2014. május 18., vasárnap

I do holacracy - when hierarchy works

I experience that holacracy effectively disables, kills, slaughters, eliminates, eradicates, micromanagement.

Micromanagement usually happens, when people with authority are asked or they chose to take responsibility for the decisions of subordinates. This is never an uplifting story. It creates the image of one as a responsible, strong, capable, rescuer and the other as someone weak, incapable, who is not taking responsibility, and who needs to be saved.

Micromanagement is eliminated by the following things:

1. Distribution of authority - In holacracy power is distributed in a way that each role can and should do its job without unnecessary approvals.-

2. The integrity of roles and circles - Each role and circle is defined with a clear purpose. The role holder is firstly responsible to fulfill that purpose via her accountabilities. That makes a deeper commitment from the role holder reducing the chance of pushing responsibility away.

3. Defined domains - Since domains and accountabilities are defined for each role, any peer may express their tension if the work on your part is not done or not done according to what is the common understanding of your role's purpose within the circle. If the role of your peer is blocked, he can ask wether your role needs help, he may take individual actions and if the case is severe he may propose that certain accountabilities of your role are to be taken to make the work more even and fluent.

4. Healthy hierarchy - Or in other words, natural hierarchy. As no cellular structure is interested in molecular issues by its nature, no super circle is dealing with the issues of roles in the sub-circle. By its nature a governance meeting (derived from the constitution) is simply dealing with locally felt tensions that affect the present operation. In any super-circles the rep links and lead links present their tensions as speakers of the sub-circle, never as one role within that.

Where micromanagement may happen is the cooperation of a role and the lead link role within the same circle. But I experience that those partners who hold clarified roles, understand their purposes and hold themselves accountable are not the ones (or they are very hard) to micromanage. Also the lead link role is not a typical managerial role. It is just another role serving the circles purpose that can be criticized, helped, and further clarified.

Welcome to the world of pain felt, responsibility taken, decisions made and work done where and when it should be!

2014. május 3., szombat

I do holacracy - how we changed

This post summarizes my experiences based on six months exploring holacracy in Doctusoft. If you are interested in details you may find more about our story here.

Holacracy changes us. It is a tool we use, but we adopt to it. The tool brings clarity, accountability, but after a while it is us who bring clarity and accountability to life and sustain it via holacracy. I experience a slow but major transformation of me and my colleagues in several aspects. Be prepared to read nice stuff :)

They wish to be part of it.

We have applied holacracy to only one part of the company yet. Since we are a software developer group practicing agile management methods, the project groups were managed quite well. We chose holacracy for the supporting functions like HR, finances, sales. Now these circles are a little bit envied by the developers. They hear about effective meetings, clarity and wish to be part of it.

Personal consciousness in the way we handle issues.

Colleagues started to come up with tensions and suggestions out of the governance meetings. In cases it is not clear in which role did they feel the tension. Lots of roles are not clarified yet. Since undefined roles have no clear purpose it is hard to tell whether the proposal moves the circle forward or backward, but sometimes there is a gut level knowledge about its rightness.

Clearer messages, more attention in communication.

Processing tensions have multiple learnings for each participating partner. I simplified these learnings to focus on the partners' feelings
- I can have my tensions resolved the way I think it is best for me. Perhaps if it does not hurt anybody else. 
- I am not allowed to oppose without reason. I have to face my irrational self if I intend to.
- I see others change after their tensions are resolved. It makes the subjective change of others an almost tangible experience for me.
- I see how "expensive" is fighting and how pointless it is. We have to reengage in governance tension resolution again anyway.
- It happens a lot that I have contextual suggestions or objections that are brought up by another partner before I have time to speak. Firstly my ego wants to be heard, later I start to enjoy that I can save my voice and can trust others to work out the objection we both feel necessary.
- I see that meetings can be effective and informative, less time consuming and less frequent if we start with the tensions and process them.

These learnings provide positive assuring feelings and "aha" experiences that lead to personal confidence, emotional balance, and predictability in the group dynamics.

Real proactivity and responsibility

Circles and roles are clear. So as the constitution. It means that everything I do have clear boundaries and connecting points. The way I work has more autonomy than any empowerment gave me previously, since I am almost self-managing. I fill a role with a clear purpose. If I have any problem or roadblock that is a tension to process that is to be triggered solely by me. If I have no roadblocks the work is to be done solely by me.

Letting things go - transcending the ego

After the most of the evil blocking tensions are resolved people start to get their things done. They have less and less time to focus on positions, pesonal gains, fear, games, and assumptions. Meanwhile they discover that self-managing or at least autonomous work is much more fulfilling than playing daily games for maintaining position, security, whatever. So they step back from the previous conflict zones since those are not beneficial or necessary after all.

All of us experience this which leads to less "threat" and more personal focus. The results are plenty. Just to mention some:
- Success - as etymology says: an advance, a happy outcome
- Reaffirming results
- Responsability taken, being accountable is building character
- Reflection on personal work methods
- Reflection on personal feelings, worldviews
- Assertivity

I experience that holacracy enhances personal growth.

Do you categorize these learning s differently? Have you got anything to add?