Working in Agile way means that the focus is on the team rather than individuals thus making decisions as a team is an important part of the way of working. These decisions invariably impact the value that a team can get out of each other working in a collaborative way so making a decision that is reached with a consensus is of real importance. Consensus decision making helps team to achieve better solutions, promotes trust and improves team spirit. Consensus driven approach also ensures that each team member is given an opportunity to express their thoughts, opinions making them feel a valued member of the team.
But how do we reach consensus in an effective way? Well, below are some of the techniques widely used in the Agile community.
Fist of Five
For this technique each individual member of a team simply uses their hand to indicate their support for a particular decision. Here is how it works
A team member holding
a fist – 0 – he/she is not in support of this decision at all
1,2 fingers – there are some reservations for supporting this decision and those need to be addressed
3,4 fingers – there are some reservations for supporting this decision but happy to go ahead with this decision
5 fingers – full support for the decision in question
A team may decide that they need a good representation of 3 fingers up before any decision can become actionable.
Thumb Up – There is a full support for the decision
Thumb sideways – There are some reservations which need to be addressed before a full support can be provided
Thumb down – There is No support for this decision
After team members have expressed their opinions, views about the current topic, make a list of actionable items that the team would like to implement. Group similar actionable items into one. Each member is then given an option of multiple votes to vote on these items. An action with the most number of votes or the top 3 from the list are the actions that the team will implement.