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Which two types of decisions should remain centralized even in a decentralized decision-making environment? (Choose two.)

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A. Decisions that are made frequently

B. Decisions that require local information

C. Decisions that deliver large and broad economic benefits

D. Decisions that come with a high cost of delay

E. Decisions unlikely to change in the short term

The Correct Answer is

C. Decisions that deliver large and broad economic benefits

E. Decisions unlikely to change in the short term


In a decentralized decision-making environment, especially within frameworks like the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), the goal is to empower teams by allowing them to make decisions that affect their work directly. However, certain types of decisions should remain centralized for efficiency, and consistency, and to ensure alignment with the organization’s overall strategy. The two types of decisions that should remain centralized include:

  • Decisions that deliver large and broad economic benefits: These decisions often involve significant investments or strategic shifts that impact the organization as a whole. Centralizing these decisions ensures that they are made with a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s strategic objectives and are aligned with its long-term goals.

  • Decisions unlikely to change in the short term: These decisions have long-lasting implications and are not easily reversible without incurring significant costs or disruptions. Centralizing such decisions allows for a more deliberate and considered approach, ensuring that all potential impacts are thoroughly evaluated.

By keeping these types of decisions centralized, organizations can maintain strategic coherence and ensure that large-scale investments and long-term commitments are made with a full understanding of their implications.

In the context of decentralized decision-making, especially within frameworks like the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), the balance between centralization and decentralization of decision-making is critical. This balance ensures that while teams have the autonomy to make quick, local decisions, strategic coherence across the organization is maintained. Let’s explore in depth why decisions that deliver large and broad economic benefits and decisions unlikely to change in the short term should remain centralized:

Decisions that Deliver Large and Broad Economic Benefits

  • Strategic Alignment: These decisions often entail significant investments or initiatives that affect the entire organization. Centralizing such decisions ensures they align with the overarching strategic goals and vision of the organization.

  • Resource Allocation: Large economic decisions typically involve the allocation of substantial resources. Centralized decision-making enables optimal resource allocation across the organization, preventing silos and ensuring that resources are directed toward initiatives with the highest strategic value.

  • Risk Management: Decisions with broad economic benefits also carry significant risks. Centralized decision-making allows for a comprehensive risk assessment and the development of mitigation strategies at the organizational level, leveraging a wider perspective than any single team could provide.

Decisions Unlikely to Change in the Short-Term

  • Long-term Impact: These decisions have enduring impacts on the organization’s direction and capabilities. Centralizing these decisions ensures that they are made with a long-term perspective, taking into account future trends, organizational sustainability, and strategic fit.

  • Consistency and Standardization: Decisions that are unlikely to change in the short term often relate to standards, policies, and platforms that require uniformity across the organization. Centralizing these decisions ensures consistency, reduces complexity, and facilitates more seamless integration and collaboration across teams.

  • Efficiency in Decision-making: By centralizing decisions that are stable over time, organizations can reduce the frequency of revisiting these decisions. This efficiency prevents the unnecessary expenditure of time and resources on debating and re-deciding established directions or standards.

Balancing Centralized and Decentralized Decision-making

  • Empowerment with Alignment: While decentralization empowers teams to act swiftly and with autonomy, centralizing certain decisions ensures that these actions are coherent and aligned with the broader organizational objectives. This balance is crucial for agility and strategic focus.

  • Feedback Loops: Effective centralized decision-making in a decentralized environment requires active feedback mechanisms. These mechanisms ensure that insights from across the organization inform strategic decisions, making them more responsive to operational realities and market conditions.

  • Adaptive Governance: Organizations should periodically review their decision-making frameworks to ensure they remain appropriate as the organization evolves. This adaptability helps maintain the right balance between centralized and decentralized decision-making as new challenges and opportunities emerge.

In conclusion, while decentralized decision-making is pivotal for agility and responsiveness, centralizing decisions that have large, broad economic benefits or are unlikely to change in the short term is essential for maintaining strategic coherence, optimal resource allocation, and long-term organizational stability. This nuanced approach to decision-making supports both the empowerment of teams and the strategic alignment necessary for sustained success in a competitive and dynamic environment.

Other Leading SAFe 6.0 Question – Why do Business Owners assign business value to team PI Objectives?

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