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Even though the concept of a self-organizing team has been propagated as part of the Agile drive, there is really no clear definition in the documentation of the best or even such a team. However, the underlying premise of such a team is that it would produce optimum results. As a leading Software Testing Services Company we understand the importance and benefit of such a company, and have made an attempt to put together an understanding of the critical self-organizing team.
A Self-Organizing Team
From the name it seems simple to understand that such a team would work cohesively and towards meeting a predetermined mission and future vision. Such a team, while having a certain level of a decision making authority, would simultaneously have the onus of their working style and evolving a collaborative system of working. In the realm of software testing services, a self-organizing team would plan and strategize from the bottom up level, rather than the typical top down method. Such a team would have a system to determine and balance workload, ensure a proactive approach to work and problems, and ensure that all measures are geared towards achieving the objectives.
A self-organizing team operates differently to other teams – continuous improvement is the objective. As experts in the realm of QA, we understand the importance of teams that can function autonomously and yet produce the desired results. Our team is constantly organizing and evolving to manage their work, with the least amount of control and supervision. This in turn drives efficiency and optimum management of work since each member remains open to clear communication. A self-organizing team consistently enhances its skills, asks the right questions, and collaborates to get an increasing amount of work from existing and new clients. Additionally, members of such a team assign work amongst itself rather than waiting for the manager / supervisor to tell them what to do.
How do Agile Teams Self-Organize?
Each Agile team would have a different approach to organizing their work and would use the experience of all those in the team to move towards success, rather than depending on the knowledge of their manager. Such teams take complete ownership of their work and the possible problems and challenges. It seems a bit far-fetched that unrelated and disconnected individuals put together would be able to work cohesively and form a self-organizing team. However, that is the underlying premise of such a team – that the individuals comprising it would be carefully selected and would have a common goal. This selection process would be a critical responsibility of the management – proper deliberation, analysis of personalities and skills – to ensure proper group dynamics. We at Codoid use the following criteria to ensure that our teams are self-organizing in essence:
Members from All Disciplines
A team that consists of members from cross-disciplines and skills would be larger than wanted, but every skill required to take an idea to reality would be necessary. With time, however, some team members should and must develop a wider range of skills, allowing for other team members to move on to other teams / projects. This is a great way to utilize existing skills and grow the skills of each member.
A Mix of Technical Expertise
A single team must never have members with the same level of technical expertise. It is important to balance the skill levels such that all the workload is properly divided. The skills of a highly experienced programmer for example, would be wasted on coding features with low impact, while a less skilled member would not be able to deal with the higher level complexities. Such a balanced mix would also be required when looking at those with domain knowledge.
Ensure a Diverse Team
While ensuring diversity would mean considering race, culture, gender, and skills, it also means putting together individuals who have varied yet innovative ways of thinking about and approaching problems and challenges. Team diversity would mean looking at individuals depending upon how much data they would require before arriving at effective and practical decisions.
Cohesiveness and Communication
Random members would take a lot of time before they start working collaboratively. When putting together an Agile team, it would make sense to put team members who would have worked together in previous projects. Additionally, matching communication styles and personalities would also help to quickly ensure cohesiveness and common purpose.
There is no doubt that putting together a self-organizing team in Agile is an extremely challenging task. It requires patience and time, and the expertise of a senior person to coach and facilitate all the factors mentioned to ensure a ‘well-oiled’ self-organizing team. The process of building and maintaining such a team therefore is ongoing – hence it would be better to align your business with an experienced vendor with a self-organizing team. Connect with us to gain all these advantages and more.