Self Work Assignment vs. Architectural Integrity

Hi Michael,

I was part of your last Scrum training in NY. One of the questions that often comes up at my work place is self work assignment and architects input on those items. I’m an architect and managers of the engineering team. We have really promoted the idea of self work assignment and training people across various levels but at the same time senior members of the team and architects have really spent sleepless nights and implemented various services using proven patterns which should not be compromise with scrum and self work assignment.

We have created definition of done and we also update it but we can’t implement each and everything now.

What is the best balance between the both? I have studied scrum a lot and your class was excellent so I would like to keep learning and exploring various options and I’m sure there is some balance between the both.


[name withheld]

Without knowing the specifics, we generally recommend placing architects on Scrum teams with a mentoring role.  Pair programming can help ensure architectural integrity if you’re willing to pay the short-term reduction in efficiency.

In a properly functioning self-organizing team, team members manage each others’ behavior through negotiation.  Team members should prevent an unqualified person from doing a task alone.  Now the question becomes, “How do we create this kind of teamwork when our organizations are structured to encourage looking good for the boss instead?”

Hope that helps!


Download the pdf version: Self_Work_Assignment_vs_Architectural_Integrity_blog

Michael James

Michael James is a software process mentor, team coach, and Scrum Trainer with a focus on the engineering practices (TDD, refactoring, continuous integration, pair programming) that allow Agile project management practices. He is also a software developer (a recovering "software architect" who still loves good design).

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