By default, all decision-making power lies with the Business Leaders. Which means every decision an Agile Team needs to make in order the satisfy the needs and wants of the Customer, must go through a pre-defined approval channel. In large organisations, these approval channels are characterised by excessive paperwork, lengthy processes, internal politics, and a comparatively high number of “no” responses. All activities which do not add value to the Product/Service, and which are likely to limit the Agile Teams’ ability to be agile.
By maximising team autonomy, Business Leaders can simplify approval processes, which increases agility, team empowerment and reduces organisational complexity.
Business Leaders must still be cautious when granting autonomy, and it is not an all or nothing approach. To grant autonomy, the Agile Team members should be:
- Happy to be in an autonomous team
- Highly competent experts
- Willing to share the gains and the pains of the team
- Excited to cross-train and complete non-core tasks with other teammates
- Have a great understanding of the needs of the Customer and the Business
- Highly trustworthy
How well these characteristics are displayed should directly impact the level of autonomy granted.
- Reduce the time to make common tactical and operational decisions
- Increase team empowerment
- Faster response to changing priorities
Critical Success Factors
- Reduction in the number of decisions made centrally i.e. teams are empowered