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Team Self Selection with Amber Field

OCTOBER 18, 2020

What is self-selection? Choosing what to work on, how to work on it, and with whom. That can seem a little scary to people who have never done this before. Even though this should be really empowering people just aren’t used to it.

Setup – start thinking about this 3 to 6 months ahead of time. This might take some time to convince the management team if they are still holding out. Be prepared for 1 on 1s and answering questions. Coming up with the rules (guard rails). Come up with the materials that you will be sharing during the actual event. What are the potential changes in reporting structures going to be afterwards? North Star Statement: Do what is best for the company.

The Meeting – Have leaders start with the why. Have them rally the troops… then kick them out. People will often do what they think their manager wants them to do instead of what they want to do. Have the Product Owners do a Product Pitch. It is Sharktank but pitching to potential team members. Maybe think about using a 1 pager to convey the vision. Keep in mind what happens next. Some type of team building activity.

Allow an opportunity for the team members to share their skills with each other. This lets them know what they bring to the team and what potential gaps exist. This will be useful in the next steps.

Next starts a few rounds of allowing everyone to select their teams. This should be a short timebox – maybe 10 minutes. Try to align to what you really want. What is best for you? At the end, we will check off all the goals / guard rails. Where are the holes? Mark off things the teams will need to address.

Round 2 – no one moves. :P It is super boring. It looks like no one is going to move and this is going to crash and burn.

Last round make it clear that if they can’t figure it out then the facilitator reserves the right to move. Have faith that people will figure it out on their own.

Afterwards – get feedback! Surveys are useful here. Also think about some type of team building event. These are brand new teams that are forming. A retrospective on the event is also helpful for continuous improvement. Account for the transition time. Things will slow down in the short term as people readjust.

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