Management Fix: Delegation Poker Implementation

Here is your weekly dose of Human Management with some more food for thought to leverage your growth.
Since we believe the Management Fixes are common and typical, every description is created and adapted from articles, blog posts and definitions from other sources and authors.
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This week’s “Delegation Poker Implementation” is a must-have for every team leader or consultant.

By definition, delegation poker is a method where you can encourage employee engagement through controlled self-organization and clarified value and decision-making. (Extracted and adapted from

Quite often we see situations where no clear responsibilities are defined between two entities, such as a manager and a team or between two teams. They kind of figure it out when a situation occurs. They prefer to avoid general commitments. This can lead to confusion and misunderstandings, which in turn leads to dissatisfaction and finally to an ineffective and inefficient organization.

Managers often do not want to hand over responsibility. Often because they see delegation as a binary decision — either I decide, or You decide. They might fear that delegating decisions will make them powerless. This does not have to be the case. You can define the intermediate stages of delegation. (Extracted and adapted from

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The objective of Delegation Poker is to drive home the idea of delegating decisions and tasks to your team within a controlled environment. It also is a good collaboration game.

How to play Delegation Poker?

It’s all about organizing how you and your team look at delegation and self-organization. Start by making a list of pre-defined cases or situations in which you want to create a delegation policy, establishing who has what influence. Team members should be organized in groups of three to seven people. Each teammate gets a set of cards numbered 1 through 7, signifying the Seven Levels of Delegation.

Team members will repeat the following steps for each predefined case:

  1. One person picks out a situation to read aloud OR he tells a story from personal experience.
  2. Each player chooses one of the seven delegation cards privately, reflecting on how she would delegate the decision in that particular situation.
  3. Once all players have decided, they can then reveal their selected cards.
  4. Everyone earns points according to the value of their card, except the players that are the “highest minority” (see below).
  5. Let the people with the highest and the lowest cards explain the reasoning behind their choices.
  6. You can then create a Delegation Board to show the results of your consensus.
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The Rule of the Highest Minority speaks to the idea of delegating as far as possible without taking it too far. You may have a player who always chooses seven, if he is alone in his choice, that gets thrown out as an option, as do his points. Now if three or four people all chose seven, that is the majority meaning each of them earns seven points.

Some also play that the Lowest Minority gets no points either, like a boss who always wants to maintain control or an indecisive teammate who doesn’t want any authority. (Extracted and adapted from

This Management 3.0 tool is part of an amazing work started by Jurgen Appelo and continued by the Management 3.0 Team and Community.
Remember to learn and share as they do, so that we can grow together.

Known Associates

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This MngtFix has been mentioned in relation to a number of MngtBugs such as…
“Lack of Communication”,
“People Micromanaged”,
“Undefined Responsibilities”,
“Overlapping Responsibilities”,
“Lack of Roles and Ownership Definition”,
and of course “Lack of Delegation”!

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What about you? What do you want more or less of on medium post?
Do you have other suggestions?

I would love to know more about your feedback and stories so that we can learn, share and grow together!

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Have a nice week and remember…
Human Managers should strive to be humans while managing and be managed as humans!

Written by

Eduardo Espinheira is a Consultant, Facilitator, Manager, Public Speaker, Creator of the Management Bugs&Fixes and the Machiavellian PM Stories

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