Decision Making with GSD

Marco Alabruzzo

Engineering Manager @ Cazoo -

Cazoo - FSI team meeting

7 March 2022

The only thing that saves us from bureaucracy is inefficiency.

Eugene McCarthy

American politician

A Decision Making Framework should make our Decision Making process more efficient.

If a new process makes our system more cumbersome we are straying away from our objective.

It's a feedback loop - so an Agile tecnique

Today I want focus on this side of the cycle

Getting Stuff Done by Kim Scott


"Steve Jobs understood that while ideas ultimately become so powerful, they start as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily squished"

Jonathan Ive

Chief Design Officer @ Apple

"I'm frustated by this process"

"What do you mean?"

"It has a lot of manual steps..."

"Do you think we can automate some?"

"Yes, but I don't know how... "

"Let's find someone who knows!"


The goal of the clarification process is to turn an intuition in a  concrete debatable proposal, understandable by other functions.

"I don't think we should be doing any cropping at all!"


The goal of the clarification process is to turn an intuition in a  concrete debatable proposal, understandable by other functions.


How to clarify your idea:

  • Discuss it with another member of the team
  • Use your 1:1 time with your manager
  • Use your Personal Development time
  • Write an RFC
  • Draw a diagram or a Miro Board
  • Whiteboard around it


How to help a teammate clarify their idea. Ask:

  • "What do you need to develop that idea further? How can I help?"
  • "I think you are on to something, but it's still not clear to me. Can you explain it again?
  • "I understand it, but I wonder if other will. How can we rephrase this?"
  • "Let's try to phrase as value for the final customer"

“It is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things.”

Georgia O'Keeffe



"If you skip the debate phase, you'll make the worst decision, you'll be unable to persuade everyone who needs to execute, and you'll ultimately slow down or grind to halt."

Kim Scott



Keep the conversation around ideas not egos

The debate should be:

Idea A vs Idea B


and absolutely not:

Bob's idea vs Jon's idea


Keep the conversation around ideas not egos

The Art of Being Right

by Arthur Schopenhauer (1831)

In this book Schopenhauer explains every single way to make a bad debate, with the purpose that the reader will actively avoid these systems in order to make a constructive one.


Create an obligation to dissent

Devil's Advocate: when there is consens without debate one random member of the team has to attack the idea in order to find a weak spot.

Loud listening: in an one to one conversation, express an idea and ask your interlocutor to challenge it, in order to improve it.

Six Thinkings Hats: use a combination of positive/negative thinking in order to refine an idea.


Define the length of the debate before starting

Create a specific expectation for the debate helps the team approaching it. Knowing the process before starting helps reducing the anxiety.


Team members that feel more strongly about a subject cna keep debating in smaller groups.

Who is more neutral can just wait for the decision phase.


Pause for emotion/exhaustion

The worst possible state to make a decision is when one is tired, burned out, or emotionally charged.


When a debate reach that point the natural instinct is to end it by rushing a decision.


The most productive approach is to take a break, and continue with the debate once everyone is fresh and relaxed.


"Push the decision into the facts."

Jack Dorsey

Founder @ Twitter


The decision maker should be the person closest to the fact

Ok... but...

What if I can't decided who is the decider? 🤔


Get the decider closer to the fact

The decider must be involved in the Debate stage, this will expose them to the resources generated in the Clarify stage.

Avoid the Telephone game, make the decider interact directly with the people close to the fact.

A good example of this is the Discovery Playbacks.


Decision should be final

If a decision is not final, then is just a another step in the debate

The way a decision is communicated and documented help make it final, and helps to create artifact for the Persuade stage.


"Don't rely exclusively on consensus or voting. Consensus can appear morally authoritative, but assumes that everyone involved in the voting is impartial, has an equal stake in the various outcomes, and has equal knowledge of the context.

These conditions are rarely met on teams where each person has a different level of expertise and different roles"

 Camille Fournier 



SOCRATES: If you were deliberating about the gymnastic training of your son, would you follow the advice of the majority of us or the opinion of the one who had been trained and exercised under a skill full master?


Greek philosopher

MELESIAS: The later, Socrates; as would surely be reasonable.

SOCRATES: His one vote would be worth more than the vote of all us four?


MELESIAS: Certainly.


SOCRATES: And for this reason, as I imagine - because a good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers?


“People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found out by others.”

Blaise Pascal

French mathematician


Persuading is about bringing on board who was not involved in the decision

Persuading can work in every direction: you may need to persuade peers or subordinate in order to allow the to execute.


You may need to persuade leadership or stakeholders for them to support your decision.


Without persuading there cannot be any execution.


Persuading is about bringing on board who was not involved in the decision

When Persuading we will need every artifact created in the previous steps:


Clarify will show what was the initial proposal

Debate will show how the proposal was refined

Decide will show what data have been used to make the decision






Grow an idea to a point in which is sharable to others.

Refine an idea ina  group.

Use data to choose the best course of actions.

Bring on board people necessary to execute.



Decision Making with GSD

By Marco Alabruzzo

Decision Making with GSD

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