How we make decisions

How do we make decisions in a decentralized organized with no managers?

Note – for allocation of consultants to client engagements we have a specific protocol for that – the bun protocol. Similar for recruitment decisions.

Why don’t we have a well defined decision-making process?

We make lots of decisions all the time. Which type of coffee machine to buy? Should our internal fees be raised? Where & when is our next verseworks team meeting? Which associates and friends should we invite?

Different types of decisions need a different process. It would be crazy to involve the whole team in decisions like which type of whiteboard pens to buy. And it would be crazy to NOT involve the whole team if we needed to move our office to a new location.

So it’s not a good idea to have one single well-defined decision process for everything. And it’s not a good idea to try to list all potential decision types and create a well-defined process for each type, the list would be too long and complex, and there would be too many gray zones.

Well, how do we make decisions then?

You don’t need a well-defined decision process in order to make decisions. If that was the case, the world would stand still :)

Instead, we follow these principles/guidelines:

Example: If I want verseworks to collaborate with company X, then I’m the one driving that question and I pick the decision process.

How do I pick a decision process?

Here are some examples of different decisions processes on a scale from “fast” to “well-anchored”.

The term “team” in this case really means “those who are affected by the decision”. Sometimes the whole team, sometimes just a few individuals.

These decisions processes can be combined. For example, start by getting input from the whole team, then suggest a decision and anchor with those people who are most directly affected.

For simple decisions, this communication can happen via email, an online poll or Slack. For more complex or sensitive decisions, face-to-face conversation is better. We usually do those at our team meetings or ad-hoc in the pub.

Some things to consider when choosing a decisions process:

Sample decisions:

At the end of the day it’s about balancing risk. If you make the decision yourself it will be fast, but you risk a backlash if others don’t support it. If you seek 100% consensus you may get a better decision with better support, but it could take time – especially for questions where people have opposing opinions.

There is no perfect process, so seek a balance between these extremes! We most often end up in the middle of the scale – “own decision with team input” or “own decision with team anchoring” (where “team” isn’t necessarily the whole team)

What if I still feel unsure of which decision process to use?

Here are some options:

Decision making -