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

Idea for tension description format from agile software development

One thing I've been doing when capturing tensions for myself is to use a practice from agile software development: writing them in user story format. User stories are used when describing feature requests. The format goes something like this:

"As <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>."

For example: 

"As a Feature Developer, I find it slow to have to parse through new systems without any orientation to the new code and I would like a role to be accountable to orient me, so that I can get up to speed more quickly."

Basically, it states the role it is coming from, says what you want, and gives a why to help others understand the motivation behind it. Personally, I think it is a good format for other types of requests as well.

5 Replies
Bernard Marie Chiquet

Thanks Alexia, this is very helpful!

Tony Wood

This is a really useful way to look at it. Thank you.

Jeff Kreh

This approach goes a long way toward clarifying in advance what  Role needs and why. How do you think this will change the atmosphere of tactical/governance meetings; or is this a way to approach the appropriate role directly? Any approach/tactic that respects that which can happen only in the unique context of the group is good by me.

Alexia Bowers

Hi Jeffrey,

I mainly use the format when typing up my tensions into GlassFrog, but I try to keep it in mind when requesting things of other roles. I think the part that is easy to forget is the "so that", which helps others to understand the why behind it - sometimes what I'm asking for isn't actually going to meet the need, so I think that helps to provide the information to the recipient. But, as a general rule in Holacracy, I feel like you rarely go wrong by telling others what role you are acting from!

Jeff Kreh

Love it!