Using Scrum & Agile to establish self-organizing, disruptive, high-performing teams

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Using Scrum & Agile to establish self-organizing, disruptive, high-performing teams

Reflecting on a couple decades of work in management consulting,  and especially on the past several years of going down different rabbit holes, I’m discovering how effective the Scrum framework and Agile Principles are in our work at Questis.   

Three areas are especially interesting to look more deeply into — self-organization, disruption, and high-performing teams.  

Self-organization:  “Knowledge workers have to manage themselves. They have to have autonomy”,  Peter Drucker states in his Management Challenges for the 21st Century.

Self-organization is a fascinating theory that has evolved out of many different areas, is found in nature, and is a centerpiece of Agile and Scrum.  As stated in the Scrum Guide, “self-organising teams choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team” (Scrum Guide). This autonomy is much more likely to emerge when a strong organizational culture, or the conditions for it, are also present.

Disruption, or I should say, Disruptive Innovation. Disruptors are innovators, but in a specific way. They are both makers and builders, but disruptors create some cognitive dissonance by literally uprooting and changing how we think, behave and do business.  Clayton Christensen talks about how disruption is at once destructive and creative. It displaces an existing market, industry, or technology while also producing something new, worthwhile and more efficient. At Questis, we are disrupting the financial services industry through our Higher Purpose: Positive Financial Outcomes for Everyone…not just the top 5% who can afford solid financial coaching.

High-performance:  High performing teams are characterized by group dynamics and interdependencies such as energy, creativity and shared commitment towards a common purpose. There is a palpable sense of engagement in these teams that is felt.  Donald Bodwell’s description resonates…

A class of team is evolving that has the potential of replacing traditional hierarchical structures with very flat, self-directed, cross-functional, organizations. Such teams are referred to as High Performance Teams. They are highly adaptive, difficult to build, expensive to maintain, and glorious to behold. So long as human beings remain the essential element of commerce, High Performance Teams will represent humanities best hope for developing accurate, swift, and agile organizations.

 

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