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Play of the month: How does your team make group decisions?

Edited
Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Mar 18, 2021

Did you know it's estimated that we make over 35,000 decisions every day? 🤯 

But making good decisions (and making them efficiently!) isn’t always easy. Especially when there’s a group involved. Well, we’ve got a Play to help you with thatThe DACI (Driver, Approver, Contributor, Informed) framework outlines who's responsible for what and when, and helps eliminate the confusion that can sometimes come along with group decision making.

Here’s a quick breakdown of DACI roles and responsibilities:

  • Driver: in charge pushing the team to the best possible outcome

  • Approver: has the final say on which path the team should take

  • Contributors: provide background info, data, and expertise

  • Informed: not expected to contribute, but need to be aware

(And an example of how to create a DACI in Trello! ⇣)

daci trello.jpg

Having defined and properly documented roles and responsibilities at the start of a decision will leave you feeling more confident coming out on the other side. The DACI Play will help bring clarity to your decision-making process while also serving as a reference for showing other teams (and reminding you 6 months later!) how you got to the end result.

Do you use DACIs with your teams? Do they help with your decision making process? We'd love to hear what works for you!  

30 comments

Hi @Kristen Roth 

  35,000 decisions a day, I had never heard of it.

  Of course, throughout the day you decide many things such as clothing, what you eat throughout the day, shoes that match your clothing, whether you drive or take public transport, but I would never have thought that

   Very curious fact, I will not try to count them because I would lose count, but I will pay more attention to it

   Thanks for sharing

Cheers

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 05, 2021

Thanks for reading, @Vero Rivas !

Dave Atlassian Team May 04, 2021

One of the key things our team has found with DACIs is to not let them run too long. Setting a distant due date can let it linger without progress and often you only get a flurry of activity towards the end - definitely important to set a realistic due date. They're great for asynchronous collaboration on a decision but it's often useful to bring people together to check in on progress in person / on a call!

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 05, 2021

Great tip, @Dave !

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Jayesh Baviskar Community Leader May 05, 2021

D.A.C.I. really helps in making group decisions. Just now observed that within my team we are following same approach, which is really having some name for it.

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John Funk Community Leader May 05, 2021

Gosh, if we have to decide to use DACI or not, now it's 35,001 decisions for toady!  :-)

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 05, 2021

😜 ha, @John Funk !

Brant Schroeder Community Leader May 06, 2021

We use RACI but have never used DACI.  Looks like this would be an excellent tool to ensure that decisions are made by the right individuals and that others properly participate and are informed.  

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We just had a discussion about this topic yesterday. We're not so far, or maybe one level up. We were talking about company values and the connection to decisions vs. individual approach to decisions. So we're on level where we're talking what inputs we need to start discussion and what will not be the part of it.

But I will check DACI definitelly :) and the Trello board looks nice :)

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 10, 2021

Let us know what you think, @Martin Bayer _MoroSystems_ s_r_o__ ! And if you use a Trello board :) 

Fadoua Community Leader May 08, 2021

In my team I am definitely a Contributor. I do share my input when something needs the team attention or if a process can be improved.

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G subramanyam Community Leader May 10, 2021

Learned a new acronym DACI. I remember Deming's cycle: PDAC (Plan-Do-Act-Check) @Kristen Roth 

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Laura Holton Community Leader May 10, 2021

Really enjoyed reading this play @Kristen Roth!

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 10, 2021

Glad to hear it, @Laura Holton !

Big brain play!

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Sudarshan Community Leader May 13, 2021

Very nice.
Like DACI, we have tried with Delegation board, which is also really useful - mainly on the thought of who does what and when.!

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Honestly, we never used that so I can't comment on the benefits. We always have insightful discussions, but might take a bit longer than expected naturally. DACI does seem to have the potential to bring structure to discussions held in an effort to make group decisions.

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Jack Brickey Community Leader May 24, 2021

DACI is new info for me but will now keep it in mind moving forward. 

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DACI is great for Agile teams. Theoretically in Scrum for instance the whole team as a cross-functional, self-organized group is driving the work towards increment and Sprint goal delivery. What happens quite often - especially for the retrospective actions - is that the whole team is accountable, but then it's unclear who will drive the action and lead the various activities towards the implementation of the retro improvement.

From this point of DACI is a perfect fit to establish clarity over ownership, consultancy, approvals etc. I find it very handy for the retro actions as well as team workshop actions.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team May 26, 2021

Yes! Thanks for chiming in, @Eva Kasiak !

Interesting Play....35,000 decisions blows my mind but I then thought about how indecisive I am :-D 

I wonder if the model works inside a Jira ticket, for example.

  • Driver: in charge pushing the team to the best possible outcome

    • This person is the reporter on the ticket
  • Approver: has the final say on which path the team should take

    • This person is the assignee on the ticket
      • Perhaps only assigned by the Driver once the Contributors are finished
      • Or auto assigned by an automation rule when the driver pushes the ticket into a 'requiring approval' status
  • Contributors: provide background info, data, and expertise

    • These people are tagged in the description to elaborate on the ticket and add information, thoughts etc.
      • This can be worked through the comments section and then the 'final' information included in the Description
  • Informed: not expected to contribute, but need to be aware

    • These people are watchers.

As I typed the above I thought more and wondered if perhaps it would be better for this to be held in a Confluence Template and used,

  • Driver: in charge pushing the team to the best possible outcome

    • Creator of the Page from the Template
  • Approver: has the final say on which path the team should take

    • Listed in the template and only notified/added when it reaches a 'Ready for Approval' status
  • Contributors: provide background info, data, and expertise

    • Tagged in the page on first publish and their job is to work with the Driver to fill the template out fully with everything the Approver needs through
      • Using the page as the place for the proposed and eventual final page
      • Using the comments as a place for discussion
    • Ensuring all is documented through the comments and page versions
  • Informed: not expected to contribute, but need to be aware

    • Added at the start by the Driver as watchers of the page

any input or examples of this being used like this @Kristen Roth 

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Jul 06, 2021

Nice, Jay! Your descriptions of each role and their participation/use of the page here look perfect. And yes! We do have a Confluence (and Trello!) Template for DACI. I hadn't thought about transitioning this Play to a Jira use case but your model above looks great.

This is great. When I was reading the initial post I was wondering how this would fit into Jira/Confluence! We use Jira & Confluence for change management. I have a few questions if anyone has a moment to provide some insight and suggestions. 

My team is a global team KL, UK, NA and in NA we have people across all time zones. 

The main questions I have is do we split up decisions by global team having specific DACI roles for that global team or do we have 1 person from each region as a DACI?

Would it be too much to have a Driver & Approver from each region? With the wide variety of skills we have across regions we could have multiple contributors at a time. 

Our team dynamic is to have everyone involved as much as they want to be, and most of the team wants to be involved whether in a contributor capacity or driver capacity. 

Hopefully the above makes sense. Any suggestions or "Hey we've been doing it this way" would be greatly appreciated. :) 

Greetings!  Decision making has "who" and "how" components, and I recommend looking into Delegation Poker to support the "who" for team decision making.  This method supports the idea of balancing autonomy with maturity level, and that teams progress over time to gain autonomy with maturity.  Check out this book for more information on that balance: Agile Leadership Toolkit: Learning to Thrive with Self-Managing Teams by Peter Koning.

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This play comes as a ring to my finger; I've been looking to implement something like this, especially from the Contributor's point of view, which hasn't been considered lately in recent meetings.

Thank you, @Kristen Roth

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Caroline R Atlassian Team Jul 26, 2021

We really like to use DACI on our team, but I didn't know this Trello version, I've always used the Confluence template. Next time, I'll try Trello! :) 

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Ajay _view26_ Community Leader Jul 30, 2021

Thanks @Kristen Roth ! Will definitely keep a note of DACI! :)

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nina_schmidt Community Leader Jul 31, 2021

We have a DACI matrix for our project process which is really helpful and very important. Never thought about using it for team decisions. Thank you!

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Aug 02, 2021

You bet, @nina_schmidt !

I think this is a really interesting idea, and way of documenting.  Will feed into the team and see what they think

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@Kristen Roth - I think we all do same thing during decision making but this structural  DACI (Driver, Approver, Contributor, Informed) framework would streamline the process and would give a better clarity to everyone and reminds me of RACI.  

I have a few questions, is it fair and acceptable if a personal plays multiple role and if yes and it raises conflict of interest then what's best practice to sort this out?

Cheers

Suvradip

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

Here's a game I love to play to discuss how a team makes decisions under pressure: https://spaceteam.ca/ 

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