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How to manage role in an autonomous team culture

Crée par : OpenDecide Lab
Dernière mise à jour : 7 janvier 2020

How to define roles in a team without centralised decision making process run by a manager? This practice answers this question in order to clarify, simplify and better allocate roles across team members.


Secure a 1h-team meeting to improve role management

Set up a 1h-meeting with your team members to improve role definition and allocation within the team.


Print the role cards before the meeting

Print the role cards (attached to the step)

Tip: Print more role cards than team members. They will be needed in case of new roles identification along the process.

Blank_Role_Cards.pdf (26.4 kB)

Identify the roles (10 min)

Give each team member one or more role cards to fill .

Each team member will complete his/her own card on the role(s) he/she currently in charge.

The person is expecting to write the name, and the scope of responsibility associated with the role (as seen by himself as role leader). Then rank them by priority: Low, Medium, High.

Important: Keep these fairly coarse-grained. If necessary, have people who share the same role sit next to each other.


Reveal teammates' responsibilities (20 min)

Once the cards are completed by their current owners, the owner gives the card to his/her right.

The team member can then add the responsibilities that he/she feels the role should also cover. Once completed, rotate the cards around the table until you return to the current role owner.

During your brainstorming, you may think of responsibilities whose owner is not clearly defined. Write this down as well, and summarise them when the group discusses them in Step 5.


(Optional) Refine and consolidate by roles (5 min)

This step is only necessary if 3 or more people share the same role. 

In this case, the people who share the same role must refine the responsibilities of the role together. For example, if there are 5 mechanics in the room, they should create a unified list of mechanic responsibilities. 


Discuss each of the roles (30 min)

For each role, ask the role owner(s) to state the responsibilities aloud.

The role owner(s) may "accept" or "decline" new responsibilities identified by others. If the role owner(s) declines, they should suggest which role should take on the new responsibilities.

Where responsibilities overlap or ownership is not established, be sure to define who the primary owner is (as opposed to who is a contributor or replacement).

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