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

How do you break projects among roles ?

Hi all,
I have this case:
I'm the role Customer Care and I need a new feature Y from an internal software system.
The Circle need the work of the roles: Product Ownder, Developer and Graphics to accomplish the request.
We could break the work in a project for Product Owner a project for Developer and so on... but in this way we could lost the full meaning of the project
and who coordinate the work ?
to try to solve the problem some times we put a "Fake" project to the role that required the project, in this case Customer Care.
In this way we have a role that hold the entire project and could verify and  coordinate the project.

is this a good practice?
How do you break projects among roles ?


4 Replies
Jean-Michel Gode

Hi Giuseppe,

Project and actions are tools at your disposal to organize the work to be done as you need. Just do what makes sense for you.

If relevant, you may set a main project  "New feature Y is operational" that you owns in your role "Customer Care”; and if needed, the other roles may create projects for their own parts (graphics, development, etc.).

Seems that you are already coordinating the project from your role "Customer Care". In order to get some more clarity, you might model your circle governance according to the way your circle actually works: by creating a "project coordinator" role that you'll energize with this "coordinating project" accountability, or adding this accountability to your "Customer Care" role...

Hope that helps,

Chris Cowan

Hey Giuseppe,

It's important to have one clear project owner. Someone who cares about the WHOLE thing. With that Role and project identified, then it's kinda up to that role how to manage the coordination. Maybe even use an external project tracker tool. BUT, one way I've seen that done well just using Glassfrog is to have smaller projects for the other roles. The projects could be something like, "Complete graphics sent to @Developer." Then, the Graphics role completely owns working towards that specific sub-outcome. I hope that makes sense. 

Again, I'll emphasize that Glassfrog isn't intended to handle all project coordination, (just like it isn't intended to be a replacement for your own personal productivity system), so use an external program if necessary. From a Holacracy perspective, you're doing it right as long as there is one clear owner for the entire outcome.


Thanks for feedback.
I thought that a whole project holder that only coordinate the other roles was not in line with holacracy principles and practices.
I thought that this project holder role could be a bottleneck and that could create something like a manager.
but from your answers I learned that this is not true and that is more important the clarity.



Dennis Ross


The subtle, but important, difference in Chris' and Jean-Michel's example is that the project owner is managing the work, not the roles.  Roles with clear accountabilities that allow others in the organization what to expect from the role-filler.

Additionally, as you know, role-fillers are obligated (via the constitution) to accept actions and projects that are aligned with their role's purpose and/or accountabilities.

- Dennis