The goal of Enterprise Agility is to have a nimble, flexible organization. To reach this end we need to have a clear decision-making process that supports autonomy and learning while achieving effective outcomes.

The Advice Process is easy to understand. Anyone in the organization can make a decision provided they get advice from everyone who will be meaningfully affected and people with expertise in the matter. The Advice Process helps organizations develop trust, ownership and learning to create a nimble organization. The Advice Process originates from corporate innovation as documented in “Joy at Work” and “Reinventing Organizations”

In this hands-on session you will learn how to use “Advice Poker” cards as a sense-making and education tool to explore how decisions are made and can be made. The Advice Process will be contrasted with other approaches such as consensus and traditional hierarchical decision-making. You will walk away with a powerful tool to invite greater levels of trust and ownership to allow Agile to scale.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

The topic of decision-making has been addressed in our community through excellent efforts in this area such as Delegation Poker, Decider Protocol, Lean A3 Technique. The Advice Process takes decision-making to the next level to help us more effectively support Agile not just at a team level, but across the whole organization.

The session will be delivered as an experiential workshop. This is how I intend to structure the time.

* Welcome/Objectives [3 min]

* Warm-up exercise: How are decisions made in your org? How much autonomy is there? Is there space for risk and learning? Reflect and share at your table. Large group sharing on experience (Build histogram of responses).  [7 min]

* Advice Process Intro – definition and use – give people a one page handout to solo-read. Discuss at tables what would happen if this was followed (good, bad, interesting). Large group debrief. [20]

* Advice Poker Cards [20]

 * Solo exercise: write down 5 decision you made (or were involved with) in the last week and 5 decisions that you need to make (or be involved with).

 * Introduce and explain cards.

 * Solo exercise to use cards to clarify involvement. What was and what ought to be.

 * Table discussion followed by large group share + Q&A.

* Using Advice Poker to Create Ownership Agreements. Solo work to identify areas of unclear ownership (at work) that are causing challenges and the parties involved. Group to pick some examples and discuss what card each group may play. Discussion and large group sharing. Presenter to share some remarks on using this to surface tensions. [15 min]

* Create your action plan. 2 min solo & then 3 min table sharing [5 min]

* Questions & Answers [5 min]


Presentation History:

I have been using the advice process with my clients as part of normal work as well as within the Toronto Agile Community not-for-profit. I have created a custom set of cards that are used to teach the advice process and used in real life to clarify decision-making. I have been training clients on this method, however, this workshop will be a novel creation that takes a broader look at decision-making in the enterprise.

This session was run at Agile 2106 in the Enterprise Agility track. I intend to shorten it to meet 60 minute timeframe.

Learning Outcome

  • Able to use advice process in daily interactions with others
  • Explain key benefits and challenges of different decision-making processes
  • See relationship between decision-making process and trust, ownership and learning
  • Use Advice Poker to create agreements about ownership of decisions

Target Audience

Managers, Executives, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches


schedule Submitted 6 years ago

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