The concept of self organization for agile teams is frequently discussed, with one excellent take being this from my colleague Sanjiv Augustine (which focuses on the question of whether agile teams need traditional management and how to apply light touch leadership).

This post focuses on simple practical rules (you may call them practices) for self organization.  Every team is different, so these are just samples but I believe they provide a practical perspective that I have not seen enough of (please comment if there are other posts that provide practical guidance on self organization).

Sample Rules (or Practices)

  1. As a team member, I will contact the ScrumMaster if we can tweak a user story, to maintain its business value, while reducing time, cost or risk associated with implementing that user story.
  2. As a team member, when I complete my work, on a task, I will either help another team member, or start a new task, depending on what will most likely allow us to deliver the maximum value in a Sprint.
  3. As a team member, I will provide honest and open feedback to my peers, to the ScrumMaster, to the Product Owner, and all team members, whenever that feedback will help the performance of the team, even when I feel uncomfortable doing so.
  4. As an agile team, we will define and continually refine rules and practices and use them to guide us in our work.

In Closing

Hopefully this short post was of value to you and your team. As a reminder, other than number four, these rules are just samples, so have fun creating your own and write back to tell us what they are and how they are working.  Also comment if you have seen other blog posts that cover practical rules for self organization on an agile team.