Self-organizing Team - the Last Unicorn
Autonomous and self-organizing team is the basic rock of the agile framework. But sometimes it seems to me that it is too vague and has nothing to do with reality. Even better, it is the matter of desired goal – “to become autonomous and self-organizing”. It is definitely not the matter of beginnings, when team is like a bunch of chaotic electrons and protons and project manager is like a “daddy”, who distributes tasks and says what to do & how to do it. Developers are sleeping in their comfort zone and for them project manager is like a soft pillow who takes all the responsibility. Ok, maybe not a pillow, but an air bag that will amortize every disturbance.
I believe that not every team has the ability to take a responsibility of being autonomous and self-organizing and often need an intervention from the outside in the deus ex machine style. It is good when sometimes project manager push the button and decides about team internal structure and roles. It takes time to understand that the team itself, not the manager, has a power to change something. And this way, step by step, team is changing, re-allocate its roles and structure. And all that without project manager assistance.
But I must say, autonomous and self-organizing team is still a vague ideal from agile books. Because, in the reality, making a good team is like never ending process of repeating failures and successes. An autonomous and self-organizing team is much more connected with fairy tales character like last unicorn - everyone knows it exists but nobody ever have seen it.
Development team is like a boat which sails “under the permanent construction” in the open sea.