But...no one told me to do it

4-6 October 2017

John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh

A 30 minute Case Study by:

Caroline Kirkhope


About this Case Study

"But...no one told me to do it". Have you heard your team members and colleagues say this, or something similar?

This session will give an overview of what self organisation is, why it's important, what prevents teams from self organising and what you can do to help create an environment to allow them to. It will use examples from the speaker's personal experience and elsewhere.

I'm an experienced software developer and tech lead and I've always been super-proactive and comfortable self organising. Over the last few years leading agile teams of 5-8 people, I began to notice that not everyone is comfortable self organising, so I learnt more about the topic and experimented with ways of helping my team do this as part of their continuous improvement journey.

Originally when I told people I was going to do a talk on this subject I got some feedback along the lines of: "Isn't that easy? You just get out of the way and let them self organise.". I don't think it is that easy - and from speaking to others, I think there are definitely people in leadership positions not thinking about this in their teams day to day and then wondering why no one does anything unless they are told to.

The session will focus on why it's not that easy, what prevents it (blame culture, fear, no clear goals or purpose) and what leaders at any level can do to help foster it in their teams (mindset, safe to fail, learning culture, trust...).

It's a massive topic - but this session will give you an overview and some ideas to take back to your teams. It might also start some leaders/future leaders thinking about how they want to lead/what type of leader they want to be and how to create an environment to encourage their teams to self organise.

About the Speaker

Caroline is a software developer and tech lead specialising in web and mobile technologies. She is passionate about continuous learning, code quality and always delivering business value. She is interested in leadership and how to foster environments where teams can self organise. She is always encouraging her team to try new things and improve in all areas.


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