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SIGS DATACOM Fachinformationen für IT-Professionals

Building Reliable Environments

München, 26. - 30. Januar 2015


Leading Self-Organizing Teams

Time:10:00 - 13:00
Session: Mo 5

During this highly interactive workshop, we’ll explore why self-organization is so valuable and different ways in which it can be fostered and supported by leaders; and we’ll also consider how, sometimes, they can unintentionally prevent it from happening. The attendees will be involved in practical, guided exercises that will let them experiment first-hand with the concepts presented. Many of these exercises can later be used inside their own organization as tools to improve the level of communication and participation in the team.

Target Audience: Team members, team leaders, managers, executives.
Prerequisites: Professional experience in a software development team.
Level: Practicing

You will learn:
The oxymoron in the title intentionally hints at the elusive nature of self-organization. This is why this workshop is based on hands-on practice, to let anyone in a leading position experience directly their influence on the team's ability to exercise their collective intelligence.

Extended Abstract:
We know that self-organization is a critical aspect of every successful Agile project; we also know that it’s based on trust, respect, openness and responsibility. So, why so many teams have such a hard time to fully achieve it? One reason is that self-organization changes the leader/team dynamics and the teammate/teammate ones. Resistance to this change may arise in different ways and the source is frequently rooted in mental models, such as: a latent blaming culture; confusing guidance and command; fear of taking responsibility or losing status; unconscious agendas; and, in general, not sharing the same goal.
Another reason is that self-organization requires that leaders think about the team and about the development process in a culturally different way, compared to the industrial (a.k.a. Waterfall) approach that the IT industry has been practicing for so long.
The industrial approach requires that things happen in a linear, predictable and standardized way, but this thinking is largely inadequate for the products we create, for the way we create them and for the complexity that we find in many software development projects. Effective self-organization becomes, then, a step forward in a better direction.
In software development, people are interconnected not just by means of their institutional roles but also by interactional and influential relationships, which all together create a web of very articulate dynamics.
For self-organization to really happen and manifest, these dynamics need to be clear and, also, we need to understand those factors that may block the interaction and commitment of the people participating in the project.