The Whole Organization is Your Job

Credit to Alain Delorme

Take a minute to appreciate a murmuration of starlings.

Amid the apparent chaos of any given moment, the group somehow makes decisions that increase the order of that system. At some points, the group will divide when some starlings diverge, but it always reconvenes and refocuses. This is a powerful lesson for us as humans considering how we self-organize in our organizations.

Each starling is a leader. Each, individual bird could be the tip of a spear of change. Each bird considers the whole flock as its job.

In our organizations, we can get pigeon-holed into a solitary context. My task is to make front-end updates to our website. My focus is to coach a team towards greater efficiency. My job is to keep my head down and produce. If this is all we do, we are reducing our behavior to that of a simple machine; we take input and produce output. We are a black box. More importantly, we become rigid and calcified. Complex, adaptive behavior becomes very difficult or perhaps impossible without a change to that system.

Consider what it would look like for your job to be the whole organization. Furthermore, what if everyone around you had the same focus? Not only are you concerned with your chosen (or assigned) responsibilities but also the entire murmuration of your organization?


Jason is a developer, Scrum Master, writer, teacher, coach, husband, father, and community leader out of Tulsa Oklahoma. He's been delivering software since 2007 and absolutely loves the values and principles of agility especially as given form by the Scrum framework.