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A Summary of

Gokul's S.P.A.D.E. Toolkit

Gokul Rajaram
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The S.P.A.D.E toolkit is a technique widely used at Square to make hard decisions. It is relevant for hard decisions only, so make sure you assess the urgency and importance of a problem before deploying S.P.A.D.E.

Here are the elements of S.P.A.D.E:

  • S: Setting. Setting involves three dimensions to consider in relation to your problem: What, when, & why.
  • P: People. Define what people you plan on getting input from, who needs to approve, and designate a single person who is responsible for the issue. Hold all parties accountable.
  • A: Alternatives. List your alternative choices and the potential consequences and benefits of each,
  • D: Decision. Receive private feedback and then it’s time to either vote or make the decision on your own depending on circumstances.
  • E: Explain. Organize a meeting to broadcast your decision. This is also a good time to define next steps and deliverables.
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