1. Fist of Five:
Hand signals are a method for reading a room’s positions nonverbally. They work well with fewer than 250 people, especially with multi-lingual groups. The nature and meaning of individual gestures vary between groups. Still, a widely adopted core set of hand signals include: wiggling of the fingers on both hands, a gesture sometimes referred to as “twinkling”, to indicate agreement; raising a fist or crossing both forearms with hands in fists to indicate a block or strong disagreement; and making a “T” shape with both hands, the “time out” gesture, to call attention to a point of process or order.
One common set of hand signals is called the “Fist-to-Five” or “Fist-of-Five”. In this method, each member of the group can hold up:
- a fist to indicate blocking consensus, one finger to suggest changes,
- two fingers to discuss minor issues,
- three fingers to show a willingness to let the issue pass without further discussion,
- four fingers to affirm the decision as a good idea, and
- five fingers to volunteer to take the lead in implementing the decision.
2. Roman voting:
Another set of hand signals that can be used in projects is called “Roman voting”—everyone votes simultaneously. Thumbs up signify a “yes” (or agreement), while thumbs down mean a “no” (or disagreement). Then, count the number of thumbs up and thumbs down. Depending on the decision-making rule (consensus or majority rules), the proposal either passes or fails.
A project manager or Scrum Master also may have each person in the group do one of three things:
- Give a thumbs up to indicate they want to keep talking about the current topic
- Give a thumbs down to indicate they want to move on to the next topic
- Give a horizontal thumb to indicate they could go either way (they don’t have a strong opinion)
Consensus polling is a method of adducing consensus for a given proposal, using a structured polling method that can easily indicate how many people support a proposal and how many people are not yet in support of a proposal.
A consensus poll begins when a static contract (a document set out at the beginning of a poll, which describes the requirements that the poll must satisfy to succeed) is laid down setting out the poll requirements to succeed. A dynamic plan (proposal) is then formulated, which can be changed by the poll participants at any time. If a participant in the poll approves the proposal, they show their approval by indicating “yes”. However, if a participant in the poll disapproves of the proposal, they indicate that with “not yet”.
Once a specified number of people approve of the proposal, the poll enters the “go state”. If a poll remains in the “go state” for a specified length of time, the proposal succeeds. If not enough people support the proposal, then the poll is in the “stop state”.
4. Dot voting:
Dot-voting (also known as dotmocracy or voting with dots) is an established facilitation method used to describe voting with dot stickers or marks with a marker pen. In dot-voting, participants vote on their chosen options using a limited number of stickers or marks with pens — dot stickers being the most common. This sticker voting approach is a form of cumulative voting.
The dot-voting process includes the following steps:
- Participants are each given a set number of dot stickers (as decided by the facilitator)
- They place dot stickers next to options presented that they like (they may place any number of their dots on any number of the options)
- Options with the most dots at the end of voting “win”.
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