Description of the workshop

The Delegation Poker workshop was designed to help team members better determine their levels of responsibility regarding the decisions inherent to the team operations. It comes from the Management 3.0 toolbox.

The exercise is beneficial for leaders looking for the right level of authority to adopt towards their colleagues, that is, the level of authority that allows them to be empowered and motivated while limiting possible operational risks.

The workshop is based on the 7 levels of delegation proposed by Jurgen Appelo in his book Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders:

  1. Level 1 - Tell: You make a decision for others, and you may explain your motivation. A discussion about it is neither desired nor assumed.
  2. Level 2 - Sell: You make a decision for others but try to convince them that you made the right choice, and you help them feel involved.
  3. Level 3 - Consult: You ask for input first, which you take into consideration before making a decision that respects people’s opinions.
  4. Level 4 - Agree: You enter into a discussion with everyone involved, and as a group you reach consensus about the decision.
  5. Level 5 - Adivse: You will offer others your opinion and hope they listen to your wise words, but it will be their decision, not yours.
  6. Level 6 - Inquire: You first leave it to the others to decide, and afterwards, you ask them to convince you of the wisdom of their decision.
  7. Level 7 - Delegate: You leave the decision to them and you don’t even want to know about details that would just clutter your brain.

The Delegation Poker workshop template has two sections:

  • A delegation table that visually summarizes the levels of delegation decided for each of the situations listed;
  • A poker table where participants estimate and debate the right level of delegation for each case.

How to run this workshop

Step 1: List situations you want to manage

List the situations you want to manage with a delegation policy.

Step 2: Play the poker game

Sit down around the Delegation Poker table. If the number of participants exceeds 7, separate them into two groups.

For each situation listed:

  • Each participant secretly chooses the level of delegation they deem appropriate;
  • Participants copy and paste the chosen card onto the poker table;
  • Participants who chose the lowest and highest levels of delegation explain the reasons behind their choice;
  • In the delegation table, place the star at the selected level of delegation.

Step 3: Take a step back

Once you have dealt with all listed cases, observe the delegation table and collaboratively ensure the overall consistency of the determined delegation levels.