Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

You know these principles from the Agile Manifesto, but are you taking them as far as you can? In his book “Reinventing Organizations”, Frederic Laloux writes about organizations who have successfully pushed past conventional boundaries in three broad areas. One of those areas is self-management. Scattered around the world, and in a great variety of industries, the companies Laloux profiles have explored radical self-management, achieving incredible things despite removing all positional authority. Or, in English: rocking it with no bosses. This is challenging enough when you build a company with this approach from the ground up; but how do you make the shift in an established company? In this talk, I will focus on my company’s adventures to date in breaking through boundaries of self-management.

For those of you familiar with Laloux' book, here's a little more detail.  We were particularly inspired by the stories of FAVI, a French car parts foundry, and Buurtzorg, a Dutch home nursing organization.  We were impressed by the simplicity of their structure, and it appealed to us because they, too, work in small teams.  But we saw one major problem: the length of feedback loops.  In their businesses, the value chain--time from idea to delivery--is quite short.  But in education, the difficulty of finding time with users, the length of the procurement cycle, and the need to go through one-year or longer studies to verify the validity of our methods means that the value chain is extremely long.  We were wary of some of the heavier processes we had heard about in the Teal world, and wondered if we might forge some new ground: very lightweight process allowing true self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose in a team-based organization with long value chains. One piece of the puzzle was offered by the presentation given by Amber King and Jesse Huth at AgileDC 2016.  They talked about a process for teams to self-select across a larger organization.  I remembered their point that people made their choices first based on what was good for the organization at large.  But that left us with the question: how would people know what was good for the organization at large, especially with extremely long feedback loops?  We had seen people inadvertently go many miles down a bad road before; why would it be any different here? So, we launched a pilot aimed at exploring a few other key elements, which we hoped might fit together to build the lightweight solution we dreamed of.  In addition to offering some background for folks new to Teal, this talk is about the design, running, and results of that pilot, and some of the things we learned about ourselves along the way.


Outline/Structure of the Experience Report

  • Introduction to Reinventing Organizations and the Teal Breakthroughs
  • Self-Management Success Stories
  • Exercise: Advice Process
  • Two Major Hurdles
    • The Path
    • Value Chain Length
  • Exercise: Beliefs about people
  • Building around what you believe
  • Pilot Design
  • Results/Next Steps

Learning Outcome

  • Awareness of radical ideas some are trying
  • Understanding of the advice process
  • Ideas of how to take early steps
  • Results of experiment on teams with long value chains

Target Audience

Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Executives, Team Members

schedule Submitted 5 years ago

  • John Le Drew

    John Le Drew - Swearing, Nudity and Other Vulnerable Positions

    John Le Drew
    John Le Drew
    Rainbow Laces
    schedule 5 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins

    Over 3 months John recorded over 75 hours of interviews and spoke to some of the most respected people in the industry to produce an audio documentary that attempts to answer the question “What is safety? And why is it important anyway?”

    This highly interactive talk will present the findings and guide and challenge you through a journey to understanding safety. Including short interactive sessions and role play exercises to cover the following topics:

    • What is safety?
    • What are the elements that make a team effective?
    • Is psychological safety the foundation to team performance?
    • What can we all do to help foster psychological safety in our teams?
    • What is the relationship between safety, stress and engagement?
    • What is the profound impact of a lack of safety and engagement on society?

    This talk has grown as John created the new podcast The Agile Path. The first season on this podcast is about safety in teams. John has interviewed world renowned specialists in the field; Christopher Avery, David Marquet, Jerry Weinberg, Esther Derby, Johanna Rothman, Woody Zuill and many more in over 75 hours of audio. This has been a fascinating deep dive learning experience for John and he hopes to explore these insights with the audience.

  • Dan Neumann

    Dan Neumann - Experience a Red/Green/Refactor Coding Kata

    Dan Neumann
    Dan Neumann
    Sr. Agile Coach
    schedule 5 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins

    Have you heard people talking about Test Driven Development (TDD) but never tried it? Now is the time to try! This session will lead its participants through a programming challenge. Don't worry, it's safe. We're going to do a technical version of "follow the leader," where you will do the programming by following along with the session's facilitator. We'll debrief the exercise at the end. Please do bring a laptop or be willing to pair up with someone who does.

    We will use the Python programming language, and PythonAnywhere web-based environment to avoid setup and configuration activities. You do NOT need to know Python (or any programming) to participate.