Home / Workshops / How to make better decisions in agile development teams

Here at Outlandish we use consent based decision making* across our business and projects, and we’ve seen many improvements to productivity and team engagement over the 6 years we have been using it.

We’re now offering a training and support programme to help more Agile organisations do the same.

The process is based on the idea that rather than getting everyone to agree (consensus) you check that no one has a good reason to stop a suggested change.

The emphasis is on change, on making small steps to improve and regularly review rather than persuading people to agree to a certain way of thinking. This mirrors much of agile’s values and approach.  And for us, agile methodologies and the consent based decision making process work incredibly well together.

The process is straight forward and one that anyone can learn and practice. It can have an immediate positive effect on how your team communicates and delivers. It solves a key problem that many scrum development teams encounter – how to make decisions effectively in an ‘equal’ team.

The typical Agile scenario

Sprint planning sessions for product X run every two weeks for the last 6 months.

The development team is made up of 4 developers. 2 have many years of experience within the business, 2 are relatively new to the company, 1 is junior and 1 is highly experienced in a key technology that the product employs.

During sprint planning sessions there is tension around the direction a particular task should take. Inevitably the oldest and loudest developer ends up overriding the other developers.

This is a pattern that has established itself over the course of the 6 months.

The problem

The other developers don’t feel heard, valued or bought in to the tasks that are defined in sprint planning. The loudest developer is frustrated that the rest of the team aren’t doing the tasks as well as he would. The velocity of the sprints is low and the scrum master wants to support the team to be more effective.

Our solution – a practical workshop and support to embed the process in to your teams

Using proposals as a basis for making decisions. Any team member can propose a change or a decision (such as which framework to use to deliver a particular task). Through a series of rounds, the team clarifies the proposal, gives reactions (how much they like or support it, for example) and identifies any blockers, or critical concerns, in adopting the proposal.

We now offer a training and support package for agile teams to learn and gain confidence in using this consent based decision making process.

Benefits:

  • A clear structure that all team members can easily learn and be confident in using
  • The process ensures all team members contribute (and consent) to decisions being made
  • Focus is on change and experimentation, rather than getting the ‘perfect’ solution. It feels very Agile.
  • Empowers all team members to be able to elicit change (not reliant on those ‘in the know’) to meet the specified goal
  • The structure ensures everyone’s contribution is heard, stops the loudest from speaking too much, supports the quietest to contribute
  • Better decisions that get more buy in from all team members. By adapting decisions to account for more points of view, you end up with better decisions than ones that are pushed through by the most dominant voice.
  • Increased efficiency and productivity – because the team has all bought in to passing the decision, it is far more likely to be acted on.
  • Increases creativity in problem-solving

 

The package we offer consists of:

  • A one-day practical workshop to learn the process and establish the practice within Agile development teams
  • 20 hour support package where experts spend time with the team to coach them to run decisions, develop proposals and facilitate planning sessions until the team is confident in self-managing

Workshops start from £3,000 + VAT

email abi@outlandish.com to find out more and book your session.

*consent based decision making is one of the key principles of Sociocracy. Search for Sociocracy on the web to find out more, or get in touch.