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Agile Organizations: Holacracy and the Structure of Agility

Have you ever heard of Holacracy? 

The Silicon Valley Agile Leadership Network is excited present Eric Babinet who is a seasoned Agilist having helped Salesforce.com with their first steps to agility. Eric will be speaking on Agile Organizations: Holacracy and the Structure of Agility.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thanks to Ericsson and Bratton & Company for hosting this awesome event!

Regards, Stacey Louie, Silicon Valley Agile Leadership Organizer

Agenda:

6:30 PM - 7:00 PM Networking
7:00 PM - 7:10 PM Announcements & Introductions
7:10 PM - 8:30 PM Presentation, Hands-on Exercise, Q&A
8:30 PM - 9:00 PM Wrap-up & More Networking

Cost: FREE (snacks and refreshments provided)

"Holacracy and the Structure of Agility"

Holacracy® is an approach to structuring and running an agile organization. It gained a bit of attention earlier this year after Zappos announced that they were adopting it and were no longer going to have traditional manager roles or a traditional management hierarchy. Holacracy is not the first or only way to run a “manager-less” organization, but it is definitely one of the most clearly defined and probably one of the most “structured”. The core structure that Holacracy uses is a “holarchy” of self-organizing teams, which basically means self-organizing teams that are contained within a larger self-organizing team, that is contained within a larger self-organizing team, etc. How these self-organizing teams get created and how you can run an entire organization in this self-organizing way is quite interesting.

During this session we will take a closer look at how Holacracy works and interactively explore questions such as: What is organizational structure? What types of structure enhance agility? How does structure relate to Agile transformation?

Speaker: Eric Babinet, Agile Business Consultant, Outformations, Inc.

Eric Babinet is an experienced Agile coach and consultant, as well as a Certified Holacracy Practitioner and Holacracy Agent. Between 2006 and 2011 he was very involved in helping Salesforce.com adopt and scale Agile to over 125 Scrum teams. Currently he works as an Agile Business Consultant with Outformations, Inc., helping companies adopt and scale Agile, and learn about Holacracy. Outformations has been using Holacracy since 2012.

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  • Sridhar A.

    Thanks Eric for the talk. I certainly enjoyed it and it did invoke a lot of interaction (a good thing) from the audience on this new approach to organization structure. My big takeaway was that this approach de-links the role with the functional title. Further the role definition, expectations and accountability is shared in a transparent fashion. This allows a high degree of clarity on the positions and role people are playing in the organization for its success (or not!). This concept can be applied in Agile teams/organizations as well.

    3 · April 11, 2014

  • Randall T.

    Thank you to Eric Babinet for being willing to share his understanding and experience with an approach to team and organizational work that many of us are just now learning about. I also appreciated and learned much from the wide range of insight-filled questions asked by participants at the event, and am benefiting from the follow-up observations and exchange being shared below. Thanks too to Ericsson for providing the event location, to Bratton (and others?) for the food and refreshments, and to the volunteers who supported all of us in gaining value.

    1 · April 11, 2014

  • Guylaine T.

    Hi,
    Thanks Eric to share with us your material! You will find the info: http://www.meetup.com/Silicon-Valley-Agile-Leadership-Network/pages/April_8_-2014_Holacracy_and_Sructure_of_Agility
    Sincerely /G

    2 · April 10, 2014

    • Stacey L.

      Thank you for posting! Got to love the org chart!

      1 · April 10, 2014

  • Stacey L.

    Hi Agilists, I am delighted that the SV-ALN Meetup is made up of people like you who are excited in learning and collaborating on all things Agile. In addition to our valued members, we are always happy when the community offers its resources in hosting, sponsoring, and volunteering. We treasure these people dearly.

    Thanks to Ericsson for being a leader in our area and supporting our Agile meetup!

    Moreover, we are especially grateful to those who offer encouragement, support, and positive feedback to one another. It's the foundation of our core values.

    We are blessed to have people who offer their time, resources, and energy to make our meetup a safe place so that we can watch each others' backs and work to build each other up. Gratefully yours,

    Stacey Louie, SV-ALN Organizer

    3 · April 10, 2014

  • Peter M. A.

    Would love to have a link to the slides, esp the one with the *true* org structure based upon relationships. A good dose of reality and humor!

    1 · April 10, 2014

  • Eric B.

    There's only so much material I could cover in an introductory talk. For anyone who would like a hands-on experience with the Holacracy tactical and governance meetings, that is what you will get in the Taster Workshop. If you attended the Meetup you can get a 20% discount if you register for the 5/21 workshop before 4/30. Use code SVALN04 http://bit.ly/1mtvgFa

    April 9, 2014

  • shailesh

    Thanks to speaker, organizers, volunteers and sponsors ! Just a personal, early and first impression - Holacracy still feels just a theory (concept) and buzzword/fad. Just a renamed version of traditional org hier. "Role" is nothing but "position", "circles" seems nothing but "teams", "programs/initiatives" or "departments". "Board" is BOD, GCC/Anchor are similar to "steering/leadership" committees. "Lead-rep" is "team/program" lead. Instead of "top-down pyramid", they are showing "encompassing circles" ! Many contradictions and open ends (authority, accountability, perf appraisal, career path, conflicting priorities, free resource moves ...). Supposedly it's either defined in "constitution" or is "evolving". Zappos is implementing it but any other company ? What has worked, what didn't ? Eric (speaker) had good material but I wish we got more practical experience. And, there were no answers to many questions. Not sure all is convincing as it is, I'll do some more study !

    April 8, 2014

    • Eric B.

      Holacracy is not a theory - it is a set of very clear rules and practices for distributing authority and accountability in an organization. I don't believe there are any contradictions in the constitution about where authority and accountability resides, however, Holacracy is "open" in the sense that it provides a way to define more specific accountabilities and policies needed by the organization. I think this is actually one of its strengths, as it means it can work in a wide variety of organizations and does not prescribe a particular approach to perf appraisal, career path, etc. I appreciate that certain Holacracy concepts like "role", "circle", and "lead link" may seem similar to existing concepts, but I assure you they are different. To see the differences look at the specific authorities and accountabilities that they each have. Numerous other organizations have been using Holacracy - see outformations.com/holacr­acy for articles they've written.

      1 · April 9, 2014

  • Stacey L.

    CHALLENGE TO ATTENDEES: I'd love to get YOUR ideas on how you can implement a "holocracy" in the workplace or in your personal endeavors. Think about it... Give us an idea of an organization/community which you are part of where a holocracy could work?

    April 9, 2014

    • Steve M.

      If the Scrum Master takes on parts of the role of Link, that would make sense to me. Also, Holocracy describes how a 'scrum of scrums' could govern itself.

      April 9, 2014

  • Steve M.

    Good presentation of a 'large' topic. It's counter-intuitive, doesn't prescribe answers to questions. It is a system to enable these questions to be answered in ways that makes sense. I can imagine a company starting off with Holocracy, and eventually building a robust, waterfall, hierarchical bureaucracy - if that is what seems to be the right thing to do.

    Generally, this subject is beyond the scope of many people currently involved in Agile, as Eric said it takes executive commitment. But, there are elements that can be implemented by teams, and by project managers, program managers, department managers, etc.

    April 9, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    It would be great to have Zappos come tell about their experience with Holacracy when they have been working on it for a while.

    1 · April 9, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Good overview of a very interesting subject

    April 9, 2014

  • Peter M. A.

    Holacracy is a fascinating way to structure and govern an organization. It is not clear to me how it assists being Agile or what problem it solves. More study and experience is required with Holacracy for its value to be apparent. Great people at this meetup though - strong thought and practice leaders. Agile Camp 2014 is next!

    April 9, 2014

  • Andrew W.

    Very good. It feels like another of the missing pieces.

    April 8, 2014

  • Greg

    I'll be finishing day 1 of a SAFe training at eBay that afternoon until 6. Can someone help me get the wine there at 6:30 sharp?

    1 · March 24, 2014

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