This InfoQ article inspired this post.
In some ways
Autonomy are synonyms: self-direction and self-governance;
however, in the context of business, specifically fostering innovation in small teams, there is a
Self-Sufficiency is a quality of the team itself: the team members compose
a whole that is capable of delivering innovation. Does the team have the technical skill to
accomplish its goals? Self-Sufficiency is bottom-up.
Autonomy is a quality of the organization: the culture creates an atmosphere that allows
for innovation. Does management give the team the trust to succeed or fail on its own.
Autonomy is top-down.
This is a paradox for many enterprises (I'm not speaking directly to the software-engineering crowd): the team believes it is self-sufficient but the architect does not allow for its autonomy. This brings to mind the Russian proverb and #16 of the 42 Rules to Lead by Google's Jonathan Rosenberg: Doveryai no proveryai (Trust but Verify).
Good advice that most architect's get wrong; for this proverb can be see at least two ways:
- Don't ever trust anyone: you will just need to verify the work for yourself.
- Trust everyone: you will just need to verify the work.