Chapter 89. Using Six-Page Documents to Close Decisions
This chapter describes how you can use a six-page document combined with a one-hour review meeting as a mechanism to close “disagree and commit” style decisions, as I learned managing at Amazon. I have had success with using this for annual team roadmaps and trade-offs of product strategy, delivery plans, and engineering implementations.
For closing a decision, a document is preferred to PowerPoint; here’s why:
- Written documentation forces the writer to clarify their thoughts before discussion and state them in a way that avoids misinterpretation.
- Introvert inclusion
- Documents are more inclusive of introverts who find it difficult to speak during meetings, often because they are thinking deeply about new issues raised.
- The reader owns rate of information consumption
- Written documents can be read at any pace and in any order. They can be pondered.
- The full argument is seen before conversation
- Questions asked are informed by the complete picture rather than where the presenter is in the slides.
- Conversation rather than dictation
- It is easy for PowerPoint to become the presenter giving a speech rather than a conversation among all stakeholders.
That being said, documents come with a cost to produce and review. If all stakeholders are happy, a decision can be resolved at a whiteboard, which ...