One of the teams I ‘manage’ has been fairly consistent (i.e. mostly the same people) over the last 3 years and we are now in our third project together. They are a lovely bunch of people and a well integrated team. It was tough getting to this state, but it appears to be worth it.
Here’s the thing; on this last project I have given them a one line goal, a deadline and a list of stakeholders. I barely talk to them except to get a weekly progress update.
They are on track and making decisions about what should be in and out of scope, and where quality can be flexed to accommodate more or less features. About once a month they are coming to me to ask for assistance in clearing an external impediment.
I love managing them because it’s almost completely automatic. I get to focus my attention on the other teams I am working with which need more guidance and support.
This is an example of a real self directed team working on real enterprise software projects.