Structured autonomy

⚒︎ Work in progress

Article might be incomplete, outdated, a placeholder or an early draft.

Self-organizing teams don't organize themselves - they need a supporting structure to do so.

People often confuse freedom with autonomy. Freedom is being free to do what you want - without any constraints. Autonomy means you are empowered to make choices that matter.

Freedom rebels against constraints, but autonomy does not. In fact, contraints often enable autonomy. This is what I would call Structured Autonomy: The kind of structures that allow people to make choices that matter to them.

Structured autonomy is a key element to make self-organizing teams work. And there are many examples to do this:

  • Sociocracy 3.0
  • Scrum
  • Liberating Structures
  • Holacracy
  • …and much more that I do not know of!

Coert Visser writes about research that shows supporting autonomy and providing structure work in tandem to enable effective learning in schools.