Fork in the road - Decision Making

DACI Decision Making Framework – HPC Toolkit

DACI Decision Making Framework Overview:

  • Objective = To create an overview on who is involved in making the decisions regarding a specific project or area of responsibility.
  • Team Size = Any group size will work
  • Time = 60 mins
  • Difficulty = Medium
  • Materials Required = No
  • Preparation Required = YES
  • Technology Required = Shared document and video/phone conferencing

DACI Decision Making Framework – HPC Toolkit

Why this is an important activity for your team

If you are like most people, you’ve experienced unclarity in decision making.  Who has the final approval on project X?  Who needs to be consulted on decision Y?  Who do I need to inform about changes to process Z?  These are the types of questions you and your team need clarity on.

Unfortunately, most teams don’t spend the time to map out their stakeholders in this level of detail.  They end up getting detailed insights from some stakeholders that only needed to be informed, while critical stakeholders are ignored.  That is why the DACI Decision Making Framework is such a valuable team tool.  It will help you map out your team all of your key stakeholders and to what level you need to engage with them.

DACI Decision Making Framework – HPC Toolkit

Step 1 – Align on the exact projects or decisions that you will use for the DACI exercise

The DACI decision making framework can be utilized to identify the key stakeholders for many different projects or decisions within a project.  The first step in running the DACI exercise is to align on which projects or decisions within a project you will discuss.

We recommend using a DACI template to capture all of the relevant information you discuss,  

DACI Decision Making Framework – HPC Toolkit

Step 2 – Identify the Driver

Every decision or step within a project requires a driver.  The driver is the one person within the team that is responsible for making sure the decision / project step is finalized.  They are responsible for coordinating all the relevant stakeholders are involved, and that all the stakeholders have the relevant information needed to make a decision.  In some situations, the Driver is responsible for ensuring the decision is made by the stakeholders, but they don’t actually influence the decision.  

Some example tasks of the driver include: 

  • Scheduling the relevant meetings, including kickoff, key milestones, and final decision meetings.
  • Making sure that the team and relevant stakeholders provide their input within the neccesary time.  This includes following up with people to ensure their input is captured.
  • Ultimately they are responsible for making progress on the decision, and helping to identify and remove any roadblocks hindering the decision.

DACI Decision Making Framework – HPC Toolkit

Step 3 – Set the Approver

The approver is the person with the final say in approving the decision.  Approvers are typically managers or someone with decision making authority within the company.  Sometimes the Approver and the Driver can be the same person, but often times they are different.

DACI Decision Making Framework – HPC Toolkit

Step 4 – Identify the Contributors 

Contributors are people that have a voice in the decision making process.  They have critical knowledge and are able to help in creating the proposed solution, but ultimately they do not have the final say.  They are usually stakeholders with specific expertise or responsibilities that give them critical perspectives. 

We find it important to distinguish the different types of contribution the stakeholders should provide.  Some Contributors will be selected based on their “hands” as they can help build solutions, while others will be selected based on their “heads” as they can provide helpful information or their perspectives. By identifying which type of contribution is needed, you can set clear expectations with the stakeholder in terms of what kind of support is needed from them.  

DACI Decision Making Framework – HPC Toolkit

Step 5 – Map out who should be Informed

The Informed category in the DACI Framework is for anyone that is impacted by the decision or project, but is not captured in any of the other categories.  They need to be informed of your decision so that they modify their work and ensure they are aligned with the decision.  

DACI Decision Making Framework – HPC Toolkit

Step 6 – Wrap Up with final logistics

As you are assigning each of the previous roles, there is likely going to be some outstanding questions.  Things like: “Are we sure this is the right person to involve?” or “We should ask Mary if she can think of some other people we need to inform”.   Make sure that a member of your team is assigned each question and a due date for getting the anser, that way you can finalize your DACI decision framework.
DACI Decision Making Framework – HPC Toolkit

High Performance Team Building

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Cary Bailey–Findley has built High Performance Cultures within three Fortune 500 companies, and was awarded the ranking of #1 development organization in the world by the Association of Talent Development. He is currently the Talent Manager for SimCorp, but spends his free time helping startups scale up the the talent they need to succeed.

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