The topic for this week’s Scrum Beer was self-management and self-managed teams. In the first half of the meetup, Karel shared his experience with self-managed teams in Brand Embassy.
We started with exploring the areas where the team is currently. Operations, 2nd level customer support, QA were mentioned first besides the obvious development and process management responsibilities. On top of that, the teams in the company are also responsible for hiring and firing decisions of members.
We also discussed some of the bumps on the road, e.g. how the teams are trying to solve a conflict between two developers who both have strong, but different opinions often. 🙂
The conclusion was that management is not something they would want to get rid of, but instead give it a supporting role so that the teams can manage themselves.
The second part was a simplified open space format for discussions about topics that the participants wanted to talk about related to self management.
The first topic I attended was about career and development in flat organizations. While I felt that we managed to address and discuss the main concerns, Ondra, who presented the topic, felt that we haven’t really found any suggestions/thoughts on tackling with these concerns that some people might have. What we discussed was that just because a team is self managed and flat, team members can still be given different levels based on various factors that the team might agree on. They might also agree on giving different titles in case they feel it’s necessary to expose difference in roles or experience if they see it fit. And depending on how the company deals with salaries and levels, flat, self managed teams can still promote members based on experience or strength (e.g. one person might be amazingly skilled developer, the other might be able to efficiently teach, help and support others etc.). The conversation was a bit theoretical though, due to lack of hands on experience.
I tried to summarize what I remembered about the model that Jakub Nabrdalik used in a Warsaw office as a Head of Development (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlpAAxCtEgg).
The next topic was about conflict solving diagram, where we took an example of an imaginary conflict (operations as part of teams or seperated) and tried to find a solution using this diagram.
I personally don’t yet see in what situations this diagram can help, but will try to keep the model in mind and experiment with it when it might be appropriate. 🙂
Last, but not least, the third session had the title “who coaches the coaches?” where we were discussing the problem of where can scrum masters/agile coaches get help, especially if they work alone in this role in an office.
We discussed that if there are others, it might be great to shadow each other, so that they can give and take feedback and learn from each other more efficiently and Milan, the “owner” of the session realized that he should visit and call the company’s other office more often, to keep a closer contact with the scrum masters there. Of course we turned it into a coaching session and had some fun with it.
We closed the session with a short retrospective revolving around food, drinks, beer and time boxing. 🙂
After the retro, part of the group continued talking (and drinking) in a pub nearby. All in all, the event was nice and I’m looking forward for the next one. 🙂