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

Request to Test Proposal in Governance

I know it's allowed, there's a whole section 3.2.3 about what proposal testing means and that Facilitator MAY test, but I do not see language verifying circle member's right to request proposal testing, and/or at what stage of Governance. 

I can hear Brian 'at any time' from coach training, but my crew has shown a strong focus in asking for where it says in the constitution that something is allowed/disallowed.

For example, 3.2.6 states that Facilitator must test Objection upon request by circle member, but does not indicate appropriateness of requesting the testing of proposal.

Proof, please! Thanks

6 Replies

Hi Keith,


Anyone can object “Invalid proposal” per 3.2.4 (e)* and then, in integration, the Facilitator will have to verify the validity of the proposal by asking them questions like: which of your role is limited by this tension? can you give a concrete situation? per 3.2.6 (c)**.

So my take on it: anyone can test the proposal during integration and if the facilitator sees it doesn't meet the criterias, he has to abandon it.


*3.2.4 (e)

However, regardless of the above criteria, a Tension about adopting a Proposal always counts as an Objection if:

  • (e) Processing or adopting the Proposal breaks the rules defined in this Constitution, or prompts the Circle or its members to act outside of the authority granted under this Constitution. For example, Next-Actions, Projects, and specific operational decisions are typically not valid Governance outputs per the terms of Section 3.1, so anyone involved could raise an Objection that a Proposal to enact these outputs would violate the rules of the Constitution.


**3.2.6 (c)

  • (c) Any Core Circle Member may ask the Proposer clarifying questions about the Tension behind the Proposal, or about any examples the Proposer shared to illustrate the Tension. If the Facilitator concludes that the Proposer is not making a good faith effort to answer those questions at any point, then the Facilitator must deem the Proposal invalid for processing and abandoned.

So from my interpretation, I don't agree with the “at any time” that seems to come from Brian...

Bernard Marie Chiquet

According to section 3.2.3 "Testing Proposals", the Facilitator may test the validity of a Proposal by asking the Proposer questions, and you're right; the way/when to do so is not explicit into the constitution. So as a Facilitator you may test whenever you want the proposal. In my practice, I test the Proposal during the "Clarification Questions" which does not break the process.

Brian Robertson

My interpretation is aligned with Margaux's - I wouldn't say you can test proposals "at any time".  Like Bernard Marie, I think Clarifying Questions is ideal for anyone who wants to ask questions to test a proposal, since you can ask questions there anyway.  Integration works too.

Keith Jarvis

Hmm okay. Thanks for the input, folks. 

Asking testing-proposal style clarifying questions seems like converying information, ie "I think your proposal is invalid".

If I was @Facilitator I'd have the right to do so 'at any time' but I do not see how I can request that the @Facilitator do so.

Waiting for objection/integration seems like a waste of group time to have gotten that far before the proposal is tested.

Brian Robertson

Hey Keith - You're right, you definitely wouldn't want to try asking the Facilitator to test during Clarifying Questions.  Instead, you would just ask the test questions yourself, as your own clarifying questions.  If the answers prove the proposal isn't valid, the Facilitator has a duty to step in at that point and discard the proposal.