Entrenched micro-management culture makes life of a self organizing Agile team very difficult. Senior people many ogrganizations like to pass orders down to the Agile Teams instead of setting direction and goals and letting the teams self organize. Many Agile teams struggle with self organization, rather self organization is one of the most difficult practical aspect of Agile and Scrum.
The culture of micromanagement runs deep in the organiztions. It rears its ugly head time and again even in the organizations which have adopted Agile. This stops self organization in its tracks.
It is hard to resist the urge to tell the Agile teams exactly how that specific problem must be solved. It’s even harder to resist when things start to head south. It’s when the fire fighting instincts take over and solutions are thrusted upon the Agile teams. Self organization takes a back seat.
In many cases, senior people in the organization don’t like to become an ordinary Agile team member. They think they will lose their significance. Normally, these are rather skilled people. They like to discuss the big picture, they like to do design and architecture work, but they don’t like to be part of the Agile team doing the work. They like to come up with roadmaps, solid design and architecture ideas, usually upfront Then they handover this to their ‘Agile team’ to deliver. They like to issue their orders from their ivory towers.
In such cases, bulk of the decisions and commitments about requirements, architecture and design are thus made early on in the project. In a fast changing market, new and emerging requirements mean that the upfront analysis and design work often lead to waste, and inflexible systems with very high cost of change. Increasing number of changes needed in design and implementation while dealing with the design decisions made upfront make the life of the ‘Agile team’ very hard.
When the changes are needed, the Agile Team finds it politically hard to change the architecture and design that was provided to it by influential architects and decision makers. This causes rifts between the Agile team doing the work, and people sitting in their ivory towers passing on instructions to the Agile team. This situation hampers any self organization aspect of the Agile Team and limits the ability of the Agile team to inspect and adapt.
Learn more about Agile, Scrum and Self Organizing Teams in our Agile and Scrum courses.