Management 3.0

Change and Innovation Practices

Jurgen Appelo

Successful entrepreneur, Top 100 Leadership Speaker, Top 50 Management Expert, author of 4 books, junior in humility.


Practice overview


Delegation is not easy. Managers often fear a loss of control when considering to allow teams to self-organize, and team members sometimes don’t know how to self-organize. With Delegation Poker, you can discuss where best to place the boundaries around self-organization, so that managers and teams are equally motivated to do a best possible job.


Play Delegation Poker with a Team

Use Delegation Poker to clarify who’s responsible for what and to what level. This is a method where you can encourage employee engagement through controlled self-organization and clarified value and decision-making.

Each team plays this game differently, so you can follow some of the more common rules we’re sharing here or you can make up your own. It’s all about organizing how you and your team look at delegation and self-organization.

tag Empowerment



Organize a group and give them cards

Players should be organized in groups of three to seven people. Each player gets a set of cards numbered 1 through 7, signifying the seven levels of delegation.

[You can download the Delegation Poker cards here or you can get them from the Management 3.0 web shop.


Define key decision areas

Start by making a list of pre-defined cases or situations in which you want to create a delegation policy, establishing who has what influence. This can range from project design and authority to hiring new team members.


Discuss a key decision area

The players will repeat the following steps for each pre-defined key decision area:

Imagine a specific team (which does not have to be the group itself which is playing the game). One person then picks a key decision area from the list or he shares a story from personal experience about a confusing situation in terms of empowerment and self-organization.


Pick a card, privately

Each player chooses one of the seven delegation cards privately, reflecting on how she would delegate decisions in that particular area, keeping in mind the selected team that is under consideration.


Reveal and discuss the cards

When all players have decided, they reveal their selected cards. Let the people with the highest and the lowest cards explain the reasoning behind their choices.


Achieve consensus

Try to achieve consensus with the players. What is the "best" delegation level for the selected key decision area and for the team they have in mind? Write down each decision.

Repeat the previous steps for each key decision area or until the time is up.