Examples of the Seven Levels
You can use the Seven Levels of Authority to define how authority is delegated to an individual or team, depending on the key decision area. Some examples:
- You can tell a team that (for some reason) they will have to relocate to another office building.
- You can sell to a team the idea of replacing a waterfall process with Agile software development. (No reason to give them a choice here.)
- You can consult team members when you need suggestions for tool vendors and suppliers to work with.
- You can discuss the Agile adoption strategy with your team and agree on an approach that everyone is happy with.
- You may want to advise your people on architectural patterns to consider in the product they’re developing.
- You may want to inquire actively how team members have divided responsibilities within the team.
- You delegate all the hard work, like coding and testing, because you don’t even want to know how complicated all that stuff is.
The level of authority depends on people’s competence and the organizational impact of their decisions. The authority level for creating coding guidelines will probably be different from the authority level for determining people’s salaries.
Distributed control is achieved when delegation of authority is pushed as far as possible. However, circumstances sometimes require you to start by telling or selling, and then you gradually increase the authority of team members and give them more and more challenging things to do.