Deciding by E-mail

After the first European bootcamp, the booted team stayed in contact.

We tried to use the DECIDER in mail & skype and we noticed we needed to change it a little bit to adapt it to the different environment.

When  you decide in a meeting, you are all present and it is possible to show your decision at the same time. With e-mail that is not possible. And you need a kind of Wisdom of crowds effect in decisions.

We created a Decider by E-mail protocol. It felt strange at first. I have to admit it works. If you have to take decisions by a group that is distributed, this is the best way to do it. (Until we find a better way.)

Decider by E-mail

An essential part of Decider is diversity of opinion
attained by simultaneity of votes. Since simultaneity
is not possible in email, it must therefore be simulated.
The virtues of simultaneity are achieved in email by
using the following protocol:

A) Steps

1. Proposer sends a single well-formed Decider
proposal via email.

2. Email Subject line says, in caps:
DECIDER [optional topic name].

3. If possible, proposer sets automatic reply indicator
on email to “inform me when this mail has been viewed,”
or equivalent.

4. First line of email states time considerations,
as follows:
This DECIDER vote closes at [HH:MM on MM/DD/YY], or when
all on To: list have replied, whichever comes first. #

5. No email response is considered a YES response.

6. Respond Privately (no cc’s), directly and immediately to
proposer via email on your first reading of this proposal.

7. Assent as needed to proposer’s request for automatic
response (i.e. “return receipt”) informing proposer of
when you read the proposal.

8. Respond only with, YES, NO, ABSOLUTE-NO, or SUPPORT-IT.
Additional discussion, on or of email, is illegal.

9. Proposer alone will conduct Resolution, dealing directly
and publicly with NO voters, one at a time, or proposer
will withdraw proposal explicitly without further comment.

10. All other Decider provisions will remain in force.

11. This protocol should be sent with all email Deciders
as an attachment. (Or a link to this blog post can be added also)

# Note: Closing time and date should not be longer than
24 hours in most cases. Ask for Help if you think it
should go longer.

Update: Yes I think that taking decisions by e-mail is bad, but when that is what you want to do. I think this is the best way.