5 Questions about Self-Selection


Sept 29, 2021  ·  Sandy Mamoli


1. What is self-selection?

Self-selection is a way of letting people choose which team to work in. It is a facilitated process of letting people self-organize into small, cross-functional teams. It is the fastest and most efficient way to form stable teams and is based on a belief that people are at their happiest and most productive if they can choose what they work on and who they work with.

2. How is self-selection different from self-organization?

Self-organizing teams are groups of motivated individuals who work together toward a shared goal and have the ability and authority to take decisions and readily adapt to changing demands. We like self-organizing teams, but that’s not what self-selection is about.

Self-selection is a process you can use to set up self-organizing teams in the first place. Self-selection happens at an organizational level rather than at a team level and is a way to get everyone into teams. Another term for a self-selected team is a self-designed team.

3. What are the advantages of self-selection?

From the data we collected we know that self-selected teams are:

  • more stable
  • happier
  • more productive
  • more motivated

Self-selection honors the principles of trusting people to be responsible adults who can solve complex problems and organize in a way that’s best for the organization and themselves. We believe that organizations get the best results when people can choose what they work on and who they work with.

4. How does self-selection work?

Organize a session where everyone gets together and chooses which team they want to work in.

The process is iterative and facilitated and looks like this:

5. What will you take away from reading our book?

You will learn how to prepare for and organize a self-selection event. If you're a manager, you’ll learn how to convince your fellow managers that it’s a good idea in the first place, and how to communicate with your self- selection participants to make sure everyone is on board and ready.

As a developer, tester, business analyst, UXer, designer, or anyone else who does hands-on work you will learn how to influence your colleagues and bosses to be open to the idea of self-selection. You will be able to provide your boss with a plan for how to facilitate a self-selection event and evidence that the system works.

5 Questions about Self-Selection

You can get our book "Creating Great Teams - How Self Selection Lets People Excel" on Amazon or Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Categories: Self-Selection.

Tags: self-selection, teams, business agility.