Delegation Poker

I discovered this dynamic a long time ago, as Jurgen Appelo says:

"delegation is not easy. Managers often fear a loss of control when considering to allow teams to self-organize, and creative networkers sometimes don't know how to self-organize. A delegation board enables management to clarify delegation and to foster empowerment for both management and workers".

The dynamic are explained bellow:

I consider it completely indispensable when you start any kind of transformation in a client or company. In this way people will know their levels of delegation, it is a self-knowledge and self-learning.

I always follow the dynamic to the letter, because it has a lot of potential. Initially we read the 7 levels of delegation and explain its context, why it applies and what is the motivation of each level of delegation. This dynamic is very indicated for medium-high levels so that they themselves know themselves at their level of delegation.

Here is a series of case studies and their level of delegation, we open a small debate about what they think of  these conclusions or scores.

Finally we added a Delegation Board on a blackboard to add scores. We detail bellow:

Later we work on a series of examples that we detail bellow:

- Create the architecture, a professional development team will build, monitor and regulate traffic with traffic lights in a new development of 10.000 inhabitants. What level of authority would you give the team?

- Choose a new CRM tool for the company, the existing one has reached its limit and does not satisfy the needs anymore, a team will direct the study of the tool that best adapts, impact and its implementation. What level of delegation would you give to the team?

- Organize an event, we have been ordered to create a team of employees to fill a night of games for all employees in the office, ther is a fixed budget. What level of delegation would you give the team? So during 10 situations that arise!

Following the steps of the dynamic, each members eads a case, them chooses the level of delegation that he considers appropiate, and the letters selectd by each one are shared.

Everyone earns a point except the major or minor minority (the extreme cards that have come out in a unique way), between the major and minor cards the conclusions are discussed and put in common. The scores obtained are added to the Delegation Board that we finally share.


Some examples of feedback received are:

The level of learning is absolutely beautiful and very good!

People know themselves at their delegation levels! Such statements as:

"I never thought I would have this level of delegation."

"I never imagined that I would delegate so much."

"I have a lot to work on to be agile because I didn't think I had this level of control."

It can go well:

For 3 months, an exercise of delegation with the managers was carried out, with a series of tasks that will be carried out both by you and by your teams. It was defined what both the team and the manager perceived as a secure context for their teams with a written agreement:

- Feel safe at work to comment.

- To be able to give and receive comments without feeling bad, aggrieved or scared.

- Reduction of the levels of political decisions, giving space to the team to have greater autonomy.

- Acceptance of failure and encourage continuous learning depending on the situation.

Subsequently, the issues were applied with manager delegation poker and with teams in reverse, what level of delegation would give you more autonomy in your work to improve?

Managers were asked What should they do or what should happen so that their level of delegation goes from an X to an X + 1?

This dynamic was performed in cases such as:

- Equipment estimates.

- Distribution of tasks within teams.

- Situations of disagreement between the team leader and team members.

- Experience of specialized profiles within a team to help and collaborate in the team without being a bottleneck.

Initially with 3 more "early adopter" managers, the level of delegation they had in the previous tasks was transparent, as well as the level of delegation their teams perceived. In addition, the possible "solutions" or advice to improve their level of delegation by both parties were also transparent.

Was it evaluated monthly how the month had gone in a retrospective and how should I continue iterating? What has worked? What has not worked? Why? How would we help?

With 2 other managers, their delegation levels were not transparent, but the possible measures or solutions that would help.

It can go wrong:

In some cases it has happened that the person does not want to delegate directly and the conversation can be confiscated.

I try to move it to an exercise of empowerment of the Why?

What do you feel if you delegate at an n + 1 level.

That prevents delegating at an n + 1 level.

In these cases, I have had to do this part in private, practically accompanied by a 1 to 1 coaching session.

My opinion:

The main learning is that through transparency and empathy between groups of people, collaboration is generated, a shared purpose of help and improvement to row everything in the same direction. It is also true that in certain groups this process is very difficult or slower, but you always work from the empowerment of the delegation:

- I want to delegate you with an X level and I give you that power.

- I think I want to be delegated.

- We have the capacity to receive that delegation, or in case of not having them, they will allow us and guide us to obtain them.

My conclusion:

Synergies can be generated, beautiful discussions about the root cause of their level of delegation, they are compared with the rest of the people and establish ties to face future situations or possible "experiments" to be applied and receive subsequent feedback with follow-up always to help in their Delegation levels Accompaniment! Accompaniment! Accompaniment!