Why aligned autonomy is an ongoing struggle

Two reasons aligned autonomy is difficult: air sandwich and politics.

  1. the air sandwich;
  2. politics (specifically, the ignoring of politics).

An Air Sandwich is vision and day-to-day action with nothing in the middle.

Air sandwich = nothing between vision and day-to-day

Politics is human; anything that’s human should be mentionable.

Two things that don’t work for alignment: spreadsheets and one-off speeches.

  1. Spreadsheets;
  2. One-off speeches.

Spreadsheets are a stereotypical example of an “information refrigerator”.

Information radiator vs information refrigerator

Is a table the optimal way to convey context?

If you said it once, I bet they didn’t hear it, never mind understand it, nor accept it.

Three things that do work for alignment: catchball, rhythm, boundary objects.

  1. Catchball;
  2. Rhythm (aka well-designed regular meetings);
  3. Boundary objects

“Catchball” means vertical and lateral back-and-forth dialogue.

Vertical and lateral catchball

Well-designed meetings are essential for facilitating alignment.

Boundary objects allow groups with different goals to coordinate.

I’m Glad We All Agree by Jeff Patton — Jeff Patton & Associates (jpattonassociates.com)




Staff Agile Coach at Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl

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Jason Yip

Jason Yip

Staff Agile Coach at Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl

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