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Experiencing the empowerment of self-organization

Today I was a part of something that I had never experienced in my agile journey thus far: a group of individuals assembled to solve a common problem, devised a possible solution, and then emerged as a team with one vision.

It all happened within the course of a few minutes. An insurance claims group was trying to automate their process, so they decided to create the process diagram on the back of a cubicle wall using pushpins, sticky notes, and ribbon (due to a shortage of whiteboard space). This took the course of several sessions over three weeks. I noticed that in this particular session that they were concentrating their efforts in one particular area for quite a while.

This moment was not like one of those “Ah-ha!” moments you see on TV with light bulbs going on over their heads, it was as if the discussion turned from inspecting the diagram to proposing a solution to dividing up the work all in a blink of an eye. After it happened, everyone one turned to me, the servant scrum master, for guidance.

Trying to figure out what just happened, I simply facilitated their decisions. Before you knew it we had our first sprint planning scheduled, tried to find a co-located physical space, and discussed other details leading to what might have been a minor breakthrough.

The feeling was overwhelming at first because I was just trying to figure out what happened. But then I remember feeling as if the reasons I trained to be a scrum master were realized in that moment. It just flowed out of naturally, and this is something that I will always remember; the moment when a group of individuals realized they have a common purpose, and empowered themselves to work toward that purpose.

I cannot wait to see what can be produced next!