InfoQ is publishing a series of articles on Self Organizing teams by Sigi Kaltenecker & Peter Hundermark. This is three part series. First part is titled as “What Are Self-Organising Teams?”. This is one of the finest I have ever encountered. But I have my own doubts about the details provided in the article.
1. Article quotes Richard Hackman & Authority Matrix published in 2001-02. Is Authority Matrix granular enough? Consider a simple example. The third element on the horizontal axis of Authority Matrix is “Self designing teams”. If we closely scrutinize this element we will notice that it can be broken into two only by varying one factor – Selection of the members for the team. This authority may be within the team or may rest with outside authority (Think of hiring contractors, outsourcing, offshoring, etc.). I am sure you can think of more factors. In my view instead to limiting human/team behavior in a few boxes, it should be represented as some type of continuum.
2. Article talks about all the advantages of Self Organizing teams but fails to highlight the dangers of Groupthink. Two recent examples of Groupthinks in self-organizing teams are– Indian Judicial appointments by Collegium and Bush Administration. If there are pit falls in self-governing teams, there should be proper checks and balances in place.