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How Does Scrum Promote Self-Organization?

December 12, 2016

What Is Self-Organization?

“Knowledge workers have to manage themselves. They have to have autonomy,” says Peter Drucker.



Scrum Promotes Self-Organization

  • By specifying a lightweight framework: three roles, five events, and three artifacts.

  • By removing titles for the Development Team members. Everyone is equal, and there is no hierarchy within the Development Team.

  • By empowering the Development Team and determining the best way to accomplish its work.


Self-organization enables

  • creativity within the Scrum Teams,

  • accountability in the Scrum Team, and

  • people’s personal commitments to achieving the goals of the Scrum Team.


Self-organization is something that cannot be imposed on the team. Self-organization does not mean a free run where Development Team members can do whatever they desire. Self-organization happens by setting clear boundaries within which the empowered team members can organize their own work. Some factors that promote self-organization in Scrum are the following:

Trust: People in the team must be able to trust each other, communicate freely, achieve insights, and collaborate. Anything that is a barrier to achieving these should be removed.

Time-boxing: This Scrum rule helps focus and manage risks.

Fixed Sprint length: This factor helps with the consistent delivery of business value in every time-boxed Sprint.

Optimal Development Team size: A cross functional Development Team of three to nine members, as recommended in The Scrum Guide, helps remove unnecessary complexity and communication overhead.

Definition of “Done”: Creating transparency regarding the work inspected during the Sprint Review, it also en- ables everyone in the Scrum Team to have common shared understanding.

Scrum Values: The Scrum values of courage, focus, commitment, respect, and openness are embodied and lived by everyone.

This is one of the topics from my book - "Scrum Insights For Practitioners: The Scrum Guide Companion". Happy reading!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Self-organization.


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