Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Impact of visualization on the self-organizing system

In self-organization systems/teams, visualization plays an important role. Consider next graphic expressing the definition of project structure.
In the project organization structure two extremes can be observed: chaos or command and control.
Chaos in project can be seen, e.g. if team structure is not clear, every co-worker is (maybe) working on topics he founds important. This leads to local optimizations on different levels. The probability to succeed in this structure is very low as can be often seen already by first integration of outputs.

The other extreme is the “Command and control” approach were single person – typically technically very strong – is driving every single change personally. He gives orders and on regular manner checks the progress, takes countermeasures if necessary, etc.

Within scrum – what we want to achieve – is such level of self-organization, that pros from both extremes are in place and if possible cons are eliminated. Visualization can help establish so-called center of gravity – a motivation point – attracting people and driving them as a team towards common goal. It is the common goal that drives self-organizing group to the right direction and help them consistently work to achieve results.
As only very small portion of  available information can be physically visualized, people are very instinctively attracted.
Similar effect can be caused or is supported by good vision.

On the other side it could be also dangerous tool. As only small portion of knowledge is visualized, it is important to show correct part of it. However, I believe in healthy and critic environment - folks discovers “side ambitions” very quickly and pushes company towards open and transparent culture.