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Tuesday, August 6 • 09:00 - 09:30
A Practical Look Into Self-Selecting, Distributed Teams (Bevan Williams) POPULAR

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Your company acquires a team based in another country. A switch in company strategy requires the formation of new teams. A project is cancelled and team members suddenly need to be reassigned. These scenarios happen, so how do you handle these changes to your teams?
What about having your team members choose for themselves? What if this included your offshore teams and remote workers?
If this sounds like a crazy idea, then this talk is for you.
This engaging and light-hearted talk will be an honest reflection of the experience exploring, introducing and facilitating remote friendly Self-Selection at Travelstart - the largest Online Travel Agency in Africa. I will share the highs and lows experienced from preparation, through execution to where it is now, many months later.
By sharing practical experience and challenges I hope to encourage more companies to give their teams the freedom of self-selection - even when considering remote employees.

Lessons Learned from Your Experience:
  • Self-selection can work with remote teams and team members - While co-located teams are always the ideal, they are not always a reality. Having all team members gather for the self-selection too is also ideal, but again not always possible. For this reason, we made use of specific tools and remote facilitation techniques to run the full self-selection process. I would like to assure people that co-location is not a constraint to having self-selecting teams.
  • Management selection alone cannot cater for the traits needed to build high performing teams - Much has been said, and written about building high-performing teams. Focussing on the work of Daniel Pink's Drive, Google's Project Aristotle and J. Richard Hackman's Leading Teams, we learned that while managers have a major responsibility in driving high performing teams, it's not always possible for them to truly be aware of the inter-personal relationships that affect team performance. This event also highlighted a technical knowledge gap between what was being interviewed for versus what skillset(s) were actually missing. For these reasons, we found that what the management team assumed would be good team structure, was quite different to the reality of what was chosen.
  • Self-selection is not just an event, it will radically change your team's culture and how they engage - Since teams were first chosen as at the event, every subsequent decision or change is always discussed with self-selection in mind. This has rapidly increased the level of ownership teams felt within their roles. Teams _wanted_ to be more involved in hiring, tooling, product and business decisions, etc. This means that as a coach or sponsor, you need to be even more aware of decisions that would affect the autonomy of the team.


avatar for Bevan Williams

Bevan Williams

Agile Coach & Trainer, Think Agile
Bevan is an Agile coach based in Cape Town, South Africa. He has been an IT professional since 2009 and has previously worked as a Software Engineer, Scrum Master, Head of Mobile and Delivery Manager. He is passionate about coaching, training, enabling and leading people to do their... Read More →

Tuesday August 6, 2019 09:00 - 09:30 EDT
Chesapeake 7/8/9