Decision Authorities

A short note on decision authorities. Rather than naively associate decision authorities with “management” roles, they can be more intelligently and deliberately distributed throughout the company.

There are different kinds of decision authorities. We use the RAID model:

  • Recommend (R) - authority to recommend/propose a particular decision
  • Align / Approve (A) - authority to effectively veto a decision
  • Input (I) - authority to provide input on a decision
  • Decide (D) - authority to authorize the decision

Most of the power resides in the R, since this is where proposals come from. Those with “A” are required to be aligned with the R, while input is sought from those with “I”. The “D” authority is responsible for ensuring all other authorities were correctly followed, and for ultimately authorizing the decision. RAID is a common decision model you can read more about elsewhere.

It is important to note that RAID does not apply to the results negotiated in Q2 of a workflow. There are interlocking negotiations that inform the promises that can be made, but at the end of the day, the results negotiated between the Customer and Performer are not subject to a "decision making" framework determined by the RAID model, but are arise organically from a process of active listening and negotiation.

That said, in the day-to-day of executing a Workflow (ie. in Q3), certain decisions will need to be made: hiring a new team member, sponsoring a conference, deciding a new technology to adopt, etc. These are where the RAIDs kick in. Generally speaking, we will have clear roles (there’s many more roles than just the ones we have discussed), which will come with decision authorities that are expected to be utilized effectively in executing whatever Workflows are part of that role. For instance, a product owner is typically the hiring manager for their team, and will thus have R for hiring. Other team members will have A for hiring. Interviewers have I. The COO will have D. Hiring isn't a new workflow, it's a deciion made during execution of existing workflowss. Hiring managers should be thought of as executing 3 month or 1 year Workflows with the COO to grow their teams, with general results of the rules they need to follow for hiring. In conclusion, RAIDs do not determine workflows, but are a tool used during execution to make decisions that help deliver the results.