One of the fundamental aspects of Agile is the self-organizing
team. How does it differ from a Waterfall team? The concepts of developing working software, ensuring incremental delivery, and failing early, etc., all support the main idea of self-organizing teams. The product owner (PO), as part of the team, must understand the development team's point of view to realize the benefits of Agile.
Steps to create a self-organizing team
Change the terminology
ScrumMaster is the wrong term to use to describe the role. Perhaps Scrum Organizer
, Scrum Facilitator
, or Scrum Coordinator
After looking up the word "master" on The Free Dictionary
, the definition clearly contradicts the intended meaning and underlying philosophy of the ScrumMaster role.
ScrumMasters take ownership; they take responsibility; they deliver. They are facilitators and helpers who remove impediments.
Use the Daily Scrum to foster the self-organizing culture
Daily Scrum calls are the best tools to create and propagate the philosophy of a self-organizing structure. In Waterfall or any other model for project delivery, project managers schedule and attend the calls, and they also babysit. So begin training and mentoring the Scrum Team to take turns in conducting the Daily Scrum calls. Discuss the impediments internally. If the team cannot resolve them internally, then approach the ScrumMaster to facilitate a resolution.
Let the delivery team drive various ceremonies
The Scrum "Coordinator" can be the observer at the ceremonies. If any team member is not actively talking or contributing, talk to him or her in person and understand their perspective. Motivate them to participate in the calls.
Motivate the team during the sprint review
Ask team members to demonstrate the incremental software. This will motivate them more than anything else.
Hold individual sprint retrospectives
Occasionally, conduct individual members' retrospectives. This is not a formal ceremony, but it's needed to freely express issues to the team members, PO, or their own managers.
Let every team member, including the PO, say a few words about why velocity was or was not achieved and their recommendation or action plan to improve it.
Soft skills are essential in cultivating the self-organizing philosophy. The Scrum "Organizer" needs management's blessings to gain the benefits of Agile.