How To Empower Your Team With Delegation Poker

Stephanie BySouth
Dec 15, 2016 · 3 min read

SEEK’s Optimisation project stream has a great focus on team agility and continuously collaborating to improve how they work together.

This week we dove into understanding how to better empower the team through decision making using Agile Management 3.0 Delegation Poker Workshop.

Agile Management 3.0 methods are focused on developing management agile capabilities by empowering ways of engaging their teams. We used the Delegation Poker Workshop to help us figure out how decisions are made by management and / or the team. The session is focused around ‘Seven Levels of Delegation;

Plain Speak Interpretation of Delegation Poker

1. Tell: You make a decision for others and you may explain your motivation. A discussion about it is neither desired nor assumed.

2. Sell: You make a decision for others but try to convince them that you made the right choice, and you help them feel involved.

3. Consult: You ask for input first, which you take it into consideration before making a decision that respects people’s opinions.

4. Agree: You enter into a discussion with everyone involved, and as a group you reach consensus about the decision.

5. Advise: You will offer others your opinion and hope they listen to your wise words, but it will be their decision, not yours.

6. Inquire: You first leave it to the others to decide, and afterwards, you ask them to convince you of the wisdom of their decision.

7. Delegate: You leave the decision to them and you don’t even want to know about details that would just clutter your brain.

The agenda for our session flowed around what our team wanted to discuss;

1. Team Safety Check-in

2. Why Empowering Teams is important & what that means to us

3. Introduction to AM3 Delegation Poker

4. Brainstorm, Theme & Prioritise our current primary decisions

5. Current State Decision Board Poker

6. Team Vote — keep / either way / change

7. Dived into a few of the key decisions

8. Captured Future State Decision Board

9. Team Actions for rolling out improvements: Do — Experiment — Pause for now

It was good to chat about the easy ones we aligned on, and to take the time to go deep on the ones we didn’t. We discovered in our discussions that we actually had diverse opinions on how some decisions are made and who is best to make them. Uncovering the diverse perspectives in a safe support environment was easier than we expected. The first session was very much a teaching foundation and we didn’t have time to dive into every decision; however, the team now have a foundational mindset and practice for guiding how decisions are made in the future.

From a coaching perspective the workshop structure is a very effective model for engaging non-bias decision making and intelligent team discussions with psychological safety. The content of Delegation Poker is not as effective as mature agile teams require. The premise of 1–7 delegation levels is based on Dr. Heresy Situational Leadership model. A very good model; however, it is a linear relationship framework; tell, sell, participate, delegate. This is old school management; there’s ‘us’ & ‘them’ with 25% of how I engage with you as shared based. Next time we’ll be using a Leadership Agility Decision Making Method. Keep an eye out on twitter @stephbysouth or my blog for further learnings.

SEEK blog

Stephanie BySouth

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Leading great teams

SEEK blog

SEEK blog

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