Taking Action:


Multivoting + Fist-to-Five + SBAR


Quick Tips for Team Leaders


By Jeff Oltmann

Oregon, USA


Multivoting is a way to quantify the positions and preferences of a group by allowing each member to decide how much an option is worth to them.  Each member’s votes are recorded, but a decision is not necessarily reached.  Multivoting gives the group information about where individual members stand and the strength of their positions.  The votes are used as a springboard for identifying consensus, surfacing disagreements, and identifying the size of gaps.

When to Use

  • “Taking the temperature” of a group as it is moving toward agreement.
  • Identifying areas of disagreement, misunderstanding, or differing priorities.
  • There are fewer than ten options under consideration.


Set up a grid of names and options on a flip chart.    Give each member a number of votes to distribute across the options according to their preferences.   Members distribute their votes across the options to indicate their relative preferences.  Use these voting guidelines:

  • Encourage members to spread their votes across all options to express their relative feelings about all of them. Don’t lump all votes on a single favorite.
  • Each person should decide how to distribute votes before recording them on the chart, to avoid being influenced by how others vote.
  • Ask for and record votes by option, not by person. For each option, members should vote simultaneously by raising fingers, showing a scorecard, or similar method.
  • Allow votes of “zero” only when a person can’t live with that option.


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Editor’s note: This series of “Quick Tips” articles is by Jeff Oltmann, experienced program and technology executive and principal of Synergy Professional Services, LLC in Oregon, USA. The Quick Tips offer simple approaches and models for problem analysis, gathering ideas and input from team members, facilitation and taking action. The tips offered in this series were identified or developed over two decades of helping program, project and team leaders get things done in faster, more agile ways. Learn more about Jeff Oltmann in his author profile at the end of this article.

How to cite this paper: Oltmann, J. (2023). Taking Action: Multivoting + Fist-to-Five + SBAR, Quick Tips for Team Leaders, series article, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue IV, April.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/pmwj128-Apr2023-Oltmann-multivoting-fisttofive-sbar-quicktips-series-11-2.pdf

About the Author

Jeff Oltmann

Oregon, USA


Jeff Oltmann is a seasoned leader with over 30 years of experience advising clients, managing successful technology programs, and developing new products. His specialties include strategy deployment, operational and project excellence, and project portfolio management. As principal consultant at Synergy Professional Services, Jeff advises leaders and teams in diverse sectors including healthcare, research, bioscience, and technology product development.

Jeff is the founder of the Portfolio and Project Leaders Forum.  He is also on the graduate faculty of the Division of Management at Oregon Health and Science University and was previously on executive staff at IBM.    He teaches portfolio, program, and project management and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®).

Jeff welcomes your questions and ideas.  You can contact him at jeff@spspro.com or read previous articles at www.spspro.com/article-library.