Before our days of Scrum decisions were made behind closed doors. Not knowing what went on in these meetings infuriated me. For anyone who cares about the work they do having decisions about that work made for them belittles the contribution they make and sends a clear message that your opinion isn’t valued. Perhaps it’s just me but it made me feel really insecure, and from the behaviour of others I wasn’t the only one.
With Scrum came a self organising team. Our managers quickly realised that we were capable of making development related decisions ourselves. I think it was one of the big boosts to our productivity as we continually honed our practices and gained satisfaction from continual improvement. My only frustration is that we haven’t been able to spread this outside the development team.
When making decisions within a team its best to use the highest bandwidth possible, face to face or at least a conference call are necessary. Email is too painful. Where it’s just not possible to get everyone together or you really don’t know who it’s best to consult we can use an online tool. I’m interested to hear how the new private social networking tools can help with this?
Managers resist having too many people involved in a decision in the fear that it will complicate the process. But the more relevant committed people involved the more likely they are to come up with the best solution quickly. It’s people who aren’t directly affected by the decision but with something to prove that complicate it. These are the people who gave meetings such a bad name.
At a company level it’s not practical to make decisions in collaboration with all interested parties (although perhaps it is using online tools) so it’s important to communicate the decision and the reasons for the decision well. Taking care when making decisions helps everyone feel committed to a shared cause, motivated and with a good understanding of goals.