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Posted in GlassFrogBy Tyler Danke • 10/11/2016

Incomplete Role

We defined a role today in governance with a role name and a domain. There were no purpose nor accountabilities on the role. My understanding is that this is valid governance. Glassfrog did not say anything when we were drafting the proposal nor stop us from adopting the proposal however when you go to view organization there is a red circle where that role is and it says in the index that red means incomplete role. Is this a bug in Glassfrog?

9 Replies
Jeff Kreh
10/12/2016

@Tyler, it seems to me that if a role has a domain, then it must have at the very least the purpose of justifying and protecting the domain’s existence. If memory served, a role has a title, a purpose, and may have a domain and/or accountability. With regard to accountability, what can the organization expect of the role regarding its stewarship of this domain? It'll help me understand better to learn the role title and domain. 

Tyler Danke
10/12/2016

I interpret the  Constitution to disagree with you Jeffrey. It says one or more of the following:

 

1.1 Definition of a Role

The Organization’s Partners will typically perform work for the Organization by acting in an explicitly defined Role. A“Role” is an organizational construct with a descriptive name and one or more of the following:

  • (a) a “Purpose”, which is a capacity, potential, or unrealizable goal that the Role will pursue or express on behalf of the Organization.
  • (b) one or more “Domains”, which are things the Role may exclusively control and regulate as its property, on behalf of the Organization.
  • (c) one or more “Accountabilities”, which are ongoing activities of the Organization that the Role will enact.
Jeff Kreh
10/12/2016

As a thought experiment, what is the purpose of the domain? 

Kevin
10/12/2016

Tyler,

Interesting question. We see this pop up at ARCA from time to time. I think the role in question meets the technical definition of a role pretty clearly. As it stands, it is basically a parking lot for exclusive ownership of the domain granted to it, but it does not do anything else. To me, that's its current implied purpose. I think the role would be a lot better if it at least had a fundamental accountability ("Taking reasonable steps to adequately serve as a steward for the role's domain," or something), but that work is technically already required by Constitution 4.1.2(c) of version 4.1. So, basically, I think this is sub-optimal but fully constitutional. If it meets the needs of the circle for now, it probably works as is.

Kevin

Tyler Danke
10/12/2016

I made a proposal to add a purpose and an accountability to the role which I guess did make it a little richer but really my only tension was that there was a red circle in the visual representation of the organization in glassfrog. 

Alexia Bowers
10/13/2016

Hi [@mention:456167666726491228]:

You are correct, a role with just a name and domain is a valid governance output, but we don't recommend it as best practice. We added the red incomplete role indicator to the org chart to highlight this to support better Holacracy practice.  But, in the spirit of continual improvement in Holacracy, it is really something to improve rather than invalid governance. Maybe some help text is in order to make that more obvious to folks.

I think one of the ways that HolacracyOne can increase the spread of Holacracy is to use our strength of Holacracy expertise to help folks be able to practice it better. So, we try to infuse that expertise into GlassFrog to support more folks in their Holacracy practice.

Brian Robertson
10/13/2016

A domain does not convey any expectations whatsoever - not the expectation to protect it, steward it, shepherd it, or anything else.  A role does that because of its purpose or its accountabilities.  A domain is just property - whether you ignore or caretake your property depends on your purpose or what's expected of you...  So it rarely makes any sense to have a role with just a domain, hence GlassFrog coloring it red - one of the benefits of GlassFrog is that you get some Holacracy coaching wisdom built right in (and much more coming soon!).

Jeff Kreh
10/13/2016

[@mention:449693036223847456], thank you for addressing the exact tension I sense with a purpose-less/accountability-less role...

Juliane Martina Röll
10/19/2016

Tyler: to me, that is a bug. When one purposefully sets a role up with just a name, that is not "incomplete": that is as complete as it gets at that moment. I'd rather have Glassfrog honor that, than "coach" the organisation by coloring perfectly valid roles signal-red as if there was an error.

I get that it can be helpful that Glassfrog "coaches": this particular behavior though has created more confusion that good in our organisation. (People really study the constitution, and then Glassfrog tells them they did something "incomplete", when they clearly did not!)

A better way to coach this point would be to suggest a change at role creation, not after the fact, and to make it a suggestion, not a judgement.