News and opinion

Right First Time: Propagating Self-Organisation

News and opinion | Georgina | 25 February 2022

In Right First Time we explore how assuring successful change management is crucial in insurance transformational programmes. Dynamic software applications allow insurers to transact policies and enable digital platforms more effectively than ever before. However, implementation is not merely a matter of getting it done, but in getting it done right the first time, every time.


Self-Organisation is the process where order arises from an otherwise disorganised system. When applied to insurance transformational programmes, this is the ability for project participants to deliver work in autonomous collaborative units.

How do I learn Self-Organisation?

No one needs to learn Self-Organisation; it is an innate human behaviour. To mitigate risks and to improve the chances of success, hunters would work together as a team. The autonomous working of a group towards a common goal is the very foundation of Self-Organisation.

Can I make people Self-Organise?

No. Self-Organisation is an emergent human behaviour, as such, it cannot be constructed, or forced into place. Those wanting to introduce Self-Organisation into their programme can do so by creating an environment where project participants spontaneously order themselves. Or stated simply; put side the traditional notions of hierarchy, line management and inflexible working practices, and like our ancestral hunters, unite around common goals.

What can I do to start the move towards this?

Begin by identifying the teams which will be Self-Organising. For those teams, or for a pilot team, ask the team to accept responsibility for delivering the work. Then apply the principle that where the team has responsibility, they decide how to deliver the work. Few teams will accept responsibility for delivering work without the autonomy to decide how it is delivered.

Programme management, in turn, commits to a policy of non-interference with how the team complete their work. All discussions and decisions should happen in the open so that transparency is maintained throughout.

How do I balance Self-Organisation and the need for programme management?

Programmes that utilise Self-Organisation are not anarchies. A programme management framework is still advantageous in insurance transformational programmes and should be retained. For Self-Organisation to propagate, an Authority Matrix may be agreed with programme participants, so that all are aware of what is expected. The Authority Matrix delineates who has responsibility, what they are responsible for and their level of autonomy.

How Solution Assurance helps

Solution Assurance is a vital third-party service that assists customers to install and develop effective enterprise insurance software solutions.

Introducing Self-Organisation can be daunting, especially for businesses that have previously only used more traditional command and control frameworks. Solution Assurance can advise upon and assist in the propagation of Self-Organisation through knowledge sharing and coaching.