Fri 28 Oct 2016

Effective Decision Making

Joe Public Seen by 394

It's tough enough for us to make our own individual decisions in our lives. Try to do this as a group of two and it's 10X harder. Add a 3rd person and it's even harder. It becomes harder and harder as a group grows its participant size.

The AiD and muxive solution can and should be extended into the decision-making realm, but not necessarily to make the actual decisions. Instead to prioritize those past and present decisions made.

Think about this group making decisions as a group. Imagine we have made 5 decisions thus far. These can and should be prioritized. Often all decisions are connected. The first decision impacts the second. Those two impact the next one. But along the way often a later decision is found to be more important than earlier decisions. Often a later decision makes it necessary to change an earlier decision.

When all decisions are placed within a priority list framework and every member has an opportunity to reorder decision positioning, and everyone has equal power, and a single resultant rank-ordered listing is automatically generated in real time - then the group has one voice with which to reference to move forward with more harmony.

I would suggest to the group that we start making decisions - even if very small ones and then put them within the priority list framework. Give everyone a chance to rank-order all these decisions over a period of time and see what rises to the top and how the ordering then brings about new decisions and changes with old decisions.

Make sense?

No one is the group leader. No one has more power than anyone else. But yet the group finds its unique voice and its priorities. Anyone can come and anyone can go at any time and yet the group always remains in tact and never loses its voice, its values, its mission, etc.

IMHO - this is what is missing from tools like Loomio and what is necessary to keep like-minded activists on a ever-progressing path forward with far more harmony within each active participants mind, heart and gut. We can all disagree about specifics but we all accept what we are as one entity (with its one voice.) If you cannot accept this one entities' voice in the world then you are free to go find a better matching community or spin off and create a new one with like-minded others.

We can demo this for this d@w group. Just start putting forth decision proposal statements. When we get the specific decision language crafted to an acceptable place then we can add to the list of decision items.

Loomio can be used to always discuss better specific 'languaging' of each decision statement. You will see that nearly everything requires constant revisiting and change as time marches forward. The groups decision priority list will also change. New decisions will rise to the top often forcing required change to those less important decisions below.

Gotta experiment with new solutions to see what the reality is with each. Reality often is not what we imagine it's in our minds prior to implementation.


Joe started a proposal Fri 28 Oct 2016

d@w will implement "prioritized decision making." Closed Mon 31 Oct 2016

This is an example group decision statement to get us all started testing this approach I discussed in this thread. Accept it, reject it, or suggest better languaging for it. We need to work out the rules of when a decision can be added to "the d@w voice" listing. Will it be after a set period of time with a simple majority vote result? How much time? What % vote?

If we can come up with 3 or more decision statements then I'll build the tool for us to each prioritize these all with and find our one voice.

Agree - 5
Abstain - 5
Disagree - 5
Block - 5
7 people have voted (8%)

Joel Gingery
Fri 28 Oct 2016

This reminds me of the agile (scrum) software development "user stories." https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/user-stories
and seems like a great way to start. :thumbsup:


Fri 28 Oct 2016


Fri 28 Oct 2016

Let's see how many present participants we can get to engage.


John Rhoads
Fri 28 Oct 2016

I like priority.


Nikhil Kulkarni
Sat 29 Oct 2016

Make decisions here and then put it up on the list ? Ok. Lets try.


David Brinovec
Sun 30 Oct 2016

I find all this highly concerning and intentionally disruptive for self serving means. Considering the low participation (5/44) on a decision of this magnitude I move to block.


William Beard
Mon 31 Oct 2016

After reading the entire discussion I think this needs to be clarified and may or may not need to be put up for a vote again.

Please see my comment below for further context.


Joe Fri 28 Oct 2016

So does Loomio limit a thread to one proposal at a time? If yes, then this is somewhat problematic. Or is it, I'm just limited to one proposal at a time, because I already created one?

Others should put forth other basic group decision statement proposals, so we have several to consider and think about how we each would position them in a priority list reference. Which one will move to the top after we have several in the list to rank order? Which one decision creates the foundation for all other decisions below it?

This will be very exciting to discover! At least for me.

I wanted to add another decision proposal. "d@w will not have any leaders speaking for the group. Instead everyone will have exact equal power to engage (or not) and impact the one voice of the group."


John Rhoads Fri 28 Oct 2016

@joe21 I'm trying to figure out how it was determined we are not making prioritized decisions? From what I've seen we really haven't made any decisions whatsoever on which to figure out if we are prioritizing or not. I think prioritizing is a great thing when there is something to prioritize to. If the question is "should we prioritize?' I would say yes. Or maybe your concern is "how" we prioritize? Moreover and If I understand you correctly, we need to state an overarching objective and then prioritize all activities to point towards that objective? This to me makes sense. My understanding is that our overarching objective is stated in the D@W credo which is basically "advocating for democratic workplaces". If this is correct than we need to prioritize our decisions in such a way to ultimately achieves this. All I know is we will sooner or later need proposals that point to this objective. Perhaps we need to pose the question, "is advocating for democratic workplaces our overarching objective?" Then we could then pose the next question "how do we get there?". Then we would all brainstorm and each of us would have an idea and could debate which idea had priority within a network of priorities. Then we could really begin to prioritize. But we need to first put our finger on the objective.


Joe Sat 29 Oct 2016

Any collaboration group will have many different priority lists for different purposes. The one I'm suggesting we start with is one I would call something like general operations. It will tell everyone - those currently within this coop and especially those outsiders considering joining the coop - who the group is from a "how do we/they cooperate together POV. What are the tools used and the rules everyone is expected to play together by? How am I expected to act and help? What must I accept to be a member?

This exercise is a demo to help us all better understand the details of working without leaders or committees. A solution where each and every participant has equal power and freedom of choice to engage or not.

A next list might be one that matches the latest new proposal and sets the solution for how to best promote this on-line coop portal project that directly responds to the mission statement of d@w.

Each list is the mind meld of all participants so everyone can see what we are as one entity instead of some one person or committee making these decisions for everyone else.

We must find something that works for us before we can promote it to others. This how does a coop actually function issue is far more problematic than it appears at first consideration. The devil is in the details - the tools used, the process and the rules established. Finding full agreement is impossible, so instead discover the automatic compromise priority list reference with which to keep moving forward together.


John Rhoads Sat 29 Oct 2016

Have you worked with flow charts? It would be interesting to see your idea put into this format.


Joe Sat 29 Oct 2016

As a process engineer and game developer, I have worked with flow charts. I have not attempted to flow chart any of this yet however. Not sure what piece you are referencing that might tell a clearer story as a flow chart.

For me a graphic is more obvious at first consideration.


Are you thinking about flow charting a typical user story? Or is it something else?

Of course once the software tool is fully imagined then process flows become more evident. (BTW - this is being tackled by a small dev team now, but still has a long way to go.) But d@w can consider adopting the core principles of the solution now and mock it up to test it out.

The primary point is to consider adopting a progressive new solution that has no traditional leadership model included. We believe this is how the people can eventually eliminate the power leaders in the world.


John Rhoads Sat 29 Oct 2016

I'm starting to understand you more clearly and really like your diagram. It really does become quite theoretical. I commented on a different post regarding this. For me it's about creating an overarching objective, asking the right questions in the right sequence (flat-file/sequential database) OR putting all questions into perspective and context (relational database), making decisions, enshrining the decisions into policy (documentation), monitoring and enforcing policy and review. I am not a software developer but have been looking at Agile and Scrum. Very interesting, logical yet paradoxical. One can look at it as a static process or a dynamic process similar to the law "a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted on by a net external force". In this scenario, a body at rest (order) is a system that has been tuned to perfection, "written in stone", strictly defined, static and immutable. A body in motion (chaos) is a system that is ever-changing, adaptable, dynamic, liquid and loosely defined. I am not one to favor one over the other but see the virtues of both within context. I think of things such as "best practices" and this has it's virtues. It means, within a given context, things have been worked out to be "the way to do things or the way things are" and trying to make it better is similar to an exercise in futility (e.g. trying to make a circle more "round"). Conversely and especially in a dynamic system in motion (like Agile and life for that matter), there is more than one way to do things and getting anything "done" requires it. I see these things as relevant to decision making. Part of me wants to not have to ask the same question over and over again (desire for stasis) while the other part of me knows that in a dynamic system I will forever be chasing my tail - which can be satisfying in itself (thrill of the chase). Then there is the Qubit in quantum physics which I've been trying to wrap my head around.


Joe Sun 30 Oct 2016

Very well said.

But a big part of the challenge is actually simplifying the process and the communication. Everyone wants a say. Many people do not know how to put together the right words. Others have too many words and most do not want to read all those words. Also from my experience those who do end up engaging want things stated in slightly different ways. What happens is much time is spent trying to find agreement in messaging.

What my AiD or muxive tool does is ask everyone to simplify concepts and objects down to a bare minimal format, so there is no duplication and no misinterpretation. It's important the UI/UX bring the focus to the base concept in clear and concise rank-order form. Speed to learn where where things now stand and speed to update your own list is very important.

In AiD I call a list item a simplement - meaning simple+statement. In muxive they are called muxits. These are the most important objects within the solution. Each must be readily translatable into any language - for we need a tool that can work across any culture on our planet.

Another attribute I discovered is to, as much as possible, make these objects non-partisan, so they actually help bring together those with opposite views. E.g. instead of pro-life or pro-choice we use the object "abortion issue." This way persons on either side of the issue can prioritize it within the overall list similarly.

Duality exists all throughout the universe and humanity. Deal with issues in their full continuum and focus on prioritizing them this way and IMHO we have a much better communication tool.

KISS - keep it simple stupid! Coops need KISS tools. Capitalism creates complexity tools to hide behind.

I have years of development effort put into these new solutions. There's much more to them too, but best to reveal in small digestable pieces.

Before we do anything else I think we need a better coop comm tool (cct) with which to move forward. It needs to work for the d@w team. It needs to invite and create more engagement. It needs to make any personality (fully inclusive) type happy - both within the engagement component and the resultant component process steps.

Within my solution these lists are the primary engagement component and the one combined list (voice for the group) is the resultant component. IMHO this is way more simple than the traditional coop approaches that still rely on the old leadership model with its leaders and committees that in many ways still give advantage to those who can argue better. I can assure you the best arguers are often not the ones with the best solutions. Usually the opposite personality types have the better solutions. The problem is they rarely have the voices heard.

In this solution it's the creatives who become the leaders in the world. This tool creates the priorities, the focus is given to these priorities and the very limited time and resources is given to these priorities. IMHO it's very very important to move forward clearly understanding that NOT everything can be done. We actually MUST do more with less. We MUST increase efficiency and reduce waste. We must work in the present with a primary mission of long-term sustainability. This means "resource continuity" MUST be a law rooted within the framework of the sustainability model. This is where we need to head, but first we just need to communicate more efficiently and effectively.

If our own coop cannot do this then we will certainly fail the greater mission.


David Brinovec Sun 30 Oct 2016

"AiD and muxive solution": Are you suggesting that the group stop using Loomio in favor of these?

"priority list framework": does that exist within Loomio? Is it a part of your AiD/muxive alternative?

"this is what is missing from tools like Loomio"? I really get the sense that you are suggesting we stop using Loomio.

"We can demo this for this d@w group"? are you suggesting that we make a marketing pitch to use these other tools instead of Loomio? this seems entirely self serving at this point.

I for one, think we should give Loomio a serious try. It was only 19 days ago that Betsy first advertised it.

Also, on the point of priority. I don't think this is really an issue. If one decision needs more priority than another, then I think it will naturally get more attention. At the very least, I think it's way too early to fault Loomio here.

"Others have too many words": I couldn't agree more. Especially when many of those words are invented by the person using them and have no meaning to anyone else. "AiD, muxive, simplement, CCT"

"What my AiD or muxive tool does is": So, this answers my question above. This is your tool.

"we need a tool that can work across any culture on our planet" And I assume you're the right person to develop and implement that tool.

"KISS - keep it simple stupid!" I find this offensive.

"Within my solution...IMHO this is way more simple than the traditional coop approaches that still rely on the old leadership model with its leaders and committees that in many ways still give advantage to those who can argue better." This gets at my core gripe with all of this. the fact that this is your solution places far too much power in the hands of a single individual. you developed and implemented the tool, you know how it works better than anyone. With Loomio at least it was developed democratically by a group. That was the very first thing that appealed to me. Better than facebook which is owned and controlled by a capitalist entity. Now, you're suggesting we switch to a solution that is under the control of a single individual?


Joel Gingery Sun 30 Oct 2016

David, I understand your concerns and appreciate you sharing. My reaction is sort of "nothing ventured, nothing gained." What is the worst that could happen? We always have the ability to reevaluate our decisions in light of new experience, etc., and come to a collective decision, or maybe form a new group according to our own rules. Re: 5/44 I see your point that a small minority is making the decisions. Would you support some proposal that stipulated a minimum % participation to achieve passage? Similar to the electorate maybe people don/t want to participate, are uninterested, and so on. Regretfully I have to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld in that "you have to use the army you have", or else engage people to join until we feel we have enough people, diversity, to proceed. In business its recommended to recognize that its the people who are really interested in your product that you should pay attention to; they are the ones that drive your development; they are the ones who will support you and tell their friends about the new service they are using, expanding your business's market; so maybe our group, tho small, may be the right place to start, since we are starting. There are no rules telling us what we can or can't do, except those we make ourselves. Personally I'd like to explore the possibilities.Joel Gingery


David Brinovec Sun 30 Oct 2016

"What is the worst that could happen?" The vast majority of participants feel, left out. The group disbands.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the proposal here. Perhaps the only thing that's being suggested is that we use these other solutions along side Loomio. Even if that's the case, I feel that it's far too premature. I think we should give Loomio, in it's current form, a serious try. If we find it lacking functionality we want, wouldn't it make more sense to request those features be added to Loomio itself. Otherwise I think we are adding unnecessary complexity.


David Brinovec Sun 30 Oct 2016

In an effort to find something positive in all this disruption, I will say this. It's forced me to take a more critical look at Loomio. And that has only further convinced me that Loomio really is the best choice available to us at the moment. It was built by a democratically organized group, the exact sort of group the d@w project advocates for, that group has been using it in their efforts and improving it to better support democratic collaboration, it's open source (AGPLv3 no less), it's very stable, it's functional, it's user friendly. I honestly can't find anything I don't like about this tool.


Joe Sun 30 Oct 2016

Thanks David. This is great! Always good to test all possibilities and see how the group reacts to the disagreements. Do they stay together and become stronger or separate into factions and become weaker?


John Rhoads Sun 30 Oct 2016

I voted yes to effective decision making which to me goes without saying but needs to be posed so we can move forward. What tool we use is a different story. I'm more interested in using Loomio due to it being seasoned and simple and falls in line with my POV. My big concern is what to do with the decisions after they are made which brings me to proposing the use of more tools in the Loomio toolkit - namely Trello, Slack and perhaps Cobudget when needed. Without complicating things like David suggests while entertaining abstractions from Joe, I think, like Joel said, we can do all of the above and get away with it because we have that liberty and intelligence. @joe21 Although you may have the next "app", I think, in order to not get quagmired in what-ifs or hypotheticals, that we should focus on the Loomio tools at hand which come with a giant user base and tested proof-of-concept. Although your tool may have merit, the d@W loomio group may not be the best place to market it or test it out. Have you tried other marketing pathways or even better a new Loomio group for this purpose? That to me would be the place to validate your proof-in-concept. I would be hip to participating in that group but probably not in this group.


William Beard Mon 31 Oct 2016

Well said John. I was going to vote agree, but after reading everything here and some good points brought up by David. I think IF we do want to vote on our process that it be clarified and put up for vote again.

I also certainly want to vote agree and support prioritized decision making. Which works in an egalitarian way like Joe describes. As John said, I think that's best done with Loomio and the integrated tools here.

As suggested I agree that Joe's approaches "AiD and muxive solutions" could be explored in a 'project team' or it's own thread by those interested in that work. Clearly Joe you have passion for these approaches and I see your good intentions, heart and work. However, I also don't understand them at this point. In the interest of useful feedback, creating new terminology occurs to me like 'corp speak' which I certainly have participated in, and which I actively work to avoid. I've learned it's most engaging to any audience to just say what you mean and find the common words to do so.

Enjoying having some time to participate here today, and the process. I hope we can find a good way to prioritize, as I'd like to have a clear set of topics or projects that I can participate around with agreed on results that will contribute. Right now I find myself trying to catch up on a lot of conversations, and don't feel I'm moving toward a common goal.


Joe Mon 31 Oct 2016

In Loomio, what does 5 agrees and 2 blocks out of 46 possible votes mean for a decision? Is there more confusion or "group clarity" established? And why have 39 participants not engaged? And does every proposal establish some hard decision? Does our coop require clearer process rules?


Joe Mon 31 Oct 2016

First, I'm NOT here to sell my creations. Only to make their possibility enter this groups awareness.

@johnrhoads And my solutions are far more developed than "what ifs" or hypotheticals. Again, here's a link to a working prototype: http://newhopeproductsco.com/aid_project/index.php

As I mentioned in the past, I'm more than happy to be moved into some side sub-group if this is what this small growing group prefers. But this has huge implications for what it is that you are creating for your coop (collaboration) framework.

Does it mean you do not want me to add my POV to the other work that the group does? I will not be the only member who sees other alternative paths forward. These are some very important decisions to make early on:

  1. Will majority vote rule?
  2. Will those who do not engage be ignored?
  3. How much time will you allow before some final decision is made?
  4. Who will craft the exact wording of any final decision text?
  5. Will those who engage more, effectively have more power?
  6. Will the group practice acceptance and tolerance of any new ideas or will bullying and/or pushing around of others be accepted?
  7. Will only tried and tested processes, tools and rules be allowed and tolerated?
  8. Will the group establish leaders and decision makers (or sub-groups) with more power?
  9. Will some get rewarded (paid) and others not? And if there is reward than will there be different award levels?

There are many many basic issues and decisions that should be established asap vs. hidden from membership. Transparency, honesty, truthfulness are very attractive and the opposites are very repulsive.

  1. Is this group wanting to include everyone or just those who align perfectly?
  2. Will decisions and rules be allowed to change as time marches forward?
  3. To change anything will it require great effort and much time?

All these very difficult to answer questions went into my solution design with automation included and equal power guaranteed. I'm just trying to save you all a lot of time trying to create something that will work with tools that will at best just create another mostly corporate model.

But do press on, push back, if you know I'm wrong. Push me aside or out and then everyone here will better understand what d@w really is. In my solution people like me don't get pushed aside. Their ideas just move down the list. No one needs to become the bully. Everyone has equal power to drive the concept to very low priority for the group for the moment. Who knows when something will click and then rise to the top.

But please try to create some sort of prioritized decision list or doc asap using whatever tools you think is best. We all want to see something simple and easy to reference all the time to assess progress.

This is very very tough stuff. No one has figured it out yet. It's why corps rule the world today and coops do not. But do not give up the fight!


David Brinovec Mon 31 Oct 2016

So, the proposal closed. 5 agreed, 2 blocked. I was curious to see what would happen myself. It looks like all Loomio did was to simply make a record. My opinion is that it's up to each person to decide for themselves how to react to the outcome. I think the important take away here is that people are not machines. We can make up our own minds. My point about priority above speaks to this.

"Also, on the point of priority. I don't think this is really an issue. If one decision needs more priority than another, then I think it will naturally get more attention. At the very least, I think it's way too early to fault Loomio here."

On the idea of putting automation in place to set our priorities for us. For one, People are going to work on what they want to work on. Alot of people are not going to go along with priorities set by any tool. I don't think it's trivial to automate how this or that decision relates to any other. Everyone will have differing opinions on everything. Maybe this can be accomplished, but I suspect it will be a daunting task.

I think Loomio does it's job very well. It simply automates some of the drudgery involved in decision making. The record keeping. It doesn't draw conclusions and then try to dictate to people what they should or should not do.


Betsy Avila Wed 2 Nov 2016

Really like @davidian1024's analysis of the proposal result and second his comments. And thanks for finding a link that further describes the distinction between disagree and block. :star:


John Rhoads Tue 1 Nov 2016

One interesting tidbit I found regarding voting in Loomio comes from the Argentinian Pirate Party instance of Loomio. Check out how they added "committed" to the vote choices.


Short of having the "committed" feature choice, we should be looking at Trello to fill in the gaps.


David Brinovec Tue 1 Nov 2016

That was something I thought about. It does seem a bit unbalanced that there is a block vote, which seems to basically translate to "disagrees strongly", while there is no "agrees strongly".

Before I cast my block vote, I skimmed this Loomio community thread on the difference between block and disagree. Food for thought.