Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Can Lead link override decision made by a role?

I am working at an ecommerce company, and our development team is trying out to implement holacracy. Currently we are dividing domain of each role by website's service. For example, roles of order service developer, product catalogue service developer, etc. Each role is responsible for adding feature or fixing bug there because the service is the role's domain.

 

We also have other role such as, tester, designer, scrum master, each has their own sub role. i.e order domain tester, catalogue domain designer, etc. And lastly we have cto role which become lead link of development circle.

 

I am filling one of developer role, but now I am a bit confuse with regards of my domain. Because sometime, cto can decide what type of technology or architecture to use during our service development, or often we seek for go signal from the cto. we are not sure if this is the right way to go. so are we doing wrong by letting cto role as the lead link of development circle to override some of the developer decision?

 

Thank you

9 Replies
Laura Johnson (Admin)
09/12/2015

Hi Fajar, 

Thanks for the complex question! This is a great questions to ask during an on-line session of Coaches "Office Hours". This is a premium offering that includes a trial period to see if the membership better suites your needs with Holacracy. You can learn more about Premium here. We will be scheduling Office Hours in mid/late September so keep an eye out for the announcement. 

 

 

Frederico Knabben
09/13/2015

@Laura, please don't tell me that the goal of the Community of Practice is selling paid services.

Laura Johnson (Admin)
09/13/2015

No Frederico, that is not the purpose. I suggested the Office Hours as an option to try. Anyone can respond to Fajar's question, I just thought it was a good one for a dialogue with a coach that's all.  I added the link for access, not selling...although I see how it could be received that way. It wasn't my intention.  

Fajar Firdaus
09/13/2015

@Laura and @Frederico I was aiming for whomever could help me first in the right direction.

 

Oh and I sent a private message to you @Laura, asking about my issue on upgrading and signing up for free trial.

Frederico Knabben
09/14/2015

@Fajar, I have my way of understanding your problem which may be right... don't take this as final, because I'm not a coach.

 

Ideally Lead Links would not interfere on the Roles domain decisions, but in the other hand the Circle can define Policies that specify that Roles should obey to the Lead Link defined common practices or even that Roles need to consult the Lead Link or that the Lead Link can take decisions on Roles' domains. It all depends on your company needs and practices. Circle Policies are there for you to customize things to your needs.

 

Anyway, it would be nice to have this confirmed. In any case, if you'll have an answer out of a closed environment, please be sure to let us know here. Thanks!

Mary Pruce
09/14/2015

Hey Fajar,

In reading your post I'm sensing that you may be misusing domains in the Holacracy sense. A domain is a piece of organizational property that can be given to a role to restrict or authorize access to that property.  In what I've read there doesn't seem to be a domain around the type of technology or architecture unique to any role.

One thing to consider, while the Lead Link holds undifferentiated work of the circle like deciding architecture and technologies right now until it gets split into a separate role.  Which if the work of that is ongoing the Lead Link should be bringing that tension to make it clearer.  Equal to the point you can propose another role to make those kinds of decisions or create a policy granting that authority to decide those things for any role that needs to. 

Hope this helps. 

Fajar Firdaus
09/14/2015

Thanks Frederico and Mary for your reply. I will update here once I got a chance in the "office hour".

 

@Frederico I agree with you that the role should consult with lead link when making some decision regarding to technology to use. So this is what policy is about. I think we are going to officiate it as our circle policy, as currently it's just feels right to do so. 

 

@Mary, my understanding to technology or architecture for a web service in our site is like paint for a room in a house. So when the room is domain of a role, one of the task is to choose what color to apply there. Do you think I understand it correctly here?

 

 

Mary Pruce
09/15/2015
Originally Posted by Fajar Firdaus:

Thanks Frederico and Mary for your reply. I will update here once I got a chance in the "office hour".

 

@Frederico I agree with you that the role should consult with lead link when making some decision regarding to technology to use. So this is what policy is about. I think we are going to officiate it as our circle policy, as currently it's just feels right to do so. 

 

@Mary, my understanding to technology or architecture for a web service in our site is like paint for a room in a house. So when the room is domain of a role, one of the task is to choose what color to apply there. Do you think I understand it correctly here?

 

 Ah, as long as that understanding is shared with Lead Link then one pathway may be when requesting you to do something specific within your domain to thank them for their input and that you will consider their point of view but will use your best interest in your role with that discrete authority to make that decision.  

You may also want to make sure that it's super clear what those domains mean to both you and other members of the circle.  You may have an opportunity to gain more clarity there. 

 

Dien Kwik
09/22/2015

Hi, Fajar:

 

From what I have experienced, the pressure to go back to the way it used to be can be quite strong while implementing Holacracy, especially at the very beginning. Former bosses having a hard time letting go and accepting that others can probably do things just as well will unconsciously try to meddle in the way they used to (I know, because I'm one of them , trying my best to tone it down)

 

People seeking approval from their former bosses for decisions that their roles already have the authority to make, or asking the bosses to step in and make the decision for them are also quite common in my experience.

 

If this is the scenario you are describing, then my view is that it should be discouraged as much as possible. The reason why we are implementing Holacracy is to go towards distributed authority.  If we wanted to stick with bosses overriding decisions and people seeking approval form their bosses then why implement Holacracy?

 

Having said that, it's really tough to convert over night, at least it has been the case for me, so we made some adjustments:

1. For things that I really couldn't let go yet, I proposed roles with the relevant domains and accountabilities in governance, and appoint myself to fill them.

2. We implemented the advice process: "When in doubt, ask the experts, and those that will be affected by the decision". Note that this is not approval, as the final say still rests with the role itself. This advice process is merely information and input seeking to get a more complete view before deciding. The decision can be completely against the recommendation of their former boss.

 

For your case, perhaps the same thing can be done.  Let the CTO define what it is he still wants to have control of, and ask him to create the roles with the appropriate domains and accountabilities for it.  As the CTO is also the Lead Link, he then appoints himself to those roles. Everything else then gets differentiated to other roles.

 

You may also want to further implement some kind of advice process so that the CTO and other experts are consulted, if applicable, when one or more roles want to make decisions. Be sure to explain that the final say is still with the roles, and that they should use their best judgement to decide what is best from all the inputs they get.

 

Hopefully this helps a little..

 

Dien.

 

PS: By they way, where are you located, if you don't mind me asking ?