These are my takeaways and my own perspective on a Fishburners ‘Learn From A Burner’ presentation given by Rod Bishop of Jayride on his company’s Decision Making Framework.
I refer to this as the $2.4M Decision-Making Framework due to its fundamental role in helping Jayride reach its current market position including raising a total of $2.4M.
To summarise the purpose of a Decision Making Framework, one might say that it’s a mechanism to prevent you from building something just because you can. It’s very easy to build solutions when you have the resources (personally, internally, or externally) to do so, but it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of hidden costs to building things – opportunity cost, maintenance cost, and the sunk-cost fallacy to name just a few.
So now you know why you need a decision-making framework, here are my notes and to quote Rod; “mileage may vary”.
“Close enough is good enough in the beginning”
The key outcomes of good decision making:
- Team Cohesion
- Mitigate key-person risk
“I don’t think there’s anything more important for a growing company than being able to make fast decisions”
Set a mission – where exactly are you headed? If you don’t define this, people will incidentally send you in the wrong direction.
- If everyone has different opinions on how to get to the goal, that’s okay. If everyone has different opinions on what the goal is, you’re in big trouble.
Your mission and vision need to control where you’re planning to get to – $100M venture-backed company, not $3M bootstrapped owner-driven business
“Focus on what adds the most value to the customer, not the business”
Tell people where they’re going not how to get there
As long as people need you to tell them how to act, you’ll be moving to slow
Never make the same decision twice
“Be prepared to throw everything away if that will get you to your next step faster”
Define the rules of the game
- Management-by-numbers – Have metrics that are used to manage the business across various levels – whole company, departments, individuals
- Kill or approve/continue projects by the numbers
- Regularly score projects (based on agreed metrics) that are proposed or in progress
- If the project doesn’t pass the test, kill it or disapprove it
- Everyone in the room gets a veto vote to use to overrule something in their area of expertise
Define the style of work, not the work. Write it down and hold people to it.
- Close enough is good enough in the beginning
- Moving fast is better than trying to avoid failure
- Focus on what adds the most value to the customer, not the business
“Sack things that don’t work. double down on things that do work”
Document everything – Jayride use Confluence to manage their systems documentation (just like Car Next Door)
- Take some time (even an hour a day) to write down everything you can that’s replicable
- Be sure to empower everyone to contribute
- Make sure you have a source of truth for any piece of information in your business
Invest heavily up front
- Choose a team that suits your way of work – if your way of work is autonomy, don’t hire people that want to be heavily managed
- Don’t assume anything about their way of work, train them in your way of work and train them heavily in the vision, rules, and decisions already main
Separate opinion from instruction
- Write it down if it’s an instruction, discuss it in person if it’s an opinion – do this so your team can easily differentiate between the two
Make sure everyone knows exactly where they’re going and why.
Hire people who want autonomy
“Moving fast is better than trying to avoid failure”
Always consider The Commanders Intent (more info here and some more detail here) – if the plan goes to hell, what’s the fundamental goal of what’s being done?
People can be autonomous even if you give them a very specific and narrow thing to be autonomous at.