Pattern: Big Bet

When enough information is available, commit to a significant solution for moving thecloud migration forward. Focus on execution rather than research.

A company is facing a big technical or organizational decision. Experiments were performed, research done, major points validated, and the team has a good understanding of the company’s needs and the problem domain. Multiple major directions are still open.

In This Context

Continuing research and experimentation without ever making any big decision leads to significant waste of resources as the teams are not focused on solving the problem and the direction is not chosen yet. It means that there is no clear alignment across teams regarding a solution, and no stable and focused delivery process has been established.
• In Waterfall, teams tend to do too much research and try to find all the answers for all questions.
• Many times any decision is better than none.
• Large corporations hate risk and therefore push for more research.
• In Waterfall organizations, managers’ success is measured by their ability todecide on and execute major changes.


Make a commitment to a large-scale solution, like a large rebuild, architectural change, migration, purchase of new products, etc., bearing in mind that it might require organizational change.After exploring the options with No Regret Moves and increasing the chance of success even more with Options and Hedges, we now can make a big commitment toward the right longer-term solution. Once the commitment is made, the teams switch from research to execution mode, provided there are no significant changes in the market or other game-changing information. This creates alignment among teams and allows quick product delivery, without endless discussions about the direction.
• Make the commitment clear to the team.
• Stop doing competing projects.
• Consider an exit strategy (evaluate related costs should it be necessary to reverse the decision).


There is full commitment to the chosen direction. It is clear to everyone that this is a commitment moment: at this time we stop experimenting and move forward.Unless there is a significant change in market or strategy conditions, teams stay committed to the chosen path.
+ A single solution is chosen, and the team is focused on making it work.
+ No effort is wasted on work that doesn’t improve the decision process.
- There is always a chance that the decision can turn out to not be the right one.