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Posted in GlassFrogBy Harald • 08/29/2016

minutes of a meeting - how to record information (without action)?

Hello,

I like glassfrog in a lot of aspects, but I am wondering about the minutes which are generated in/after a tactical meeting. It is all fine, if the agenda item output is a project or action. But half of our agenda items are information issues. In some circles it is not possible that all members of the circle participate in the meetings. Hence it is important to record these information given in the tactical meeting. But how? Do you have the same problem? If no, why not? And if yes, how do you solve it? Looking forward to hear from your experiences.

Thanks.

12 Replies
Alexia Bowers
08/31/2016

Hi Harald, 

I think it would probably depend on what kind of information you are trying to disseminate and why. In the GlassFrog circle, we typically use role notes, Slack, or email to provide transparency into things that everyone in the circle needs to know, rather than relying on the tactical meetings. In my experience, the first Holacracy question isn't how to disseminate information, but rather what role is responsible for disseminating it, and what roles need to know the information. I'm not a Holacracy coach, but that would be where I would start. 

Margaux
09/01/2016

Hi Harald,

 

I fully agree with Alexia. Not everyone need to know everything that is happening in the company. If a role is seeking information, he/she should be able to find the right role on GlassFrog to ask that information.

On top of that, tactical meetings are also a good place to share informations because you have lots of people around the table and it is common to share informations. You can always put the information with the “Trigger” function (one of our client did that because they needed all the Lead Links to share that information in their circle). Instead of putting a date or event, they would put “Information” and then the content of the information.

Please note that our client clearly had a policy for that and please also note that if people are not attending the meeting, it might be a tension itself. There is no quorum in Holacracy and people are free to attend meetings or not. If they choose not to attend, I don't know why we should save them by transmitting the information. If the date/time of the meeting is not convenient for them, they can always process that tension - there are always good excuses not to attend a meeting but it's their choice you know.

Hope that clarify a bit.

Harald
09/02/2016

Hi Alexia & Margaux, thank you very much for your ideas!

@alexia: well, your answer made me think about, if the tactical meeting is the right for(u)m to share information. Maybe we should use the tactical meeting more for collecting views and to solve tensions (which are not governance issues).

@margaux: in the sales circle we have people who are only rarely inhouse and at the moment we have vacation time. So, there are reasons why people do not attend our meetings, which we have to accept. Your idea (from a costumer) to use "trigger" for documenting/sharing information of a tactical meeting is very helpful for us. I will also promote the function "notes" for some kind of information.

I think we will feel in future more comfortable with the tactical meetings. Thanks a lot for your support.

Dien Kwik
09/02/2016

Hi, Alexia, Margaux, Harald:

I still think something is a little off.

[@mention:449833773730792463], sharing of information and decisions are both valid agendas in tactical, whatever the type of information or decisions, the same as asking for projects and/or next actions. Why allow the capture of projects/actions but not the output of other valid ageda items ? It seems inconsistent, unless there is a fundamental principle of Holacracy being violated by doing so.

[@mention:449693036337664795], it's true that you can go directly to the appropriate roles to get information and/or decisions. However, the same is true for projects and next actions.  You can do that outside of tactical as well directly to the appropriate rolesl. Why then allow a tactical meeting for capturing yet other projects/actions, but not other information and decisions ?

Thanks,

Dien.

 

 

Alexia Bowers
09/02/2016

Hi Dien,

The use of GlassFrog to disseminate information and decisions in tactical meetings sounds like it could lead to trouble. Without knowing the types of decisions you are talking about, it sounds like it could be a way to try to set expectations during tactical meetings in a way that is incompatible with Holacracy. 

Regarding your question about not supporting it in GlassFrog, I can tell you my thinking as Product Manager. The functionality itself doesn't sound necessarily like a problem, though it "smells" a bit like something that would likely be abused and result in hindering Holacracy practice for the reason I mentioned above. In this particular case, I asked Brian what he thought about the functionality and his response was concern that it would aid in the misunderstanding of what tactical meetings are. I did take an action to consider the request, but I have so many things that I'd like to see in GlassFrog that I would need more data in support of proper Holacracy practice to increase its priority. I do appreciate the feedback, and add it to my notes. I also would love to hear of any ways you are trying to do this in your organization and why.

We have not had the need in HolacracyOne, so it is useful to hear how others deal with it - I liked hearing about Margaux's workaround with triggers. I suppose you could use actions just as well, and mark them for all circle members, or add a custom circle field to the circle sidebar if it is something for all circle members.

Dien Kwik
09/02/2016

Hi, [@mention:449833773730792463]:

Ah, I see.

If I understand it correctly, the concerns are:

1. That people can abuse the tactical meeting to decide things that are supposed to be decided in Governance through IDM and disseminating this illegal move throughout the company

2. Capturing decisions that are really actions/projects

3. Tacticals are meant for removing tactical obstacles for individual roles, and not for disseminating information to all roles. The roles needing to have their obstacles removed will be in the meeting and they will get what they need, including projects, actions, information, or permissions to impact domains. Mission accomplished. The other roles that can't attend the meeting? It wasn't their tensions to begin with, so they don't need the information.  

 

 

Does this sound about right ?

Regarding the last point, are we really not supposed to use the tactical for distributing some information to all roles, let's say briefing all roles about a guideline that has just been published ?

We sometime do this, and in these instances, we felt that others who couldn't attend the meeting need this info as well.

Thanks.

Alexia Bowers
09/02/2016

Hi Dien, 

That breaks it down nicely. I think it is mostly #1 and #2. I don't think it is as much about using tactical meetings to disseminate information per se. I've done that in tactical meetings. I just make sure to keep the topic for the next meeting or send out the information separately if there is someone who isn't at the meeting that needs to know. I think it is more about using the meeting minutes/notifications as your tool for conveying that information or decisions, and expecting that to be "official" somehow.

An extreme example I can think of is saying something like "We all need to come in at 10am on Saturday" and sending it out as an "information piece" in a tactical meeting, and then having an expectation that everyone will do that because it was in the tactical meeting minutes, and send out via the email. 

But, to your point in #3, I think it is always good to think about which roles need information, and to prevent using tactical meetings as a way to get consensus. 

Harald
09/05/2016

Hi Dean, hi Alexia,

I followed your conversation with big interest.

And I looked up in the constitution what the tactical meetings are designed for:

4.2.1 FOCUS & INTENT
Tactical Meetings are for:
(a) sharing the completion status of recurring actions on checklists owned
by the Circle’s Roles;
(b) sharing regular metrics assigned to the Circle’s Roles to report;
(c) sharing progress updates about Projects and other work owned by the
Circle’s Roles; and
(d) triaging Tensions limiting the Circle’s Roles into Next-Action s, Projects,
or other outputs that help reduce those Tensions.

This was a little eye-opening for me. Because there is nothing to find about disseminating of information besides checklists, projects and metrics. And in these three cases glassfrog doesn't allow much information to capture for the minutes for others to read afterwards.

We were somehow used from not-holacracy-meetings to share a lot information, like how the visit at customer X was and that there was a serious complaint from ... and so on. And so we continued in that manner in the tactical meetings which replaced the department meetings.

Somehow I would like to have a field besides action, project, tension and trigger to capture information (not decisions), but I feel also fine with the idea of trying out how it will be, if all these information, which we shared in the past in our tactical meetings, will be disseminated by email immediately (not just once a week) and maybe even more selectively (not to all roles of the circle - but to all necessary ones). Let's see... Still there is a little concern that written information will not be the same.

Thanks.

Alexia Bowers
09/05/2016

Hi Harald,

I forgot to mention, in the GlassFrog circle, we also have Daily Standup meetings with just the developers to coordinate the developer's work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-up_meeting. These are still operational (as opposed to governance meetings), and are meant to be short (maybe 10-15 minutes). Maybe something like that would be useful for your purpose - maybe daily, or even a couple of times a week. I still bring topics to the Tactical Meetings, but the Tactical meeting doesn't have to fill every need, it is just a matter of parsing out the different things you need.  

Harald
09/07/2016

This is also helpful for us. Thank you Alexia!

Pieter Wijkstra
06/08/2017

Hello all,

I have read the above discussion with interest: I regular encounter clients with the need to record a decision or piece of information, because it holds a certain formal status. Example: "Customer X has agreed to delivery on July 1st."

Such information needs to be known by the full team, and all team members need to be able to find this information somewhere (and if applicable, auditors will require this too). 

In the above, I see no practical solution to logging this. So far, we have suggested two options to clients:

  1. Logging as notes ('Important notes/decisions')
  2. Logging as 'actions' and highlighting it is a decision/note: (Secretary - NOTE: client X has agreed to delivery July 1st)

Has anyone encountered similar questions and what solutions were tried? Looking forward to hearing your findings. 

Koen Veltman
07/03/2017

another way to record official decisions (as mentioned in the thread above) is to process them in a governance meeting as a policy. and hence use IDM.

its a bit cumbersome. but might work well. 

  • you have very formal records of the decision
  • a "formal decision" is actually a constraint that fits a policy: when you do work on this project / within this context you have to follow the previous made decision X by the circle
  • the IDM process prevents consensus decisions in case of more difficult/larger decisions
  • you could simply have as a circle a policy that is called "formal decisions for large project X". and every time propose an update for every new decision you like to have included

 

NOTE: "decisions" are here intended in the situation of formal governance keeping in corporate/public environments with many stakeholders outside of the circle or even the organization. where it is required to track all the key (hard to change back) decisions the circle has made. a large infrastructure project team is a good practical example