Agile Software Development gains much of its power from self-organizing teams. These teams take a lot of decisions that traditionally are taken by managers. When teams first start with Scrum or another agile process they are often unpractised in reaching group agreements. This week’s 1-pager features some basic ways to vote.
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Content of 1-Pager:
Ways to vote
In agile self-organizing teams often take decisions for themselves instead of relying on managers. This can call for votes to settle a discussion. Check out these basic ways to vote!
You’ve got a list of options and want to pick the top ones fast
All participants get the same number of votes to split and distribute on the options however they like. Fewer votes mean faster counting. 3 votes per person is a popular number. In this case 1:1:1, 1:2 and 3 votes for the same topic are all valid. In the name-coining form of Dot Voting the facilitator hands out stick-on dots to the participants. 1 dot per vote. If you’re not concerned about someone manipulating the votes, you can also use X’s, drawn with big markers. That way it also works on whiteboards.
Gauge the support for one proposal
Everybody votes at the same time by showing a thumb up, horizontally or down. Thumb up shows support, thumb to the side means “I’ll support whatever the majority wants” and thumb down means that you want to speak.Beware of lots of horizontal thumbs. Support is lukewarm at best.
“Was that a decision?”
In a discussion the participants seem to have reached consensus yet it’s not explicit
Sometimes you don’t need a vote. Encourage everyone to loudly ask “Was that a decision?” in unclear situations. This question often gets enough silent people to voice a “Yes” so that people know that they indeed just took a decision. People are forced to speak up, if they object. It’s a simple, effective, technique for advanced teams. In fresh teams people might not speak up if they object. Silence does not equal consent.