Delegation Poker

They can handle it

Delegate in conference hall


A shared understanding between leader and team of the division of responsibilities and associated authority.


What you give away is not lost. Yet, it remains difficult to delegate. How do you ensure that it is clear to everyone which decisions have been delegated and how far the associated responsibility extends? How do you ensure that everyone feels comfortable with this, and how do you get the right discussion going about authority? With technique, the team collaborates with the leader to get a joint understanding of the division of responsibilities.



Jurgen Appelo, author of the book Management 3.0, explains how Delegation Poker works.

Animation, based on a speech by David Marquet about his book Turn The Ship Around.

To Work

  1. Bring together the leader (customer representative, department head, architect) and the team to which he/she delegates decisions.
  2. Make a list of decision areas that are unclearly delegated.
    1. Each participant writes down a number decision areas involving the team on individual sticky notes and sticks them on a flipchart.
    2. Collaboratively deduplicate the list together, ask each other questions, group and refine the descriptions where necessary.
    3. Stick the sticky notes one below the other on a flipchart and make 7 columns behind them, above which you write a delegation levels 1 through 7.
  3. Each team member gets a full set of 5 delegation poker cards.
  4. Choose a type of decision. Someone explains the type of decision, preferably with a concrete situation in which such a decision was made before.
  5. Everyone estimates the delegation level for themselves by holding a card face down against their forehead. Show your card all at once.
  6. You agree, then you have an agreed delegation level. If not, the participant with the lowest delegation level and the highest delegation level clarify their view of the decision type and go back to step 5.
  7. (Optional) you earn the points of the highest delegation level you select each round, unless you are the highest minority. Each participant keeps score, so at the end there is a winner of this game.
  8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 until the entire list of decision types has been completed.


Jurgen Appelo describes Delegation Poker in his book, Management 3.0. David Marquet writes about the art of delegating in his book Turn the ship around.

You find a more detailed description of this technique in section 9.3 of our book Connective Teamwork (EN, NL). The book helps you set your team in motion with a practical 5-step plan and 20 teamwork techniques.

You can learn more about and practice this technique in our Connective Team Coach Training Course.

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