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



I facilitate a Tactical Meeting soon in a volunteer organization - and there still is a lot of governance work to do... And there are a lot of tasks that are not X-roles that are not yet clearly assigned. Sometimes these are recurring tasks, then obviously is is Governance matter,  but it seems to me that a bunch of them are projects with a clear beginning and end. I'm not sure how to move on from here - can anyone give me advice ?   

The question I have is this :  Is it so that every single project should be a part of an accountability - en thus of a role ? Should a new role ore new accountability be created in a Governance Meeting every time a project emerges as a result of a tactical meeting - and there is no clear role yet ? Wil this not lead to an inflation of new roles ?   What if this project is a one time thing with a clear beginning and end ?


Thanks !

5 Replies
Jeff Kreh

Anne, for the past six months I have been LeadLink for the Volunteer Relations Circle of Likewise Inc. Having faced the situation that you've raised re. Projects and Roles, we've determined that the Individual Action output from a Tactical meeting allows a project to begin emerging. It may be that a role will need to be created later, but the immediate need is for a defined project to begin and for a clear person to head it up. Some projects are one-time-events and it doesn't make sense to go through a special Governance Meeting for such events. However, other projects once underway reveal the need for a special role of an ongoing nature. Meantime, the Individual Action allows the work to progress while the humans make sense of what is emerging as necessecary.

Anne Billen

Sounds like a very pragmatic approach, Jeffrey - I like !  We'll go for that !

Thx !!


I like Jeff's individual action suggestion. That is a way to keep the circle running until you can find out how to resolve the tension in a more definitive way. Here is how I answered the question.

Indeed, every project should be apart of an accountability which a role enacts. The project should live under some accountability as the constitution states "capturing and tracking all Projects and Next-Actions for your Role in a database or similar tangible form, and for regularly reviewing and updating that database to maintain it as a trusted list of the Role’s active and potential work." I would be careful to know what is needed is a project (a outcome to work toward, with a beginning and an end). versus what is needed is an accountability (ongoing activity expected from a role with no end date). If there is a tension pointing an undifferentiated need of the circle does a project resolve it or does an accountability. A project has a home with a role and accountability. If this project has no home perhaps it points to an undifferentiated need of the circle.  One way to can go about this is if a project has no home then it falls to the lead link. As it states in the constitution, the lead link inherent all accountabilities (and projects which engines those accountabilities)  "to the extent that those Accountabilities and Domains have not been placed upon a Role within the Circle, or otherwise delegated" which may mean that the lead link has a tension which needs to be brought to governance of an accountability and role which needs to be created to resolve an undifferentiated need of the circle. That could be the proposal of the lead link. I would be cautious about going from a project to governance meeting because there maybe some kind of undifferentiated need which needs to be addressed. Perhaps a project is not what is needed but the next action is a governance meeting to address the tension there of a needed accountability and role to resolve that tension. 
I hope this helps I would love to know from a coach if I am on the mark on not. 
Andrea Faré
Daesun posted:


Indeed, every project should be apart of an accountability which a role enacts.

 Hi Anne, Daesun,

Here's my view. (caveat: not a certified Coach here, at least not yet :-)

Role authority is not limited to accountabilities, it includes purpose, projects may be linked directly to the purpose, if one exists,  (even if the accountabilities it implies are not spelling out every possibile bit and nuance of how the purpose may be expressed), in fact as per article 1.1 a role may have a purpose and zero accountabilities, and it would make sense for it to be able to take on projects to serve it.

Article 1.3: "As a Partner assigned to a Role, you have the authority to execute any Next-Actions you reasonably believe are useful for enacting your Role’s Purpose or Accountabilities.", (I was focusing on that OR )

That said, when you act outside your role, and therefore perform  Individual Action, it  doesn't always imply governance consequences, article 4.3 shows examples of situations in which you may perform individual action and nothing needs to be addressed in governance. 

all this to say that the link from tactical to  governance is realized only through tensions (logging a tension to be processed in governance is one of the output of the tactical meeting) , and there is no implicit or necessary correspondence between projects and subsequent governance fixes, nor there is a need to bring to governance any possible instance of a project the assignement of which wasn't clarely addressed in the realm of a role scope as Jeffrey pointed out.

another subtle link exists in the opposite direction, one may take on a project or action during a Governance meeting provided:

a) the project or action is not logged in the output of the meeting (that would break article 3.2.4)

b) the project assignement is somehow immediate and doesn't interrupt the flow of the meeting (hijacking it  into a tactical ;-)  as per article 3.3.7








Anne Billen

Thx, Andrea.

I would like to summarize the input I got from the tree of you  this way :

By default, a project is part of a role - but not necessarily of an accountability.

If in the Tactical a project comes up, and there is not (yet) a role which purpose answers to the outcome of the project, there are two possibilities :

1) It can be taken as a tension to Governance, or

2) It can be accepted by someone as an Individual Action. If at some point an ongoing expectation grows out of the project (which is sometimes, but not always, the case) then is the time to definitely bring it up in Governance and create a role. 

In a volunteer organization 2) can be a pragmatical solution. We will experiment with this approach and I'll evaluate whether or not it works !

Ciao, and may thanks for your input.