30 January 2009

Bet your chips

I am going to try something new with my team to help them better self-manage. It an idea goes nicely with planning poker.

Next week I am going to take in a bunch of poker chips to work.

When a decision deadlock happens we'll put down a time limit. We'll have a rule that goes something like 'no more than an hour (maybe 2; they like to talk) of discussion on a topic and then if the dispute can't be resolved by negotiaion, rational argument or consensus you have to bet your chips or fold.'

If you fold, you the other person wins the argument and you must follow their proposed path forward, until it turns out to be infeasible or an actual significant problem. With tangible effects.

Naturally, the highest bet wins.

But the loser gets all the chips that were bet. That way (so my theory says) everyone gets a turn at winning intra team disputes. And everyone participates in owership of the deicions and of the solution.

Learning from mistakes is fine. We make plenty so we have plenty of opportunity.

Group ownership of the solution - everyone taking personal accountability - is the real win.

Anyone heard of this being used before? Got an opinion?

I wonder of the team will go for it?

(This is an idea I have been wanting to get to for a while. I was remined of it after reading a post a Noop.nl.)

Photo by Wafler CC @ Flickr.


  1. Let us know how it turns out!

    Potential gotchas...

    -someone who has collected a lot of chips can just be difficult because they know they will get their way in the end....

    -someone who wants to get more chips may stir up unnecessary controversy just so they can bet a minimal amount of chips and lose, thereby increasing their own stash without having sacrificed anything because they agreed with the other person in the first place.

    Josh Nankivel

  2. Anonymous9:50 pm

    I'm not a big fan of gimmicks myself, but of course you know best what will work with your team. It is an interesting idea, anyway. Will be interested to hear how it works out.

  3. Being involved in a project for the first time and facing the management challenge, I've got to say that the chips solution is brilliant.But probably unworkable.

    I'm supported by a bunch of brilliant, Type A winners. Just try to get them to part with a chip!! I'd have to pry it out of their cold, dead hands. They'd never give it up. Girlphyte