Kishore Koduri: “Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose” Will Larson: “Company, Team, Self”

I find analyzing decision-making values systems thought-provoking. Most times they are orthogonal to each other and tend to give a fuller picture when taken together. The interesting point with this set is the value of Autonomy. Autonomy to do what? Autonomy is closely related to trust. When someone gives you trust, you must steward it appropriately. In several Staff+ engineering books I’ve read, a common theme is that with increased autonomy comes increased responsibility for alignment.

This is why pairing with Will Larson’s set of values brings increased guidance. We should use autonomy to optimize for the company, team, and one’s self in that order. He does give the caveat with this framework that being too aggressive can lead to burnout. We can make concessions on small, low-impact projects to optimize more for self for the purpose of maintaining engagement. The company vs. team aspect is also pertinent. We need to evaluate the solutions we’re putting in for their support impact on other teams. Stream-aligned teams (to quote Team Topologies) should try to keep things self-contained where possible, and platform teams should focus on the smoothest handoff to their consuming teams.

From Big Ideas in App Architecture Podcast episode and Will Larson’s blog respectively.