While at yesterday's Agile Journal seminar in Santa Clara CA it called my attention that all presenters who talked about how they do scrum (oh, yes, other practices were mentioned but not talked about) said something that made me question how much self-organization they allow their teams to have. One aspect is that of story assignment. A self organizing team is one that allows its members to self-assign the stories to be implemented during each sprint, considering of course priorities and upon agreement with PO and SM. The teams mentioned at the seminar were given the tasks to implement by the SM.
Since the seminar was primarily to promote software tools the presenters talked about how much the tools have benefited their projects and how great it is for stakeholders to have a tool to go to for, say, write a story to then be assigned. Nobody talked about the importance to maintain face-to-face collaboration. Based on their description it seems the tool ends up being at the center of activities instead of being a means to capture and track the activities to facilitate documentation and reporting. People must continue having close communication and collaboration. A story should be discussed, estimated, and assigned properly.