Agile teams have been gaining notoriety due to their capability to make decisions, faster problem resolution, furthermore faster deliveries, and continuous improvement. But what makes agile teams more “agile”? One of the principal reasons why agile teams can become better and faster in their performance is self-management or the autonomy that agile methodologies provide.
But self-management is not just letting the team do what they want and expect that all goes fine, there are structures that self-management and autonomy need to have a performance where the results are fruitful and based on the company’s necessities.
Basic self-managing skills include problem assessment, self-goal setting, self-rehearsal, self-observation and evaluation, and self-reinforcement or punishment. (source)
What points do I need to have a fruitful self-management?
It is important to highlight the fact that there are different kinds of autonomy, and the first one is related to individual autonomy.
Individual-level autonomy is the amount of freedom and discretion an individual has in carrying out assigned tasks (Source)
High autonomy on individuals has been linked to an increase of motivation, job satisfaction, and performance, and to decreased psychological and psychosomatic complaints. (source)
The importance of this feature on the autonomy that you can give to your team's members is because of the increase of self-efficacy, which affects the way that members perceive their own work and confront the possibility to adopt new responsibilities. Also, take advantage of unique task-specific knowledge that may only be available to them, without interfering with team coordination. (source)
The problem or the risk in this kind of autonomy is the possibility of getting lost in the team's progress and reduced transparency, that a team member can make their job with autonomy is important, but it is also necessary to have in mind that the team performance is important too. One excellent way to maintain collaboration on teams is with daily standups, standups are great to make the team connect and help each other.
"Self-managing individuals thus take personal responsibility for the outcomes of their work, monitor their own performance continuously, manage their own performance, take corrective action when necessary, actively seek from the organization the guidance, help, or resources they need for excellent performance, and take initiatives to help people in other areas improve their performance" Source
It is defined as the degree to which the interaction and coordination of team members are required to complete tasks. Source
According to the last points, it is important to consider that there are higher possibilities that a team or a team member works with tasks that not are linked to other members, therefore the capability to make decisions is faster and easier for our members. But the level of interdependence is important too. Individual autonomy is ok but, developing the capability to make decisions as a team helps the team to increase the engagement.
Teams that have lowers levels of interdependence, their interaction can lose important knowledge that the process shows and in one point degrading their own autonomy. Transparency and well-shared info are important for the interaction of teams and for decision making. Meanwhile higher task interdependence means that members effectively collaborate their efforts to accomplish their goals.
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Teams characterized by higher levels of task interdependence have been shown to have higher performance and motivation associated with team autonomy or team control. In teams with lower levels of task interdependence, on the other hand, team autonomy is often associated with performance and motivation losses (source)
Leader-member- exchange (LMX):
It is important that in teams leaders and members support each other and bring value to the team. It is not important if in our team all the members are on the same level; the members need to bring support, in the shape of direct help, emotional support, advice, or feedback; and also has to exist the willingness to accept the help and make a real change with the feedback. The relationship within your team members must bring confidence and allow teamwork independently but at the same time have the support to define that the problems and mistakes are in everybody's hands.
Team-member- exchange (TMX):
Even if the members have the autonomy, it is important to bring support within members. Adopting good behaviors that don't just help the team, but other members. For example, helping to finish a task or teaching your teammate a better way to make something can help the team to be more autonomous and more productive.
Team members who feel supported by their supervisor and/or their fellow team members are more inclined to incorporate additional responsibilities into their individual jobs in exchange for the support they receive. It is a total win-win. Your colleagues help you with a task, then they help you with another until the job is done, and your team members take accountability of new and more tasks because there is this social support that they will feel safe, even if they don't have the know-how, makes the team more autonomous.
When there is autonomy on teams, having a clear goal will make it easier for teams to follow the paths and activities that can position the team closer to their goals. And also help the team to redirect and overlook for new alternatives and strategies that make it more beneficial for the company. When there is no well-structured info and bad set up on the company’s goals the possibility of a state of disorder is very common.
When the goals are well-defined, Self-management can be increased an teams become more efficient. One of the best ways to have clearest goals is through the information exchange, like daily standups to follow the process and help the team to maintain engagement through good communication. Check this stand-bot for Slack that will help you to have more efficient daily standups.
Feedback is necessary to bring clarity to the team. The use of feedback in self-management environments is essential to create order and direction to the team’s goals. Feedback will also help the team to be more proactive, direct the individuals, promote team effectiveness, and help the team to refine the goals they are pursuing thus making the self-management efficient and effective.
Self-management can be seen as a utopic state that just big companies can achieve. But the truth is that self-management is not easy but also not impossible when your team has the correct information and there is a feedback environment where members are looking to be more attached to the company’s goals.
Self-management can be a bit more difficult when you are working in a remote team, that’s why we have some incredible tools that will help your team to be more agile and achieve the autonomy that your members need. Check out below for more info