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Making decisions in our projects

We'd like to have a predictable way of making decisions so that we are not blocked on picking vim over emacs. I mean solution A over solution B.

Open Decision Framework

This is the Red Hat's framework for making open, transparent and democratic decisions in organizations.

We can use it for making large-scale decisions which affect multiple stakeholders and where implementation would take a considerable effort. Although that's not what we need here, we need to be able to make quick democratic decisions within one sprint.

I am amazed that the framework champions these type of questions and suggestions which can help us decide:

  • Whose problem are we trying to solve?
  • Who else could be impacted?
  • Who has solved a similar problem?
  • Who is likely to disagree, dissent, reject, or opt out? Who else may care?
  • Gather input from internal customers and those who you will need help from (surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.)
  • Remain open to new information and perspectives
  • Consider peer-to-peer feedback and communication options in addition to formal channels
  • How will we monitor mailing lists and other feedback channels after the launch?
  • How willing are we to make revisions based on feedback?
  • What's a reasonable window of time for additional input and refinement?
  • Did we overlook something important? How do we address it?


Decisions in FESCo are the daily bread so we can get an inspiration here. They have a well-thought voting mechanism:

  • One week for FESCo members to vote +1 or -1. After the period accept if 3 +1s were received without a negative vote and vice versa.

  • Immediately accept or reject when getting 7 votes of the same type.

  • After a week, discuss the topic and decide.

This also sounds like a too complicated solution for us although I like the aspect of: discuss when unsure, accept/reject in agreement.

UK Government suggestion for voting in charities

Simple and clear: members cast votes on meetings :) just like we do with grooming.

"Board Voting: Common Steps & Tips for Better Decision-Making"

Interesting (and biased) blog post which describes in detail the process of voting in non-profit organizations.

Franta's suggestion about decision making in Teal organizations

A thorough and well-explained comparison between types of organization and the decision making process followed by a fascinating read about the Teal decision making.

Funnily enough, the advice the article is giving is contrary to my current proposal ('duh). They advise for the decision maker to make a call based on research, advices and being the subject matter expert. I instead suggested to have a consensus on a decision. The argument from the article is that reaching consensus is too expensive time-wise and resource-wise. I'd still try what I propose and reevaluate what's the most optimal process for us after a period of time.

We can definitely still learn from the article so I strongly suggest reading it.


Another fascinating process to make decisions with a clear process how to reach decisions.

CKI's feedback mechanism

CKI team uses the Request For Comments mechanism to formally propose a change so the team can provide feedback without requiring eventual consensus.

Democracy 2.1

A new way of voting proposal created by a Czech mathematician which enables people to cast +2 and -1 votes. The pitch is that it would eliminate "the bad guys" getting to parliament.


  • Use the Consent Decision Making process since it leaves plenty of room for a discussion and addressing objections.

  • The owner of a topic is empowered to make a decision while being supported by the team.

  • If we are still unable to make a decision, we can use a voting mechanism (e.g. the Democracy 2.1 scheme).

  • Reevaluate after a few sprints pass.