Richard Bucker

Self organizing teams are costly in other areas

Posted at — Sep 5, 2012

The Agile process is suppose to accomplish a number of things. Sustainable development is only one of them and that truly depends on the team. The challenge, however, is that “team” is not a static thing. Employees leave and join teams regularly. Whether by normal attrition or because of success in the business and the anticipated or realized workload. Sometimes it’s a matter of cross training members in other teams that could benefit from knowing more about the whole instead of just a few parts.But one of the tenants of Agile is that the teams are supposed to be self organizing and that suggests that teams are self regulating as well as adapting the process as the team sees subtle or obvious customization. And it is this customization of the Agile process that I’m concerned about. For example when you are RUP trained you can be interchanged from one RUP team to another so that you can concentrate on the domain specific challenges on not the internal processes.Furthermore, since Agile teams are flat relative to traditional organizations it promotes the notion that advancement comes from moving horizontally instead of vertically. Unfortunately moving horizontally has it’s challenges when moving internally and externally. It too becomes another system to game.The only constant is change… –Issac AsimovIf you have been in this business long enough you have come to expect change as a fact of life. However, in a physics context; change causes friction, friction causes head, heat causes premature aging… etc. And let’s not forget excessive heat. So the point I’m circling around is that Agile is it’s own worst enemy. Yes the glossary is fairly similar but the execution is not guaranteed.