Team decisions

How does a team make decisions? At a recent retrospective across several teams, I saw three distinct styles. One team was up by the whiteboard, collaborating and brainstorming while writing down their individual ideas on post-its and putting them directly on the board. Another team sat down by their group desk, individually writing down their ideas and then walking up to the whiteboard one by one to carefully put their post-it’s there. And at the third team, the group’s lead was the only one writing down ideas, with the rest of the team around him, all eyes on him and politely responding to his questions. Once done, he walked up to the whiteboard and put the carefully crafted ideas there.

None of these ways are necessarily better than the other. What works, works. In general, there is a number of styles of team decision making.


One person makes the decisions in some areas. The team delegated the power to make the decision to one person. For example, the legal counsel makes changes in the non-disclosure-agreement in a multidisciplinary team.


The majority of the team has to agree on the decision. The majority decides. It could result in unexpected surprises, one word: "Brexit." In a team, it could be, for example, the location of the hotel for the next team retreat.


One or more team members can make a decision after discussion with people who have knowledge about the decision, who are involved, are affected. If there are no significant objections, it is decided. Consent decision making. For example, the marketer proposes a new marketing tool but needs to discuss with the sales manager, and data analyst.


Everyone should agree, full consensus. No exception, if one person disagrees, it is a no go. For example, a new hire in a team.


Any decision is OK as long as a decision is made. For example, rolling the dice in the Management 3.0 team to decide if a bonus is paid out.