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

Reusable roles

Hi ,

we have a couple of rôles  ( consultant, trainer) that are used in multiple circles with the substantially the  same definition.    To avoid replicating the process of adopting role changes in multiple circles, I am creating  "dummy" circle to hold those roles and have the roles in the "active" circles refer to them, with the possibility  for each circle to make their own  amendments if necessary.

Anyone with the same problem and similar or different solutions?



5 Replies

We have a large number of circles and frequently see the repeated role issue, particularly for internally focused team specialists (ERP Expert, Lean Practices Champion, etc.).  It makes our records look a little sloppy, but I think the alternative--a centralized repository--may discourage evolution of the roles within each circle to help the circle pursue its purpose and accountabilities.  Provided that your circles are engaging in regular governance rhythms and your people are actively reflecting on their roles and evolving them through governance, I'd be inclined to let each circle draw up exactly what it needs.


I'd see an exception in the event that there is an organizational need for standardization (i.e. each circle needs to have someone monitoring for unsafe working conditions and we need a standardized definition of what that means).

Jean-Michel Gode

Hi Roberto,

As each circle as to design its own governance step by step, I'd let each circle designing what it needs.

Other perspective: the "dummy circle" is not a real circle based on the work to be done in the organization; it is rather a "ghost circle". So it is strange to have it clearly part of GlassFrog just like another "functional circle" of the organization...

Hope that helps.


Thank you kevin and Jean-Michel,

do you think that a companywide policy stating the general  minimum requirements for the roles that are repeated across several circles would be a more viable solution?



Karilen Mays

Roberto, I think a company wide policy would be fine, if you truly have a tension about needing certain aspects to be included as a standardized practice.

I like minimum or even starting requirements, allowing the sub circles to have plenty of autonomy to restructure as needed.

I would not do this at all unless you truly need roles to be standardized and there would be real issues created if this is not the case...if constraints are created pre-emptively then it can get in the way of the natural bias to action and authority to act that Holacracy supports.

Kræn Hansen

As a consultancy, we have found that our client related work is best captured as a circle per client. Very often we (re)use the same roles across multiple client sub-circles of our Delivery & Customer Care -circle, ex: ScrumMaster, Developer and Customer Caretaker.

We have captured these "role templates" in separate documents on our Google drive and implemented a policy on our Delivery & Customer Care -circle that changes to these templates requires the governance process.

The client sub-circle of the Delivery & Customer Care -circle can choose to create roles based on these role templates, but nothing prevents them from choosing to establish other roles, change their concrete roles or scrap them all together.

This allows for a discussion on what do we generally expect of, let's say, a Developer in a client project, while still retaining the actual authority for defining roles in a client sub-circle - at the sub-circle's governance meetings, where it belongs

I remember Brian Robertson mentioning (on the Scrum Gathering in Prague past November) that role-templates or another solution to this tension is "in the working" for a future revision of the constitution. Mayhaps someone from HolacracyOne can elaborate on this?

Would love to hear how other people are dealing with the tension of wanting to reuse roles while not violating the circles authority to define their own and make changes to these reusable roles.

- Kræn