TED | Talks | Deborah Gordon: How do ants know what to do? (video)

Self-organization in Scrum-Teams is often confused with “We can do what we want!” Nothing is more far from the truth than this missunderstanding. Self-organization means that a complex system emerges a structure by self-referencing rules. So the system it selves produces a structure without having an influence from the outside. In her remarkable talk (below): Deborah Gorden shows how  ants, create their task assignment using a self-referencing system. The ants organizing themselves by using the rate of contacts between each other, as an indicator about what they have to do.

So they behave different not by getting an input from the real source of the problem, but by following their system of communication.

Translation to Scrum – By following the simple rule set:

  1. You have to work on one backlog item as a whole team,
  2. You have to perform the tasks from left to right on the task board
  3. You have to finish a backlog item before you move to the next
  4. You have to splitt tasks when they get larger than a day.
  5. Every impeded tasks has to be identified and the impediment has to be removed with in 24hrs.

You will force the system to create a pattern. The team starts to self-organize. Take your 18 min and watch this video. It is amazing.

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