Series (4 of 7): Building High-Performing ART — “Give Them Autonomy”

Autonomy-Mastery-PurposeWho does not want autonomy? Autonomy paves way to self-determination and empowerment. Freedom. Remember MAP? Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose — having MAP unlocks the intrinsic motivation — the engagement — of most of us… including members of Agile teams and team of Agile teams… even family members at home!

SAFe principle #8 states: “Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers“. Safe further added, “We live in a new age, where the workers are smarter and have more local context than management can ever have. Unlocking this raw potential can significantly improve the lives of those doing the work, as well as provide better outcomes for customers and the enterprise.

There is a SAFe principle that goes nicely with #8…it is SAFe principle #9… it states: “Decentralize decision-making‘.

Here is why these two SAFe principles go together: What’s good about being autonomous without being empowered to make local decisions? Absolutely nothing!

trsnsaprency icebegOf course, one cannot intelligently make a decision without information to base the decision on. Hence transparency — having a shared and collective information — is key. Do not withhold information. Keep information flowing through your teams and through out your ART and spread it to all ecosystems that you are working with. Everyone can then inspect the information and adapt to it accordingly.

drivingYou experience autonomy and decentralized decision-making every time whilst you’re driving your car on a highway: You can see the cars around you, you are constantly aware of the dynamic movements of the cars around you, you adapt accordingly. Other drivers are too. You are autonomous and so are the other drivers. In addition, everyone is empowered to make local decisions … responsible and accountable decision-making (assuming everyone is not a reckless driver).

Take that ‘driving’ example to heart and mind. That is a great analogy of what a high-performing ART is.

So… give your Agile team and teams of Agile teams autonomy… let them drive the ‘car’ and take it for a spin … let them take it to long drives… everyday…get them used to being autonomous, accountable and responsible decision-makers. These are important ‘muscles’ to develop … ‘muscles’ that need to be developed in order to have a high-performing ART!

Let go…let them drive…give them autonomy…everything will be just fine…trust me. Think back when you first drove your car on a highway…JRscareddriveryeah…that feeling…look at you now.. you are now an expert driver, aren’t you?


By Clarence Galapon

CE, MBA, Lean Agile Coach, Trainer, Teacher, SPC, RTE, PSM, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, PMP, CC, ABNLP NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner, NLP Coach, NLP Trainer, Practical Psychologist, Life Coach, Software Executive, Entrepreneur, Author, Investor, and Innovator with a Creative, Lean, Agile, and Wander mindset.

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