Marty Cagan was in Berlin recently and did a talk about why teams are not truly empowered, and what teams might do about that.
1. The team is staffed with competent people with the necessary range of skills.
2. The team is assigned problems to solve, and they are able to decide the best way to solve those problems.
3. The team is accountable for solving the customer or business problem (outcome).
This is a powerful lens to use to look at a team – either one that you’re managing, or one that you’re a part of – and assess the level of true empowerment.
The framework also fits well with the general idea of using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) as a tool for managing autonomous teams:
1. The team is staffed with competent people with the necessary range of skills (the pre-requisite for any team to be productive and impactful).
2. The team is assigned problems to solve (ie, OBJECTIVES), and they are able to decide the best way to solve those problems.
3. The team is accountable for solving the problem – which you measure with metrics or other measurable outcomes/KPIs (ie, KEY RESULTS).
Basically this is a recipe for using OKRs to drive empowered teams:
Objective = problem to solve
Accountability = measurable outcome
You can use this framework while evaluating the teams in your company. It could also be used as a tool in a retrospective: the team can each provide a rating, say out of ten, to the extent that they feel they are empowered, measuring each of these three trajectories, and you can track this self-evaluation over time to monitor the trend.
You can watch a recording of the talk here.