Scrum teams can exhibit an amazing behavior: a team of skilled individuals, in the face of a challenging problem, without management constraints, with scrum rules and a time-box in place, will rise to the occasion and work toward that problem in the most efficient way possible by organizing themselves. I have witnessed this self-organizing team quality and the emergent properties of such teams including heightened productivity and fun. But it’s a difficult thing to bottle and reproduce. We’re talking about team dynamics, people and personalities, management and environment issues that all contribute to or detract from this effect. Can a set of conditions be standardized that always lead to team self-organization?
Interestingly, as I recently learned from Mike Beedle, the concept of self-organization in Scrum can be described by the chaos/complexity theory phenomenon of self-organization. I feel a paper coming on… stay tuned.