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Autonomy, is that what we really want? @ RBI AED

Autonomy, is that what we really want? @ RBI AED

There has been a focus on autonomy in information technology; From autonomy in code, autonomy while coding, autonomous systems with microservices to autonomous high-performing teams. When you read Daniel Pink's research in the book Drive, it makes sense; autonomy is one of the three things that motivate us; it is the ability of the person to make his or her own decisions. However, often autonomy can lead to isolation and disconnect from the rest of the code, team, or organisation. So how can we balance the individual needs while staying connected to the team/organisation to stay autonomous?

In this talk, we will go through all the levels we deal with in IT, from code to organisation collaboration. We will go into autonomy at each level and explain how we often confuse autonomy with individual needs. These individual needs can turn into isolation and disconnect from the code, team and organisation. Through examples, we will show how our compulsiveness towards autonomy gives us both downsides of being isolated and coupled in the code, within the team and organisation. You will leave the talk knowing how polarity management can help you manage this paradox between the individual and the team/organisation and get the benefits from the whole and the individual to be balanced.

Kenny Baas-Schwegler

November 28, 2023
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  1. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Where every voice shapes the software

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  2. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy, is that what we really want?
    What we really really want?

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  3. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy, as described by Mr. Pink, is the urge to direct one's own life. Without
    the ability to control what, when, and how we work, and who we work with, we'll
    never be completely motivated to complete a task

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  4. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    “Man is born free, but one of the first things he learns is to do as he is told and he spends
    the rest of his life doing that. Thus his first enslavement is to his parents. He follows their
    instructions forevermore, retaining only in some cases, the right to choose his own
    methods and consoling himself with an illusion of autonomy.”
    — Eric Berne

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  5. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Definition of autonomy
    The quality or state of being self-​
    governing especially : the right of self-​
    government The territory was granted autonomy.
    Self-​
    directing freedom and especially moral independence personal autonomy
    A self-​
    governing state
    Autonomy Has Origins in Law
    Since nomos is Greek for "law", something autonomous makes its own laws. The amount of autonomy enjoyed by French-​
    speaking
    Quebec, or of Palestinians in certain towns in Israel, or of independent-​
    minded regions of Russia, have become major issues. The
    autonomy of individual states in the United States has posed serious constitutional questions for two centuries. The autonomy of
    children is almost always limited by their parents. But when those parents are elderly and begin driving poorly and getting confused
    about their finances, their children may see the need to limit their autonomy in much the same way.
    1.
    2.
    3.
    Source: https://www.merriam-​
    webster.com/dictionary/autonomy

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  6. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    http://ueberproduct.de/ep-22-​
    jabe-​
    bloom-​
    marc-​
    burgauer-​
    designing-​
    systems-​
    pt-​
    ii/
    “I hate the word autonomy. ... I think autonomy is individuating. ... The way I hear the word and I think
    other people hear it – and I might be wrong and other people hear it differently – but the way I hear it
    is “I have the right to make my own decisions. I have the right to make my own rules.”
    — Jabe Bloom

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  7. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy can be compulsive
    Photo by Viktor Mui on Flckr

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  8. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

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  9. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Positive effect from 100% side L Positive effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side L
    Whole
    Part
    Polarity map - based on Barry Johnsons work
    Uniqueness Connectedness
    Sameness
    Isolation

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  10. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Photo by Martin Rancourt on Unsplash
    Autonomy on several levels
    > Code level
    > Team Level
    > Teams level
    > Organisation level

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  11. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy in code
    No silver bullets and golden hammers
    Photo by James Harrison on Unsplash

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  12. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    https://martinfowler.com/articles/2021-​
    test-​
    shapes.html

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  13. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Business stakeholder
    Domain Experts
    Other roles
    involved in
    designing and
    building software
    Code
    Represents
    Communicates
    Communicates
    Software
    Team
    Communicates
    Tests
    Represents

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  14. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Positive effect from 100% side L Positive effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side L
    Feeling secure to change the code
    Cascading changes
    Sociable
    Solitary
    Test in
    isolation
    Fast feedback
    on failure
    Failure of bug
    in other class
    Slower feedback
    on failure
    Coherent
    testing
    No Mocking
    coupling
    Cascading
    changes on
    mock/stub
    Loss of "unit of
    work"
    cohesiveness
    Polarity map - based on Barry Johnsons work

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  15. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy in teams
    Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

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  16. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Like me, please
    Photo by Judith Prins on Unsplash

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  17. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy IS NOT dictatorship
    Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash

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  18. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy is not an excuse to
    hold something against someone
    Photo by Pop & Zebra on Unsplash

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  19. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Sunken Cost Fallacy:
    Why change now?
    We’ve already wasted so much
    money.
    Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

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  20. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Positive effect from 100% side L Positive effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side L
    Always in a releasable state
    Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
    Trunk based
    Actions/heuristics
    Signals/observations Signals/observations
    Actions/heuristics
    Branch
    Polarity map - based on Barry Johnsons work
    Freedom
    Individual
    creativity
    Care for
    the whole
    Shared mental
    model in code
    team effort
    Loss of cohesive
    mental models
    Excessive
    conformity
    Compete to
    change the same
    code
    When this happens we
    need to take action
    Ensemble/mob
    or pair
    programming

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  21. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy between teams
    The “Ivory Towers”
    Photo by Product School on Unsplash

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  22. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    We should be thinking about limiting the size of software, services, and
    products to the cognitive load that the team can handle.

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  23. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Credits: Eric Evans & https://github.com/ddd-​
    crew/context-​
    mapping

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  24. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Photo by Ismael Bashiri on Unsplash
    Enabling teams actively avoid becoming
    “ivory towers”of knowledge,
    dictating technical choices for other
    teams to follow.

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  25. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Positive effect from 100% side L Positive effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side L
    Customer centric
    Tower of babel
    Collaboration
    Actions/heuristics
    Signals/observations Signals/observations
    Actions/heuristics
    Isolation
    Freedom
    Team
    Creativity
    Work ahead of
    new technology
    Uniqueness
    Connectedness
    synergy of
    the whole
    Care for the
    customer
    Loss of
    equality
    Isolation
    Selfish
    Sameness
    High cognitive
    load
    Excessive
    comformity

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  26. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Heavily focusses on one of the poles

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  27. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy in organizations
    A continuous negotiation
    Photo by Mike Kononov on Unsplash

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  28. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Vision, boundaries, or both?
    Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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  29. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Vision, boundaries, or both?
    Photo by Tingey injury on Unsplash

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  30. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Leadership is not Dictatorship
    It requires us to balance
    power and Love
    Photo by Tingey injury on Unsplash

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  31. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    We gave them autonomy.
    Why aren’t they doing anything with it?
    Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash

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  32. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    When there’s autonomy everywhere, do
    we still need managers and architects?
    Photo by Miguel a Amutio on Unsplash

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  33. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Positive effect from 100% side L Positive effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side R
    Negative effect from 100% side L
    Agency
    Indecisiveness
    Centralised
    decisions
    Actions/heuristics
    Signals/observations Signals/observations
    Actions/heuristics
    Decentralised
    decisions
    Empowering
    teams
    Spontaneuous
    Teams acting
    decisively Empowering
    the organisation
    Organisation
    can coordinate
    Organisation
    acting decisively
    Everyone
    feels included
    Organisation
    cannot
    coordinate
    FOMO and
    feeling left out
    Burden of
    consequences
    for mistakes
    Disempowering
    the teams
    no creativity or
    spontaneous
    Lack of team
    accountability
    queues

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  34. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Patterns of autonomy and isolation are fractal.
    If you find one at one layer,
    you can bet you can find the same
    at other layers as well.
    Photo by Martin Rancourt on Unsplash

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  35. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Autonomy, is that what we really want?
    > Define and negotiate boundaries continuously
    > Manage polarities

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  36. @kenny_baas
    @[email protected]
    Leave the judging to the cats!

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