‘Autonomy time’ boosts motivation, productivity

by L&D24 Oct 2016
Giving teams autonomy to spend 10% of their time for learning reduces delivery time, increases quality, and increases motivation, claims Giuseppe de Simone, lead agile coach & trainer at Ericsson.

De Simone presented Managing in the Century of the Networked Society at the Agile Greece Summit 2016 in which he explored how they experimented with a "10% rule" to increase autonomy in teams.
Teams are allowed to spend 10% of their time on a topic of their choice. This rule gives teams full autonomy to work on things they consider important.

According to De Simone, it results in freeing up people’s creativity and allowing teams to grow their potential.

The InfoQ summary on Pros and Cons of “10% time” from Elizabeth Pope describes how Holiday Extras has applied this practice.

“10% time" is essentially allocated hours in the working week that are not focused on "business as usual (BAU)" work, and can instead be used for research and development, and learning and professional skills development. In a typical UK-based working week, this means that 4 hours (half a day) per week are available for these activities.

According to the summary devoting 10% of work time to R&D and learning has been beneficial for both individuals and the organization. Some of the results are:
  • Individual development
  • Experimental work that can drive innovation for the company
  • Increased efficiency
  • Increased collaboration
  • Increasing engagement and developing “self-organisation” skills
  • Bug fixing and removing tech debt