Team Autonomy: A Necessity, Not Just a Nicety
April 27, 2021
Sarah Rose Belok & John Ragozzine, Certified Scrum Masters
Scrum teams perform at their best when given the trust to be self-managing, the freedom to decide how their work gets done, and clear goals for the sprint ahead. But what are the limitations on autonomy and what does it look like to protect it in the face of pressure from different stakeholders? In this episode, Sarah Rose and John discuss autonomy’s nemeses—like the micromanager and the illusion of democracy—in order to finally set the record straight: Scrum team members are not order-takers, overtime heroes, or planning poker lobbyists. There are clear ways to support team autonomy and obstacles that can be removed right away IF you know where to look!
Referenced this week:
- Controlling the uncontrollable: ‘Agile’ teams and illusions of autonomy in creative work. (Hodgson & Briand, 2013).
- Knowledge worker team effectiveness: The role of autonomy, interdependence, team development, and contextual support variables. (Janz, Colquitt, & Noe, 1997).
- Individual autonomy in work teams: The role of team autonomy, self-efficacy, and social support. (van Mierlo, Rutte, Vermunt, Kompier, & Doorewaard, (2006).
- Be transparent about where we're at. Only record show when we're both ready.
- Tell me where your head is at. This will help us adapt to our moods and tones.
- Share the mic. Push for equity of voice in recording and editing.
- Respect each other's privacy.
- Use 'I'. Avoid broad generalizations.
- Speak your truth. Stay positive, but honest.
- Ask WHY. If something's unclear, we push each other to clarify.
- We make decisions together. Nothing goes live unless we are both happy.
- We will make mistakes, tell me when so I can learn.
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