Using Collaboration Contracts

Using Collaboration Contracts

Collaboration Contracts are a way of identifying who is involved in a decision and what level of decision-making authority each participant has. This isn't a delegation model where some individual is empowered and imparts unto others some fraction of their authority for a limited period of time. This is a collaboration model where all participants are equally empowered, but find consensus on all topics to be a suboptimal approach.

Dinner with Family

Dinner with Family

Dinner together as a family was a key part of how we raised our children and how we kept our family so tightly knit for years. No matter what you had to accomplish in a given day, you did your damnedest not to miss dinner. I often left the office, came home to share a meal, and headed back into the office.

There were no boundaries at the dinner table. There didn't need to be. We talked about everything.

Nerd/Noir Presents Doc Norton On Collaborative Decision Making This April In Atlanta

For Immediate Release

Atlanta’s Nerd/Noir announces collaboration with Chicago’s CTO2 to present a workshop for software development teams.

March 2, 2016 - Atlanta, Georgia

Nerd/Noir presents Doc Norton’s workshop on Collaborative Decision Making at TechSquare Labs, April 14, 2016.

This creative collaboration workshop provides tools that address such issues team alignment, task prioritization, and complex team processes.

Even high functioning teams occasionally have a hard time making decisions or coming up with creative ideas. There are times when the conversation seems to drag on long after a decision is reached. There are times when too many people are involved in the discussion or the wrong people involved. There are times when a team is not sure who's the actual decision maker. And there are those times when team members just seem to be out of synch with each other.

This workshop is designed to be truly experiential. Rather than discussing topics, teams are quickly introduced to a concept and then spend time working together using the techniques they’ve learned. As the workshop progresses, teams have an opportunity to utilize the tools they learned earlier in the workshop and see how these techniques can be used together in various ways. At the end of the workshop, teams will have addressed a number of different challenges that are common to all of our work lives.

About CTO2 - Founded in Chicago in 2015, CTO2 helps organizations create intentional cultures and structures optimized for sustainable software delivery. With over 40 years of combined experience in software delivery process, tools, staffing, and retention across a wide range of industries, CTO2 is uniquely qualified to help companies face the challenge of growing technology teams whilst maintaining a healthy and vibrant culture. Doc Norton, Founder and CEO, is passionate about working with teams to improve delivery and build great organizations. Once a dedicated code slinger, Doc has turned his energy toward helping teams, departments, and companies work better together in the pursuit of better software. Working with a wide range of companies such as GrouponNationwide InsuranceBelly, and many others, Doc has applied tenants of agile, lean, systems thinking, and servant leadership to develop highly effective cultures and drastically improve their ability to deliver valuable software and products. For more information, please visit

About Nerd/Noir - Founded in Atlanta in 2015, Nerd/Noir serves teams already on the agile path looking to master the art and science of product design and software development. Nerd/Noir offers full stack agile/lean coaching and workshops, mindfully tailored to achieve measurable outcomes. Co-founder David Laribee has over 20 years experience as a player-coach and builder of high-performing agile teams. His partner, Alexandra West brings a 20-year background in fine art, film and design to the mix. Together with their canine mascots, Roxy and Señor, they can be found scouring Atlanta for the beautiful, unusual and inspiring. For more information, please visit

Fist to Five

Fist to Five (a.k.a. Fist of Five) is a simple tool for measuring level of agreement in a team. Often, this is far more expedient than discourse, even among those in agreement. Secondarily, it helps to overcome “silence means consent” for teams where this may be an issue. This is not a replacement for discussion, merely a way of getting a quick check to determine if more discussion is actually warranted.

Collaboration Contract (was Collaboration 8)

Back in April, I wrote about a practice we were experimenting with at LeanDog. I called it Collaboration 8. The intent is to figure out who are the right people to have involved in a discussion. Rather than the boss making the decision, Collaboration 8 provides a way for the team to self-select and get clarity around levels of engagement and responsibility in the decision making process. I've found coupling Collaboration 8 with Six Thinking Hats has been a tremendous boon to the self-organizing teams to whom I've introduced the concepts.

Collaboration 8

For an update on this process, be sure to read Collaboration Contract.

In January of 2012, we at LeanDog were honored to host Jurgen Appelo for his first Management 3.0 course in the US. If you've not read Jurgen's book on "Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders", I recommend it. The book is full of good advice and simple techniques for improving the way you manage. Among the items Jurgen shares in his class, I was intrigued by The Seven Levels of Authority and his Delegation Poker game.