How to make complex decisions in product and dev teams

Democratically elected president Trump (source

The five decision-making models

Recap: autocracy and democracy

Autocracy — one person makes all the decisions. The only scenario where it might work well is when someone temporarily leads a highly incapable team. Temporarily, because otherwise, they should invest in making the team capable. The only upside: decisions can be made quickly.


Instead of letting the majority decide, why not make a decision that everyone likes? Starting with the nicest intention to please everyone, the search for consensus can turn into weeks or months of not making a decision.


Decision-making power is distributed proportionally to people’s knowledge and effort. Everybody else is consulted, and the decision is made by whoever experiences the downside most or has the most expertise.


In Sociocracy, decisions are made by informed consent. A proposal is made and discussed. It is accepted not when everyone likes it but when everyone can tolerate it. Think about it as the difference between “I like it” and “no objections.”



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Elena Borisova

Elena Borisova


Product, data, decision-making, philosophy| Learning from everything that went wrong | Digital Product Designer |