“I introduced your Delegation Poker to my project team. It helped a lot in our process of defining new responsibilities which we as a team can agree too. Now it is the base of discussion with our bosses. Even my boss understood it, he said, ‘That can be easily migrated to the RACI Matrix’.” – Team leader, Ortrun offshoring
Delegation often comes down to either “I do it” or “You do it.” But there are really Seven Levels of Delegation. Use Delegation Poker to clarify who’s responsible for what and to what level. This is a method where you can encourage employee engagement through controlled self-organization and clarified value and decision-making.
How can I get Delegation Poker today?
Download, print and cut out:
- Individual Cards, A4 format, or Letter Format (English)
- A4 format (German)
- A4 format (Czech)
- A4 format or Letter format (French)
- A4 format (Swedish)
- A4 format (Polish)
- A4 format or Letter format (Portuguese)
- A4 format (Russian)
- A4 format or Letter format (Spanish)
- A4 format or Letter format (Dutch)
How do we play Delegation Poker?
Each team plays this game differently, so you can follow some of the more common rules we’re sharing here or you can make up your own. 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. This can range from project design and authority to hiring new team members.
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 (see below.)
Team members will repeat the following steps for each pre-defined case:
- One person picks out a situation to read aloud OR he tells a story from personal experience.
- Each player chooses one of the seven delegation cards privately, reflecting on how she would delegate the decision in that particular situation.
- When all players have decided, they reveal their selected cards.
- Everyone earns points according to the value of their selected card, except the players that are the “highest minority” (see below).
- Let the people with the highest and the lowest cards explain the reasoning behind their choices.
- You can then create a Delegation Board to show the results of your consensus.
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 7, 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 7, 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.
“I first used these cards in an Agile Management 3.0 training; now I use them to train my management team. They are easy to use and you can easily clarify the delegation styles and the different approaches.”
– JEROEN VAN HERTUM, operations director at Strypes ICT
Delegation Poker is played at most Management 3.0 events. Join one today!
What are the Learning Objectives of Delegation Poker?
The objective of this game is to drive home the idea of delegating decisions and tasks to your team within a controlled environment. It also is a good team collaboration game. Many teams play it without even totaling points. More than anything else it is a conversation topic and a starting point for the discussion of who should do what.
- Delegation is not a binary thing. There are plenty of “shades of gray” between being a dictator and being an anarchist.
- Delegation is a step-by-step process. You hand over accountability to other people, in a controlled and gradual way.
- Delegation is context-dependent. You want to delegate as much as possible, but, if you go too far, chaos might unfold.
Management 3.0 in Action: Delegation Poker tips and case stories:
- ‘Can Games Change Management?’
- Video: How to learn to play Delegation Poker in 3 minutes
- ‘How to use Delegation Poker in lieu of RACI Matrix’
- ‘Using Delegation Poker to scale your company’
- ‘Can a game change management?’
- ‘How delegation poker helps clarify IT roles’
- ‘Delegation Poker + Authority Boards’
- How to Play: Delegation Poker by Jurgen Appelo
- ‘Free delegation exercise’
- Video: How to delegate better with 7 delegation levels
- ‘Delegation Poker in a Scaled Agile Framework’