Who can say YES?

berlin_wall

At one point of mutual frustration with bureaucracy at EA Canada, the very wise Brian Plank gave me a pearl of wisdom.

I cannot remember his exact words, but I will paraphrase.

Why do we set things up so that there are tens of people who can say NO? We should set things up so that a single individual can say YES, and be held accountable for the consequences of that decision.

I think that observation, made over 10 years ago, goes to the core of Agile thinking.

Trust and empower your people, but hold them accountable. If they wish to consult with others then they can. If they know what they need to do and just want to execute then let them. They are the experts. That is why you hired them. Let them work.

Brian was one of two engineers on the very first FIFA title, and worked at EA for many, many years.    Read the story of how FIFA came to be in Rejection, tragedy and billions of dollars – The story of FIFA.

Brian was one of my favorite managers of all time – both at FIFA, and later at EATech, the worldwide central technology group for EA.

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