I’ve been using Delegation Poker with the organizations and teams I work with. I also share it at meetups and other community events. I have found the Management 3.0 tool to be valuable in the collaboration and facilitation of discussions surrounding the efficacy of delegation.
First, we need to understand that delegation is not a binary switch where we either delegate something or we don’t. I remember when my son was a young boy and he wanted me to allow him to cross the street by himself. I didn’t just one day delegate the self-responsibility to him and say, “Fine, you can cross the street yourself now”. There were levels of trust that needed to be cultivated until I was secure with him handling it by himself. So first I instructed him on what to look for and then asked him to cross. I then graduated to having him look and tell me when he thought he would cross before I would let him cross. Eventually, I felt comfortable enough to allow him to make his own decision.
Jurgen Appelo and Management 3.0 have created a tool called Delegation Poker which can help us with the delegation process. They employ seven cards representing the different levels of delegation. As a team, we can list activities that require a decision (ex: new hire, product release, etc.). We can then use these cards in planning poker style. Everyone would flip their representative card at once for what they thought the current level of delegation was for that item. As in planning poker, we would discuss everyone’s opinion and come to a collective decision to the current delegation level for that item and record it. After we did that for all the items, we could take another pass through the same items, but this time flip the cards as to what delegation level you felt we should be using and discuss. As usual, the value is in the discussion. Wrapping it up, we could then discuss a plan to move from the current level of delegation to the aspired delegation level, recording action items along the way.
There are different ways to use Delegation Poker, but this is the way I tend to use it most. We can be most effective if we can conduct the decision making with the people that have the information. Just like my son wanting to cross the street though, this requires competency from workers and trust from the management involved. Conscious steps can be taken to get to the best delegation level for that item in your team.
So whether you’re a startup or an established team at a large company, take a look at Delegation Poker to facilitate the right level of delegation growth for you.