Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development method for managing product development, used extensively all over the world. Many would argue that Scrum is one of the simplest and easiest agile frameworks and brings the decision making authority to an operational level, creating higher employee satisfaction.

One of the main principles behind agile methods is self-management. The idea is to have self-managing teams where all members work together at a pace that sustains creativity and productivity. Scrum teams are given authority and responsibility for self-management through planning, scheduling, assigning tasks to members and making decisions. This team autonomy is proven to have a positive effect on project performance.

However, there are often barriers that hinder self-management, both from a team and organizational level. Team level barriers include lack of individual commitment, failure to learn from other team members and lack of individual leadership. From an organizational level, barriers to self-management can occur when resources are shared across many projects. This may lead to a lack of a collaborative team culture, due to team members being scattered around different projects, not having the chance to establish an environment for self-management. Also, often when a team member becomes an expert in something, the organization can find it easier to keep this person in the same role, doing the same tasks over and over again. This can create a specialist culture, where team members fail to learn new things and grow. In order to overcome these barriers here are some tips to remember when organizing your next agile Scrum team:

  • Organize cross- training
  • Appreciate a generalist
  • Build trust and commitment
  • Assign resources to one project at a time
  • Involve relevant decision makers


Lastly, in order to create self-managing teams in Scrum, it is important to realize that the framework does not just work, and individual and organizational commitment to self-management is highly necessary.