Beta: (codename) 12sprints – what is it, and how can you register?
For the tl;dr folks, here’s a quick summary:
- 12sprints is the codename for an upcoming collaborative decision-making environment from SAP
- With it, you can bring in the right facts and reach consensus using pre-defined tools for decision-making
- You can request a spot in the beta program here: www.12sprints.com
For folks with a bit more time:
How do you make decisions in groups?
Think back to the last important decision you made in a group – whether at work or in an organization outside of work. What was the process for discussing options like? How did you come to consensus? What did you do after making the decision? Did the decision ever get acted on?
Here’s an example. A few years ago, I was on the strata council for the building I lived in. In our monthly meetings, we often discussed things that weren’t just important for everyone who lived in the building – they were also things that we’d be legally on the hook for, as representatives of the building.
A typical decision involved selecting vendors for a project. The property manager, for instance, might bring in three proposals for electrical maintenance. We’d spend a few minutes discussing each proposal – pros and cons, prices, reputations of vendors – and then, usually pretty soon after putting down the last proposal, we’d poll the council. If there was an obvious consensus, someone would make a motion, someone else would second it, and that’d be that.
Some decisions had obvious next steps – for example, to book the chosen vendor. Other decisions sometimes led to action items like further research or obtaining another quote. The property manager would take notes, and a week or so later, we’d get the minutes – with a brief summary of our decision in written from, along with the names of people involved in making the motion, seconding it, and (sometimes) voting against it.
What would be an ideal scenario for group decision-making?
At work, even in best-case scenarios, there are few situations in which we have the advantage of a hired meeting facilitator to take notes, guide discussions, and keep us accountable for action items that we decide on.
In fact, more often than not, collaboration and decision-making at work is a hodge-podge of one-on-one phone calls, conference calls, in-person meetings, and informal desk visits – which are typically kept track of in a sporadic email thread, if at all.
If your organization has an existing collaboration environment, documents might be shared, and notes might be added. But unless you’ve got a lawyer on your team (or an obsessive project manager) it’s pretty rare that you’ll end up with a single, unified view of how a decision was reached, and why – including feedback and next steps.
Even if your team is lucky enough to have a project manager who runs in-person meetings with military precision, is there ever really enough time to think about all the options? And what about decisions outside the scope of any one project manager or leader – or decisions that don’t quite meet the threshold of importance for engaging a project manager? How can they be made and recorded effectively?
Guided decisions, recorded outcomes, defined actions
What if you could combine the advantages of a recorded collaboration environment with decision-making best practices like pro-con tables, cost-benefit analyses, and RACI matrices? What if, after giving people enough time to deliberate, you could guide them to vote on a decision item and reach a consensus? What if you could assign related action items and draft a project timeline right in the same environment?
In some ways, it’d be a little like hiring a project manager to run a meeting, but allowing the meeting to run as long as necessary – and being able to freeze-frame the meeting whenever people needed extra time to carefully consider each option. You’d get decisions that were more thorough; you’d get outcomes that you could hold people accountable for; and, in the long run, you’d be able to refine and improve your process for making decisions overall.
That’s some of the thinking that was behind the creation of 12sprints. In short, it’s meant to help orchestrate the kinds of decisions you’d typically make via email, phone calls, and meetings. It’s ideal for ad hoc work that would otherwise lack a structured process flow. It’s a place where outcomes are recorded for future reference.
Register for the beta
If this sounds like a solution that could help you with your work, I invite you to request access to the beta. If you qualify, you’ll get access to use the 12sprints environment for free during the beta, in return for providing feedback on how it’s working for you. I look forward to your feedback.