How to Make Decisions in P2

A P2 user told us his team would appreciate sharing experiences with how to make decisions in P2. Here is a set of recent real-world examples.


Create a Decision Making Template

As with any communication tool, P2 works best with decision-making if you have consensus as a group on how decisions are to be made. As one example, Coinbase has a detailed description from their CEO on their decision making framework.

Here’s a decision-making template created by our Learn team:

Decide as individuals

  • ie. Working hours

Decide with 1 other team member

  • ie. Merging code

Decide as a team

  • ie. Changing a team process

Lead decides/ makes a final call

  • ie. Taking on a new project

Escalate outside the team (ie. to Division leads)

  • ie. Security incident response

Adapted from Remote:AF and Jesse Lyn Stoner‘s work, as well as how we do things at Automattic.

Note: Examples given are not universal truths and will differ among teams

Shared Understanding

It’s very common when a group needs to make a decision that there are several sets of facts or assumptions. The first step in making a decision is to get to a shared understanding of the facts.

As an example, Automattic’s marketing team was running a challenge called Bloganuary. It was very successful with over 1500 participants on their P2. Given their great amount of daily activity on the P2, the organizers wanted to know how the notifications from P2 work and what are the best options to make adjustments.

Here Mindy is telling her about her experience and asking about a solution.

I can now respond to Mindy and let her know what is possible and what are the trade-offs. This works well in P2 as my team-mates as well as people working on Bloganuary can view the decision-making process and can voice their thoughts.

Some decisions may really need consensus, and while they take a lot more time, can result in really transformative outcomes due to the deep dialogue and renegotiation of opinions that occur as part of the process.

On the other hand, some decisions can only be reached with consent. For example, our team recently coordinated an in-person meetup in Granada, Spain. Given the size of the team there is no way to come to a full consensus on the best location, dates, scope of work, and much more. This meant that several people couldn’t join and they consented to that. On P2 the meetup summary was shared as a page of key facts and there was not comment thread to come to a consensus.


Line Item Responses

It’s common within Automattic to use the quote block to highlight questions or phrases that need clarification. Often the person is being asked to make decisions and he or she does it by quoting the questions. In this example, our email team is asking Miguel from the P2 team how he would like to handle a couple of issues:

Advocating and Feedback

In many teams and questions, there isn’t a clear decision-maker nor consensus. In these cases, one can use P2 to advocate that the group follow along with a viewpoint and consider adopting it. In this case, Robert makes a case that there is too much cross-posting at Automattic. In comments, some agreed with Robert while others shared alternative viewpoints. No decision was made but it got everyone thinking and likely resulted in some changed behaviors.

Copying a question from Slack or Chat

If your team uses Slack or some other chat you might see that it is often not great for making decisions. Often one or more people are not around during the time of the chat. P2 addresses this by making the process asynchronous.

In this case, Amanda asked a question and nobody was around so I copied this into our P2 for discussion.


Task Blocks and Changelog Blocks

A colleague uses the task block to share his progress with colleagues on work where decisions have been made and it’s time to execute:

Changelog is a nice visual representation of status of work:

Read next – How to create a team decision protocol