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Open Decision-Making: A Quote

Open Decision-Making: A Quote
Photo by Raquel Martínez / Unsplash

I've been working on a talk for our All Team on Tuesday, and John Ousterhout's paper on Open Decision-Making really resonated with me. In particular, I love this quote on how we should do software engineering and reach consensus:

Many people believe that consensus-based decision processes are too inefficient to be practical ("analysis paralysis"), but this is not my experience. If you manage the process correctly it is almost always possible to achieve consensus quickly when making a decision: if a collection of smart people all look at the same problem with the same information, and if they have the same goals, then they are likely to reach the same conclusion. A decision with strong consensus is more valuable than one without consensus: it is more likely to be right, and it is more likely to get implemented effectively because everyone believes in it.

There are a lot more details in the paper about when open decision-making works well, and when it fails. I'm someone who loves to rely on the collective wisdom of my group, and create systems to make open decision-making happen. I'm excited to try out some of John Ousterhout's ideas and suggestions.