I spend quite a lot of time thinking about how to help teams make decisions quickly.

I tend to rely on bread and butter agile practices but I’m finding there is something that underpins agility that is less obvious.

Take for example any conflict or dispute you are having in your current job. Let’s say there are a number of varying opinions on the topic and you’re struggling to come to an agreement.

I’m sure you can relate, and I’m sure it’s been one of the most challenging things about your work.

How do we moving quickly in the face of hard-line disagreement?

“I think the mindset we need to transcend to is “minimize effort of implementation”. We think implementation (as engineers are biased to, me included) as the hardest part. When we should be maximizing learning by delivering constantly. We spend a lot of time (again, me included) hemming and hawing over the “best approach” when really, the best approach can only (in the face of hard line disagreement) probably be determined empirically, after the fact, after the fuckup.” -Ahmad

Next time you find yourself in this situation try the following:

  1. Avoid the discussion of competing ideas, instead try to figure out who the decision owner on the topic is and clarify that role with the team. Work to establish that platform.
  2. When you find the owner go about giving them your deepest darkest secrets on the topic, try to influence them, and be patient. Help them gather information from the group and help them make a decision.
  3. When your decision owner has formed an opinion try to understand it, but more importantly, try to concede and accept it when you disagree. As time passes give them honest feedback and help them improve where needed.

At the end of the day, with a group of smart people, every approach is on balance equally bad. This is not about agreement. This is about moving quickly, moving together and learning in a rapidly changing environment.

I call this transformation: Decision Flow.