The team leader couldn’t understand it. She’d worked so hard at getting buy-in and communicating, and was sure she’d sorted everything. Yet her team were saying “we haven’t agreed this”, “we didn’t know about that” or even worse “we can’t implement this – it will break my unit”. Does this sound familiar to you?

“It’s like they’ve got memory loss”, she told me in the break.

So we pressed the team on it and discovered that when they said “we haven’t agreed this”, they actually meant “we’ve agreed the high-level principle but nothing more”.

At red10, this is when we introduce the concept of “scope then send”. Having agreed the priorities on the team’s ‘to do’ list – we encourage teams to assign sub-sets to scope each priority, with one person in each sub-set agreeing to be the accountable lead.

There’s a 1-page scoping document we like to use, covering what, why, how, when and who.

The aim is for 80% of the difficult conversations to happen in the sub-sets, so that the full team can efficiently do the last 20% of the fine-tuning together. Then the full team empowers the sub-set to follow through. Most teams follow through themselves, but for some teams it involves the sub-set putting together a project team that they then sponsor.

As well as being a great pattern for a team to develop, our red10 coaches take the opportunity to observe the team making scoping decisions so that we can increase their speed and quality even further.

“’Scope and Send’ was key to our transformation” the team leader told me afterwards.

Would it be a useful pattern for your team?