An extraordinary story of deeply troubled department turning into a true self organising team of teams

location_city Bengaluru schedule Mar 20th 02:15 - 03:00 PM place Neptune people 99 Interested

It’s not too easy have agility at individual level especially when that person has a lot ot unlearn, it’s then very hard to scale that out to a team, and extremely hard for larger groups such as a business department or entire organisation. And yet when you do unleash that, the upside is definitely unproportional to the effort and hardship, and surprisingly, it’s actually not THAT hard.

You might have heard self-organising / managerless teams, but it’s less likely you’ve actually experienced one. You may have experienced Agile in the most form of Scrum, but it’s not likely you’ve even heard of a Scrum team who doesn’t even need daily standups. In this talk you’ll see how a radical thought of organisational structure turned into reality, and what it is like to witness a team of teams transformed from brokenness to approaching the realm of organisational nirvana in just a year.


Outline/Structure of the Case Study

  1. The cost of dis-engagement ($70 billion per year in Australia), with complaint quotes, and real issues the teams were experiencing. Anecdotes with short real stories, aim to let the audience to resonate with emotional connection. Also aim to explain with examples of the ‘brokenness’ and ‘trauatizedness’ of the team before the transformation journey.
  2. The alternative - 8 trends of practices from corporates around the world that consistently demonstrated not only more loyal employees but also directly translated to happier customers and up to 300% profit increase. Ask the audience question: where do you want to be in this trend? Join it, or against it?
  3. That looks like a great picture, but how?
    1. how we turned a team with heavy tech-centric and strong top-down authority into a booming self-organising team, few key points:
      1. Dealing with slackers of the team
      2. Retaining good team members thinking of leaving
      3. Boss has spoken, to listen, or not to listen?
      4. Building an open, vulnerable, and trusting team culture
      5. Teaching the team to deal with conflicts
      6. Helping team to realize and accept real power - what about the one person who is very capable and very helpful and very respected and very controlling?
      7. Diving down into people’s hearts and fundamental thinkings
      8. Culture experimentations - this led to things like “no need for standups”
    2. how we scaled that, even to non-IT teams, and turned that into a self-directing team without the need of manager, few key points:
      1. Each team is different, and they learn differently
      2. Teaching Agile way of working to teams who have no IT development knowledge or experience (it’s contact centre and content management teams with top IT skill being Excel)
      3. Building deep connections with various types of diversities including age, LGBT, and vast personality splits bordering mental health conditions
      4. Clearing the environment so that people and teams can grow, and they did, to the point of a team voting NOT to hire a manager when the current manager decided to take 12 months off her career for travelling (and the team put up a 300 piece jigsaw map of Australia to track her route!)
      5. Supporting a manager-less team
  4. The benefits we observed, e.g.
    1. completely turned around reputation of none-delivery to consistently deliver ahead of schedule
    2. productivity increased to 189%
    3. multiple employees said in multiple occasions “this is the best team I ever worked with”
    4. team trust NPS jumped from -11% to +81% and remains thereabout
    5. a none IT team took on a very technical system upgrade project with huge success, contact centre operators educated themselves to such a technical excellence that’s on par with external consultants previously hired and even got invited by them for a talk in forum
    6. team gone managerless with unprecedented eagerness to participate...
  5. Call to action - what you can do now!

Learning Outcome

  1. Self-organising team is possible and actually not THAT hard
  2. The 8 trends of corporate practices
  3. The steps and key elements to build a self-organising team
  4. The tangible benefits of self-organising team every company can achieve

Target Audience

Leaders who are interested in building and supporting self-organising team, in minimising bureaucracy, in fostering genuine culture that triples engagement and subsequently productivity

Prerequisites for Attendees

Preferably in managerial role and with Agile experience, but not essential.

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker
  • Shashikumar singh
    By Shashikumar singh  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Hello William,

    Thanks for submitting your proposal on " An extraordinary story of slum dog department turning into a true self organising team of teams " 

    Will it be possible for you to share some previous presentations slides which you would have done , Draft Slides of this presentation or any video link of your presentation.

    As it will help us to do review of your proposal.


    Shashi K Singh 

    • William Feng
      By William Feng  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Shashi, 

      Thanks for the comment. 

      Regarding the slides, though I have just started proposing this talk to various forums, I have not yet prepared the presentation slides as of now. I had discussed some contents with almost every keynote speaker of Agile Australia this year (e.g. Jeff Smith, Steven Denning just to name a few), almost everyone encouraged me to prepare a talk or even write a book about it, but I have not had the chance to settle down and put my effort into that as yet. So unfortunately I don't have what you're asking as of now, and knowing the proposal window is finishing soon, I'm aware this may reduce the chance of the topic being selected.

      Let me know what you think and help me to decide if I'd rather scram a bit to produce some draft slides.



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