meaning 3.Evolve vicarious selection systems 4.Add energy 5.Reduce or absorb complexity 6.Create vacuums Copyright Mountain Goat Software 28. 1) Define performance1. The principle of selection tells us that the traits that help us survive will be the ones retained2. Managers and leaders send messages about which traits should survive3. What message is your organisation sending about the relative importance of short vs. long-term performance? What messages are sent if the organisation:1. Provides training2. Supports working at a sustainable pace3. Allows employees time to explore wild ideas4. Doesnt exchange meeting a deadline for unmaintainable code Copyright Mountain Goat Software 29. 2) Manage meaning1. Individuals in a CAS respond to the messages they receive; e.g., bees responding to a danger message ants responding to a food found over here message2. Leaders can push messages into the system e.g., putting the team in touch with customers3. Or keep messages out4. Meaning often comes from the stories, myths and rituals that are repeated We will become profitable this quarter. Our GM counts the cars in the lot every day at 5 PM Copyright Mountain Goat Software 30. Managing meaning Think of at least one story that is part of yourcorporate folklore What meaning does that story have aboutcompany principles, values, attitudes, orbehaviors? Copyright Mountain Goat Software 31. 3) Evolve vicarious selection systems1. VariationSelectionRetention Selection was determining which variations will be retained Can take a long time2. So we often use vicarious selection systems This is an animal that can smell that a food is poisonous, rather than eating it3. Using only the marketplace as our selection mechanism takes too long4. Organisation also evolve vicarious selection systems Retrospectives, Googles 20% policy, compensation Copyright Mountain Goat Software 32. 4) Add energy1. Unless energy is pumped into the system, entropy will set in2. Make sure the group has a clear, elevating goal or an igniting purpose3. Motivation Project chartering: Vision box, press release, magazine review, elevator statement4. Opportunity To learn, a bigger role, to go onto even better projects, and so on5. Information Customer visits, training, conferences, brown-bags Copyright Mountain Goat Software 33. May 25, 1995To: All Microsoft EmployeesSubject: Internet Tidal WaveThe Internet is a tidal wave. It changes therules. It is an incredible opportunity as wellas an incredible challenge. I am lookingforward to your input on how we canimprove our strategy to continue our trackrecord of incredible success. Copyright Mountain Goat Software 34. 5) Reduce or absorb complexity1. Reduce complexity Standardize work through routines, standards, policies, and procedures2. Absorb complexity Create relationships among people / departments to provide better access to information Copyright Mountain Goat Software 35. 6) Create vacuums Point out issues but dont point outanswers or expected solutions Let others step into this leadershipvacuum What keeps me up at night is this, that,and such-and-such. Copyright Mountain Goat Software 36. Agenda Self-organisation and subtle control Containers, Differences andExchanges Influencing how the team evolves Situational agile leadership Copyright Mountain Goat Software 37. Team readiness1. The coach or ScrumMaster is responsible for knowing the readiness of the team2. Think about each team in terms of Willingness to change Ability3. Different teams need different styles of leadership Copyright Mountain Goat Software 38. Assessing readiness level Readiness Ability Willingness Level UnableUnwilling or insecureR1 UnableWilling or confident R2Able Unwilling or insecureR3Able Willing or confident R4 Copyright Mountain Goat Software 39. Different leadership for differentteamsTeam is unable and R1Relationship Behavior ParticipatingSelling unwilling or insecure (R3)(R2)R2Team is unable butwilling or confident Team is able and R3 unwilling or insecureDelegatingTelling (R4)(R1)R4Team is able andwilling or confident(low)Task Behavior(high) 40. Readiness level 1 teams1. Unable & unwilling or insecure2. Need a telling leadership style Focus more on telling them what to do than on establishing relationships3. Cannot become immediately agile This isnt command-and-control4. Its getting a low morale team ready to change5. Team needs to develop confidence Copyright Mountain Goat Software 41. Building confidence in R1 teams This team cannot hit a home run project Try for small victories first instead Provide day-to-day task guidance Use short (12 week) iterations so they (andyou) can see how theyre doing Point out the improvements Build up foundational agile skills such as unittesting Get a nightly build running that emails nightlytest results Copyright Mountain Goat Software 42. Readiness level 2 teams1. Unable but willing or confident2. Need a selling leadership style Need to exhibit high task direction and highly supportive relationship behavior3. Main goal is increasing teams skills4. Can become agile5. Good coach / ScrumMaster shifts decision- making style Starts to rely on the team to make its own decisions Copyright Mountain Goat Software 43. Improving skills of R2 teams1. Have the team start making more of their own decisions Be a safety net if the decision is critical Good time to introduce retrospectives2. Stress that its OK to focus on quality of code over rapid typing Pair programming Test-driven development Copyright Mountain Goat Software 44. Readiness level 3 teams1. Able but unwilling or insecure2. Need a participating leadership style: Give less task direction Have team make more of their owndecisions3. Team will make some mistakes: So what?4. Team is probably truly in the agile space Copyright Mountain Goat Software 45. Helping the R3 team1. Team is manically focused on the trees So ScrumMaster / coach keeps an eye on the forest2. Watching the forest Look ahead planning What will the team need in 2 weeks? A month? Make sure sprints continue to build toward therelease plan Identify high-value work Put a project prioritization process in place Copyright Mountain Goat Software 46. Readiness level 4 teams1. Able and willing and confident2. Need a delegating leadership style: Low amount of task direction Low reliance on relationships to manage the team3. Team is undoubtedly agile: Highly skilled Self organizing Copyright Mountain Goat Software 47. Unleashing the R4 team1. No longer helping team make decisions Now helping them learn how to defer decisions2. ScrumMaster focuses on maximizing throughput Rather than meeting deadlines Traditional Project Manager thinks of a project like a 10krace ScrumMaster thinks of it as a 1-hour race Theres no finish line; clock runs out and you stop Copyright Mountain Goat Software 48. 48