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Myth : self managed team means do whatever the team feels

Self managed teams do have rules. Just that the rules are set up by the team members and not my managers. These rules are typically called the ground rules or working agreements. Scrum Master’s job is to make sure that the team members decide the ground rules, else, there are possibilities of conflicts.

Myth: cross functionality means each person has all skills

Each person having all skills is a common myth. Expecting this means each person is a Superman or a Superwoman which is very unrealistic. Cross functionality is for a team and not for each individual. “as a team” do we have all skills necessary to do the work. This is generally achieved by “T shaped” skills. “T shape” means one core skill and multiple supplementary skills. The team does what is necessary as a team to achieve the results.

Myth : You cannot have self managed teams in waterfall teams

A team can manage itself even in a waterfall. This is a team characteristic and not specific to Scrum or Waterfall. In the waterfall model, it was a common misconception that Project Manager always has to be command and control leader. There was no such need. However, since the accountability of everything was put on project manager, the project manager naturally turned out to be a command-and-control leader. Therefore, the teams rarely self-managed in waterfall.

Myth : Self Managed teams are less sincere in their work

A team which manages itself is generally a highly motivated team. This team works without pressure from a manager and take their own accountability. The sense of accountability and ownership is much higher in a self managed team.

Myth : Self managed teams create shoddy quality since there is no one to monitor and control them

This is again a common misunderstanding that there is no monitoring and controlling of work. A self managed team decide internally how the monitoring and controlling of quality, timelines, cost is done. External manager does not do this. This is managed internally by the team members.

Myth : No one manages conflicts in a self managed team

Self managed team tries to resolve conflicts by communicating with each other. If inspite of all efforts the conflicts do not get resolved, there is always a Scrum Master for helping resolve the conflicts.


There are lots of myths about self management and cross functionality. This article was an attempt at listing down some of the myths around self management and cross functionality. There is another article on how to build self managed team – click on the link to read the article.