Article

Autonomy, not Empowerment

Posted March 24, 2010 in Business Agility & Software Engineering Excellence

I’ve never really liked the word empowerment, it’s just an acronym for delegation. The dictionary defines delegation as—authorizing subordinates to make certain decisions, and  empowerment as—give or delegate power or authority. Many people, myself included, have used the word empowerment to mean something more than delegation, but that extra meaning has been fuzzy. Empowerment has been used in conjunction with self-organizing teams, but often been carried too far, as trying to delegate far more authority to agile teams than was prudent.

About The Author
Jim Highsmith
Jim Highsmith is a Cutter Consortium Fellow Emeritus. Jim was the founding Director of Cutter's Agile Product & Project Management practice, and received the 2005 Stevens Award in recognition of his work in adaptive software development and agile processes. Mr. Highsmith has 30-plus years experience as an IT manager, product manager, project manager, consultant, and software developer. He has consulted with IT and product development… Read More
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