BIRD is a framework for clarifying what role people are playing in making a decision.

<aside> 💡 Note: BIRD is not for assigning responsibility for completing work. It's normally best to assign one person to be responsible for each task/goal/project.


Before you use the BIRD framework

Clarify what the decision is. There might be several related decisions with different BIRDs. Tease them apart.

BIRD: Bound, Input, Recommend, Decide

🚧 Bound

This person says “Do anything, as long as you don’t do X”. They put fences around cliffs to stop us falling off them.

Boundaries shouldn’t be too restrictive - there should still be a lot of space to play in. They might  be “don’t break this law”, or “don’t say this - it’ll cause a PR crisis”.

There also shouldn’t be many people setting bounds (probably 0-2). When you ask someone to bound a decision, specify how you want them to bound it - e.g. “Josh, please can you tell us whether there’s any legislation we need to comply with when we’re setting EAG ticket prices?”

For information on boundaries in the context of time, personal interactions, and commitments, see the boundaries section in ‣.

🗳 Input

This person says “I think that option A is most promising - I think option B has downside Y”. They give you information to help you find the high points, the hills and mountains.

There will often be multiple Is. Include people who will be affected by the decision (e.g. people who will carry out the work), as well as people with special knowledge.

✍ Recommend

This person says “I recommend that we pick option A”. They incorporate the information from the Bs and the Is, and make a holistic non-binding suggestion about which mountain to climb.

There is only one R. The R needs to be someone who has broad context, and who is trusted by everyone else involved.

📌 Decide

This person says “we’re going to carry out option X”. They look at the R’s recommendation, and choose which hill we’re going to climb. Once the D has made a call, we’re committed to action.

Ideally, there is only one D. The D should be the person closest to the issue area, with the ability to understand the trade-offs at play. The D and the R can be the same person.