Monday, August 29, 2016

Running "Sprints" Effectively

Rachel Emma Silverman wrote a short piece for the Wall Street Journal last week about the use of "sprints" to solve tough problems at companies such as Alphabet. A sprint is a focused group problem-solving process that unfolds in just five days. She features Jake Knapp of Alphabet in her column. Knapp has co-authored a book titled "Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days."   I thought he offered some terrific advice about decision-making during such group sprints. 
“It’s really important to know who the decider is,” says Mr. Knapp. “For many teams there is a lot of ambiguity about who makes decisions. If you can’t get the decider for the whole sprint, make sure you can get her in the room for cameo appearances during the sprint to make decisions.”A sprint works best when there is one person tasked with making the final call for big decisions, rather than relying on a more democratic process, he says. Team members can provide input and feedback, but in a sprint there should be a sole decision maker. “We want there to be a single decider to make the calls, and we want him or her to be opinionated, says Mr. Knapp. “It becomes an informed dictatorship.”

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