Using Consistent Objectives to Enable Self-Organization of Teams Across an Enterprise

The context for team work often varies from team to team. As a result, the practices they need to use must be allowed to vary to fit the context. You want to allow this. One way to do this is to define consistent objectives for teams and allow them to define practices to meet those objectives.

Facilitates teams working together

Consistent objectives makes it easier for teams to work together for these reasons.

  • Business Alignment. Business needs drive everything in any organization, and therefore teams align their work to a common vision from the business side.  Because all of the Product Owners or equivalent backlog owners of all the teams are using MBIs to guide them, it is easier to achieve alignment when conflicts arise.
  • Local prioritization within Business prioritization. Teams use a consistent approach to determine what’s important for them to work on, and do so within the context of the business priorities.
  • Velocity. Teams measure velocity in a similar way so that it can be used for cross-team forecasting, planning, and coordination.
  • Collaboration. Teams work together to plan, create, and integrate.  By creating a bigger picture view, teams focus on MBIs, not just their own individual backlog items in isolation. This creates a bigger team-of-teams mindset.
  • Systems Thinking. Teams understand that local optimization is not as important as sustainable global optimization, and they set sustainable global optimization as the goal for any local optimizations. Therefore, local optimizations must be made within the context of the bigger picture, and must be sustainable in order for global optimizations to be sustainable.

Allows  consistent on-boarding process

Since all teams would be implementing the same intentions, albeit in their own way, an on-boarding process would be designed to take advantage of the intentions of what a team needs to do. This would be consistent for all teams. This would also set the standard for any new teams, in that what they had to do is preset but they are allowed to do it however they want to.

Enables people to transfer between teams more easily

Each team would only need to make new individuals aware of how they are doing things different. Also, because we recommend making workflows explicit on all teams, regardless of the practices they use, it will be easier for people moving to a new team to discover the new team’s workflow.

Ensures management has the visibility they need

Whatever it is that management truly needs to see will be one of the requirements that all teams need to manifest, albeit they can implement how they want to.

Promotes learning between teams

Teams are trying to accomplish the same things but are doing it in different ways. When a new way is discovered, or a team decides the intention of an existing approach is wrong, they can convey this to other teams so that the entire community of teams learn from this. Because teams are focused on the same intentions, there is more ground for common conversations and learning. This also helps avoid each team thinking they are so different from other teams that they cannot learn from other teams or cannot share what they learned with other teams.