Aligned Autonomy

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agile tech roadmap

This article from December 2019 by Pete Hodgson (@ph1) is food for thoughts for non-technical people taking the Agile notion of self-organizing teams literally.

Imagine you’re hosting a dinner party, and your friend Sally asks what they can contribute. Some of the guests are vegetarian, so you ask Sally to make her well-loved lentil curry. You explain to Sally why you’re interested in the lentil curry - some guests are veggies - but tell her she’s welcome to bring something else if she’d prefer.

As Sally starts to prepare the dish, she realizes she’s all out of lentils. Luckily, Sally both understands the vision (contribute a vegetarian dish), and has autonomy on how to deliver that vision. We call this Aligned Autonomy.

Sally decides to change the plan, and makes her famous green bean casserole instead. This is a good outcome - Sally’s understanding of the situation on the ground improved, she adjusted the plan accordingly, and we were able to achieve our objective - a wonderful dinner party.

A big thanks to @icecrime for sharing this old post. This comes at a perfect time for me