Getting Started With DACI Decision Making Method
Decision-making affects every phase of project management. It may save time to have an individual responsible for all decisions, but employees are 22% more productive when they feel engaged in their projects.
Group decision-making is fundamental to productive and happy teams. However, the process can be complicated, especially when everyone has different ideas, and some are happier to voice their opinions than others.
A structured framework like the DACI method can help guide the group decision-making process for any enterprise, from charities to web domains providers, to make it a standardized, efficient, collaborative effort that allows everyone to be heard.
The Benefits of Group Decision-making
When groups are managed correctly, group decision-making can provide several benefits:
1. A Wider Variety of Solutions
When one person decides unilaterally, they can only draw upon their knowledge. A group can brainstorm a much wider range of potential solutions. With more alternatives to choose from, it’s also more likely that there will be a higher percentage of superior solutions than an individual could have generated alone.
For example, it’s beneficial for a company to collaborate with a QA tester agency to help generate a wider range of results to ensure the quality of its products.
2. Unite Diverse Skills and Experience
Teams allow the best skills, knowledge, and experience to be combined in one unit. Individuals can often develop work habits that are hard to throw off. Teams allow a combination of experience and new methodologies to be shared and used. Individual strengths can be promoted and applied to maximize the team’s success.
3. Team Investment
When team members’ opinions are sought after and valued, they are more committed to a project’s success and more productive.
This is especially the case when they have been an integral part of the decision-making process. More individuals are involved in group decisions, therefore more individuals are invested in the outcome of their project.
4. Greater Collaboration
Group working is a skill that only improves with practice. Even when teams change, cooperation, collaboration, confidence, and communication are skills that can be applied in any field and are valuable to the success of any project.
The Pitfalls of Group Decision-making
With any process that involves several people, there can be hurdles to overcome:
1. Time Constraints
When an individual decides, they only need to consider their perspective, therefore it takes less time for them to make a decision. If your project has a short time frame, having to consult with a group before a decision can be made is frustrating and inefficient. Like on demand software testing, you may need results immediately and can’t wait for a group consensus.
2. The Process
The group decision-making process often creates disagreements that can sometimes become aggressive. Minorities can try to push their agenda and encourage others to adopt their viewpoint, forcing some to suppress their views. This can also lead to polarization and stalemates, which are unproductive.
3. Lack of Direction
If teams lack direction and drive, decisions never get made Without established roles and responsibilities, it’s impossible to hold individuals accountable for time delays or work they have not completed.
4. Lack of Diversity
A group can only be effective when it draws upon the right talent to help them make the right decision. Team members, therefore, need to be chosen with care to provide the relevant knowledge and expertise to make an informed decision.
If a team doesn’t incorporate a diverse range of experience, particularly from those who will be affected by the outcome, then it becomes more difficult for that team to make a knowledgeable, inclusive decision.
5. Personal Dynamics
Conflict between team members happens and can have a detrimental effect on the decision-making process. Some team members may side with or stand against other team members based on past or current dynamics. All this can lead to a headache for project managers who need to establish a smooth and efficient process.
You want to overcome these pitfalls and you’ve heard the DACI method is the way to do it, but what is it?
The DACI method
The DACI (usually pronounced day-see) group decision-making framework helps teams to make decisions efficiently. By providing strong direction and allowing contributions from those with the relevant knowledge and experience, the DACI method involves all who will be affected.
The DACI method features defined roles and responsibilities, ensuring a time-effective consensus amongst the decision-making team.
How Does the DACI Method Work?
DACI is an acronym derived from the four roles and responsibilities of the framework:
- Driver - the person in charge of the team. They provide direction for the team to ensure the best possible outcome. For example, the Driver could be a project manager tasked with boosting website conversions and creates a team to decide whether to increase conversions with A/B testing.
- Approver - approves the final decision based upon the direction given by the Driver and the information provided by the contributors.
- Contributors - the experts who provide the detailed information that will be used to make the decision. Their knowledge and experience help the team navigate the pros and cons of the options available.
- Informed - all those who will be affected by the decision made. They are those who need to be kept in the loop regarding the process and outcome. They can offer feedback, but don’t need to contribute to the decision.
What’s the Process?
Once a need for a decision has been identified, the decision-making plan requires some key sections:
1. Define the Decision
It may seem obvious, but the first step is to identify the problem and the decisions that need to be made to resolve it. How can people decide what’s not clearly defined? Plus, individuals often disagree about what should be prioritized.
Providing a clearly defined decision ensures every team member understands what needs to be addressed and can focus their attention effectively, working towards the same goal.
2. Assign the Roles and Responsibilities
Once the decision has been defined, who will need to contribute to the decision-making process?
The Driver sets out the roles and responsibilities according to the framework and brings the team together.
The team must incorporate individuals with the relevant expertise, skills, and experience to ensure the group can make an informed decision.
For example, a team deciding whether to start testing for meltdown and spectre vulnerability in their software must include bug testing experts as contributors.
Once the roles and responsibilities have been allocated, the team should respect and follow the plan to ensure a positive outcome.
3. Set Out the Details
The key details of the plan should be recorded and made available to each team member. They can then contribute to the action plan and provide additional insights that the Driver has not considered.
Outline the resources required and who needs to provide them. Set a deadline to avoid unnecessary delays.
Set a deadline for the final decision too. Without one, the process could be endless, and we all know that time constraints play an integral role in the project management triangle. Individuals are unlikely to prioritize the work required for your team if you do not set your expectations.
4. Establish the Options
Your plan should include all the options and the pros and cons of each potential solution. Are there any questions that need to be answered before a decision can be made, and who will provide the answers? The plan should be a living document each team member can add to.
Once the decision has been made, the explanation for why that decision was made and the outcome should be recorded.
Your document can then be used to review your decision-making process or re-assess a wrong decision. Like the process of continuous testing, you should check what’s working or not. Regular evaluation can inform and improve your decision-making processes.
Tips To Make the DACI Method Work for You
1. Ensure Consensus
Everyone on the decision-making team should understand and agree to follow the framework.
2. Regular Reviews
Review the process regularly to ensure it is still effective in helping your teams achieve positive outcomes. We all recognize the importance of customer reviews. Likewise, get feedback from your teams and those who were affected by the outcomes. Were individuals upset because they weren’t included in a decision?
Keep an open mind about your process and allow for improvement. You may also have to continuously re-evaluate decisions that impact ongoing operations.
3. Avoid Assumptions
Team members shouldn’t make assumptions based on their own judgment. Hasty decisions without assessing the information properly can be detrimental to your project.
The DACI method encourages active listening and the consideration of multiple perspectives, and the Driver should actively encourage this approach.
4. Establish Trust
If you explain why you are using the DACI method before you implement it, and explain the benefits, you can help to establish trust and confidence in the framework.
Again, asking the participants for feedback on the process makes them feel their contributions are valued and members are therefore more invested.
5. Use Project Management Software
If you need help implementing the ADACI framework, try a project management tool.
Remote working has made cloud-based software more relevant than ever before. Not only do they provide the Driver with an effective way to delegate roles and keep track of the project, but they also allow every team member to access the information they need to help them make an informed decision.
To Sum Up
No one wants their project to fail because their group decision-making continually descends into a frustrating and tedious battle of wills.
The DACI method provides a time-efficient group decision-making framework that allows those involved in the process the chance to contribute.
By providing strong direction and allowing all contributors to be heard, the DACI method offers a standardized process to help navigate the potential pitfalls of group decision-making, increase individual engagement, and improve outcomes.
Need more help? Check out the Zentao blog. They have more articles on project management tools, software management, building cross-functional teams, and so much more.
Author bio :
Emily Rollwitz - Content Marketing Executive, Global App Testing
Emily Rollwitz is a Content Marketing Executive at Global App Testing, a remote and on-demand app testing company helping top app teams deliver high-quality mobile compatibility testing tools, anywhere in the world. She has 5 years of experience as a marketer, spearheading lead generation campaigns and events that propel top-notch brand performance. Handling marketing of various brands, Emily has also developed a great pulse in creating fresh and engaging content. She has also written articles for sites such as AirDroid and CBNation.