(18/19) Self-management

In this video, Ryan emphasises the importance of self-management in Scrum, illustrating it as the core mechanism allowing Scrum Teams to decide autonomously on their work processes and tasks. This self-governance is essential for swift decision-making and adaptation within the complex environment of product development.

Self-management is grounded in trust, a prerequisite for a team’s ability to experiment, learn rapidly, and evolve. Without this foundational trust, fear of failure can stifle innovation and responsiveness. Ryan points out that a culture embracing ‘fail-fast’ principles is not just beneficial but necessary for effective self-management, fostering a conducive environment for the empirical feedback loop essential in Scrum. Several factors influence a team’s ability to self-manage effectively. Ryan discusses how organisational hierarchy can impact team dynamics, potentially hindering self-management if senior members dominate decision-making. He advocates for an ‘equal’ approach within the team to enhance collective decision-making and responsibility.

Skill diversity within the team also plays a crucial role. Rather than individuals owning specific tasks due to their expertise, the team should collaborate on all aspects of the Sprint work, embodying true cross-functionality. This collaboration ensures that decisions are not siloed but are made collectively, with each team member contributing to the conversation. Transparency about the Product Goal and the criteria for its success is another critical element. A clear understanding of what is required enables the team to make informed decisions about the adaptations needed to meet their objectives. Effective communication is paramount in supporting self-management. Smaller team sizes facilitate better interaction and alignment, enabling the team to stay agile and responsive to change.

Ryan concludes by reiterating that self-management is a pillar of Scrum’s success. It allows teams to be nimble, make informed decisions, and learn from their actions, reinforcing the iterative, incremental nature of Scrum. Empowering teams to self-manage is not just about granting them autonomy but about creating a culture where experimentation and learning from failures are valued, driving continuous improvement and effectiveness.