One of the key phrases of Scrum is the self-organized team. Everybody is talking about it, but it’s difficult to understand it and hard to grow it. The self-organized team is an entity, which can decide how to handle the day-to-day tasks. In Scrum, it’s limited to “How should we organize ourselves so we can deliver the Sprint goal and Sprint Backlog to an agreed quality specified by Definition of Done”. In other words, the team should be able to decide who is going to work on which task, how they can help each other, when they need to learn something new, and how they prioritize their daily work in the absence of external authority.
Some teams believe that self-organization grants them unlimited power to decide on anything on the planet. Nonetheless, that isn’t what we have in mind when introducing the self-organized team in Scrum. Every self-organized team is only self-organized inside the given boundaries. Scrum boundaries are given by the process – limited by Sprint goals, backlog and delivering working product at the end.
If some team members are not happy with something, the whole team has to take action to discuss it, understand each other and, as a result, change their ways of collaborating and helping each other. The most important aspect is in the head of every individual. The good team comes with an attitude of “we” instead of “I”. “How can I help the team to solve it? What can I do for the others?” instead of “I don’t know anything about it. This is not my problem.”
The self-organized team is a living organism and every team member affects how strong or weak this organism is going to be. If you take over responsibility and start to be accountable for the self-organized team entity, instead of yourself as an individual, you are one step closer to the great team.
The ScrumMaster’s role is to support team rather than individual behavior. They must create such a team from individuals by reminding them that the team is an entity which exists and it’s more important than individuals. Team members must always be encouraged to start helping others, rather than hide behind their own tasks..