Beginning of the year, I have come across the following reports of such team self-design events.
- Self-Selection: The Self-Organising organisation
- Total Squadification – Large Scale Self-Selection
- How to Form Teams in Large-Scale Scrum? A Story of Self-Designing Teams
Freedom and trust...?
As soon as our company signalled that we would redesign our domains and products, but also have all our people redesign our teams around those products, people began to raise questions and express worries.
- "What if the team I want to work on is already full?"
- "What if it's decided my team is now located in a different city than I live in, but I don't want to relocate?"
- "What if the budget of my team is reduced so at least one former member has to leave the team?"
- "I was just hired for this team a month ago, what happens to me?"
- "What about people on vacation, on sick leave, or stuck in a traffic jam on that day?"
- "What about my salary if I change my role?"
- "Oh this whole self-selection thing is just fake, management will maintain control, they won't put that much trust in people."
What now?That wasn't it. After the event was before our so-called ignition period. Several products had been re-designed or even freshly added. Some teams were starting from scratch. Some teams split into two. Previously existing teams ended up with different members. Some people changed their role. It was obvious that we needed to consider a certain transformation period and invest in team liftoffs, as Diana Larsen puts it (check out her Agile Testing Days 2017 keynote to learn more).
Personally, I decided to stay with my former team, just like most of my teammates. However, we lost one of us to another team and did not get any new member. Still, we changed. So we decide to take this opportunity to form our team from scratch, to "re-ignite" it.
Right after the event, it was pretty hard not to fall back into old habits and just continue with "business as usual". We knew each other already, had all skills covered in the team, and could simply pick up the next backlog items to work on. On the third day after the event, we finally forced ourselves to pause for a moment.
- To learn more about our team and uncover what's hidden, we created a team canvas together. This workshop format helped a lot to share our thoughts, our values, our goals, what moves us, who we are - to find our own new team identity. We decided on what we want to achieve together as well as new working agreements.
- We moved to another room and took this chance to change our seating layout. We wanted to make it obvious that the team actually changed. To try something new. To get rid of table islands, foster team spirit and hopefully ease communication and even closer collaboration.
- We heavily brainstormed to select a new team name, logo, slogan, theme song, and more. This way, we learned a lot about us on a personal level which brought us a step closer together. We were surprised how hard it was to find something from popular culture that we all shared and loved, as we're quite diverse in any aspect.