Delegation Poker & Delegation Board

Actualizado: 16 de dic de 2020

The ability to delegate is key to being able to advance in organizational agility: decentralizing decision-making allows you to adapt more quickly to changes, reacting at the speed that the business demands.


Sancor Seguros Paraguay is an Insurance company that develops its operations in Paraguay. The IT team is made up of four people:

  • Technical Support: Pedro

  • Systems Analyst: Edhelira

  • Process Analyst: Mónica

  • Infrastructure and Telecommunications Analyst: Erasmo

Its main function is to provide all IT services to the business.


In the IT team of Sancor Seguros Paraguay we work in this dynamic the decisions that could be made in the team and which not with the objective of achieving greater autonomy in the team with progressive work.


What is Delegation Poker?

The Management 3.0 model highlights three important aspects of delegation:

  • There are shades of gray: there are many intermediate levels between dictatorship and anarchy.

  • It is a step-by-step process: in order not to unleash chaos, delegation must be progressive and controlled.

  • It depends on the context of each team and organization: what works for some does not have to be good for others.

Delegation Poker is a game consisting of 7 cards with different levels of delegation:

Each card reflects a level of delegation, ordered from 1 to 7, for each decision in particular: 1 reflects the lowest degree of delegation and 7 the maximum decentralization of power.

This technique can be combined with the Delegation Board: a board on which the levels of delegation for each scenario or decision are represented, agreed by managers and their teams. The levels of delegation are as follows:


1. Tell: the leader makes a decision and then shares with others his motivation for the decision made.

2. Sell: the leader makes a decision and tries to convince others that the decision made is the right one, involving them so that they feel that they are part of the decision made.

3. Consult: Initially, the leader asks his team for an opinion, and then makes a decision, respecting the opinions of the people.

4. Agree: you have a conversation with everyone involved and, as a group, you reach a consensus on the decision.

5. Advise: the leader shares his opinion with others, but it is the team that will make the decision.

6. Inquire: the leader allows the team to make the decision, and then you ask them to share the criteria for the decision.

7. Delegate: the leader lets the team make the decision, without having to know the details of it.


How Did We Use This Practice

Since I am the manager of the team, I was very excited about this practice because it was the first time that we were going to agree who makes what kind of decisions in the team. My main purpose was to develop greater autonomy in the team to achieve greater time to market in the new functionalities and services that IT should implement during COVID-19, we needed to move and make decisions fast.


Then with the IT team of Sancor Seguros Paraguay, we first define the key decisions of the sector to be analyzed. We divided into two groups to draw up a list of key decision areas focused on the current situation of the company and the purpose "...move and make decisions fast...". After brainstorming in each group, both groups got together and presented the Key Decisions that they considered most important to fulfill the purpose and achieve greater autonomy. Both teams did a filter and agreed on a final list that they validated with the manager and that finally resulted in the list of key decisions to be analyzed.


We put them in the first column of the delegation board and then we went through each decision and agreed among all the team members the level of delegation of the decision.


The steps that must be carried out to play Delegation Poker are:

  1. A specific scenario or decision is presented. For example, deciding on a team vacation.

  2. Each team member privately chooses one of the seven delegation cards for that scenario. Perhaps someone prefers to have the decision made for him (level 1), and another person considers that he is able to decide for himself without consulting (level 7).

  3. When the players have decided, they can reveal the selected cards and explain the reasoning for their choices.

  4. Among all, there is debate to reach a consensus on the level of delegation for that scenario.

  5. The procedure is repeated for the different scenarios or decisions that you want to make.

  6. Once the different levels of delegation have been agreed for each scenario, they can be reflected in a Delegation Board: On this board, the delegation agreements reached by managers and their teams in each scenario should be clear.


My Learnings As Facilitator

Being clear and transparent in assigning responsibilities not only creates more effective and organized teams, but can also avoid headaches and misunderstandings.


Regardless of the decisions made, we must give our teams the confidence to turn to us when they consider it and really need it. The practice described here should be seen as a support tool that will always be fine-tuned.


The empowerment of the team is a gradual and progressive process that is not achieved overnight and by imposition, it is worked in a field of psychological security generating trust and through consensus, autonomy in decision-making little by little and through accompaniment, until achieving the highest level of agility possible in the team.


Leaders need to deliver clear goals, inspiring purpose, and real values ​​to teams for effective decision-making and self-organization to deliver results to the organization. They must help their teams to train in decision-making, allowing them to make decisions on not-so-critical issues, as they develop as professionals.



More Learning:


  • As facilitator we have to know that Delegation is not a binary thing. Much "shade of gray". "With great power comes great responsibility" (Uncle Ben, Spiderman). During the practice, we had a discussion about the responsibility of hiring a new team member. If the team wants to have the exclusive right to make the decision about who to hire, it must also deal with firing the employee if they don't fit into the team (among other obligations). This made the team a bit uncomfortable and therefore they agreed at delegation level 4: agree.

  • As facilitators we must not forget to reflect on the result after a few weeks or months, otherwise the participants will lose confidence in this method. It is not a one time activity, we must review the delegation matrix as the team matures.


Link Web Page Management 3.0 https://management30.com/

Link Web Page Management 3.0 Delegation Poker https://management30.com/practice/delegation-poker/

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