How To Make Group Decisions Suck Less

Does this sound familiar? You’re working in a group, frustrated with the lack of progress; there are too many opinions, no clear leader or decision-maker. Do you think it would be easier if you called all the shots? Probably. But for projects like building a company website, the solution tends to be better in a group because of the diverse perspectives and expertise. Group decisions are hard because everyone’s got an opinion and egos, insecurities and personal conflicts can get in the way.

In my previous BLOG post, we dove into discovering your brand personality (one aspect of my discovery process). This time around let’s discuss a challenge that’s common in medium to larger projects… making the dreaded group decision. There are tons of tools out there. The model that I use is called the DACI (an acronym for Driver-Approver-Contributor-Informed). Don’t get me wrong, this method isn’t going to solve all your problems. You may not all be singing kumbaya around the campfire BUT it’s simple and effective in my experience for making decisions smoother and keeping the project on time.

At the beginning of our project, you will outline the role of every person on the team (see example below) to reduce confusion and stay on track and on time. From my experience, if there’s more than 2 people on a project, DACI is good insurance. It only takes 5-10 minutes to hash out…a smart bet considering no amount of re-work is ever limited 5 to 10 minutes. Never.

To help provide some color, here’s a simplified example with my Owl Peeps..

Decision DACI matrix

Let’s review some detail on each role…

  • D = Driver = the person driving the ship (this is one person, no more).
  • A = Approver = the person whose head is on the chopping block if the project fails (ideally this is one person, in reality its 2-3 people).
  • C = Contributor = peeps doing the work, which could be from many, many different internal (e.g., engineer) or external (e.g., publisher) people.
  • I = Informed = folks not doing the work but are impacted by the progress and results.

I know you’re thinking, “I’ve been managing projects forever”. Why do I need this extra layer of overhead on my project, especially a simple effort? As human-beings (which is usually most of us in projects), we are naturally terrible at estimating.

“Our brains are designed to be optimistic about the future, and we have a tendency to forget unpleasant past events.”

The DACI can minimize this risk by ensuring you have brought the right folks into the fold. No one likes rework or reopening a previously made decision. It can be frustrating and demotivating for the whole team.

There are many, many other aspects of the DACI we could cover but this general introduction gives you an idea of how we’ll manage this project together to keep us on track and organized throughout the process of building your company’s website. I hope this is helpful.

Drop me a line on my contact page, I’d love to hear how you stay organized on design projects or if I can help with your digital projects.


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