The concept of consensus is one that’s deeply ingrained in our Western culture. We value democracy and collective input. But when it comes to product development, where does consensus add value, and where might it hinder progress?

Consensus, in its essence, means general agreement. Sometimes, reaching this agreement is the right path forward. Yet, there are moments when swift decision-making is the order of the day. This balance, or sometimes the tension between consensus and decisive action, lies at the heart of product ownership. 

Imagine a product owner as a mini CEO or an entrepreneur. They operate in dynamic markets where situations can change rapidly. Sometimes, to seize fleeting opportunities, they need to make quick decisions. These decisions might not always align with the broader consensus, but they’re made with the best intentions, backed by experience and data.

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However, there’s another side to consensus. It’s not just about making decisions swiftly; it’s also about ensuring everyone is on board with those decisions. After all, it’s challenging to execute a plan if the very people you rely on for its implementation aren’t behind it. This is where the art of facilitation comes into play. It’s about generating a plethora of ideas and then narrowing them down to a single, unified direction that everyone can get behind.

But how do you achieve this? There are different routes to consensus. On a macro scale, CEOs make decisions, and on a micro scale, teams make numerous smaller decisions. Navigating the middle ground, often termed the ‘drone zone’, is where the challenge lies. It’s about generating ideas and then achieving consensus or at least convergence.

In conclusion, consensus is crucial in all aspects of product development. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or part of a larger organisation, building consensus is essential. But remember, there are different ways to achieve it, depending on the situation.

NKDAgility can help!

If you find it challenging to navigate the complexities of consensus in product development or struggle to strike the right balance between collective agreement and decisive action, my team at NKDAgility can assist. Don’t let these challenges undermine the effectiveness of your value delivery. Seek help sooner rather than later. 

You can request a free consultation with my team or sign up for one of our upcoming professional Scrum classes. Because you don’t just need agility, you need Naked Agility.

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