Voting

Order Voting

When you need to quickly vote between a set number of options, simply asking people to vote one or the other sometimes isn’t enough as you only get the top result. There might be a compromise that suits everyone, and that’s what Order Voting is designed to help with.

Pros / Cons

  • Works with up to 10 people, more than 10 is difficult
  • Very visible, suitable as a conversation starter
  • Can be easily measured
  • Shows potential compromises
  • Needs a lot of space (and a surface)

Materials

You’ll need an obvious indicator for each topic. We suggest 4 or less topics otherwise it gets confusing quite quickly. Agility cards work great for this.

The Method

1. State topics or ideas and write them somewhere clear

Example:

 
 

2. Individuals order the symbols to reflect their thinking and place them in a grid. Can do it face down if you would like to do it blind. Just turn them over once everyone has submitted. Now’s a great time to take a photo if required.

Example:

 
 

3. Should you choose to, you can measure your results

Example:

 
 

9:00 / Blue: 4 + 4 + 3 + 4 = 15

9:30 / Amber: 2 + 2 + 4 + 3 = 11

9:15 / Red: 3 + 3 +  1 + 1 = 8

9:45 / Green: 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 = 6

4. If the outcome isn’t clear, a discussion is had about the results.

Example:

Jim: It seems that 9:00 is the consensus

Steve: Yes, even though I chose 9:30 I can see that you and Jessica weren’t keen

Jessica: Yes I often have meetings at 9:30 so I’d rather do them earlier

Darryl: Great let’s do that then

5. Vote is recast as necessary

 

We'd love to hear how you've used this technique in your teams. Why not leave us a comment below?

Confidence Voting

Confidence voting is a simple way for everyone to vote on a topic or theme. It’s easy to implement, fast to gauge feedback and can be used any time.

Pros / Cons

  • Gain a visible, fast understanding of buy-in from a group
  • Can be easily measured and tracked against decisions made
  • Involves everyone in the group in a decision

Materials

You’ll need 6 indicators showing the numbers 1-5 and a blocked symbol for each participant such as Agility Cards.

The Method

1. State the topic or idea

Example: Have bacon sandwiches every Friday morning

2. Individuals choose a symbol which reflects their thinking:

3. Individuals hold up their indicator (but don’t reveal) when they’re ready to vote

4. Once everyone is ready the cards are revealed for everyone to see

Example:

Confidence 2.png

Average: 2.25 (Blocked)

5. Discussion 

  • If no-one has blocked the vote, and we are happy to proceed with the idea, we can score the buy-in from the team – I suggest taking a photo of the indicators and taking an average at a later date.
  • If the goal is consensus, reservations associated with low scores should be explored as a team and a revote might be cast. If reservations are strong, they should probably be explored outside of a team setting.

Example: 

Darryl: I blocked the vote. I don’t eat meat.

Steven: Oh me too, that’s why I wasn’t keen.

Jessica: OK what would you rather have instead of bacon?

Steve: That’s a tough one, I’d be keen on a cheese toastie.

Darryl: Yes that sounds great, shall we revote?

6. Vote is recast as necessary

Example:

Average: 3.75

We love this technique for achieving fast concensus, but what do you think? We'd love to hear feedback or how you've used this with your team!

10 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Team Voting

Team voting can be a great way to pave a way forward that everyone loves, however there are some common pitfalls to avoid. Here are our top ten tips for voting in an Agile environment:

  • Make voting visible - use cards or whiteboards to bring your votes to life
  • Measure the outcomes of your voting - if you measure the reasons why you made a decision it's much easier to reflect later
  • Give everyone the opportunity to take part - all levels of experience and disciplines are opinions worth listening to
  • Do ‘blind votes’ where possible to avoid people leading the vote - quiet individuals may look to others, expose any lack of understanding so we can build on it
  • Listen to why people voted the way they did - after explanation, misinterpretation or alternative paths forward might become clear
  • Be prepared to compromise - it's impossible for everyone to get their own way all the time
  • Be honest, truthful and non-aggressive - not speaking your mind will only end up causing more pain in the long run
  • Use voting methods that are quick to implement - no-one likes spending ages casting a simple vote
  • Use the right voting technique for the job - otherwise you'll end up with bad or awkward data
  • Don’t take the result of the vote blindly forward without conversation - initial results are rarely the correct decision

What top tips have you got? We'd love to hear them.