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

Roles and Partners

Very new to Holacracy but quickly getting up to speed on the principles.

One question (for now !) .. in our existing hierarchal structure, we have 6 Software Developers in one Dept., all with the same skill sets who are assigned work on the same or separate development projects.

I appreciate that one Partner can be assigned multiple roles, however, am I correct in thinking that one Role cannot have multiple Partners ? If so, how do I structure the above scenario .. do I create 6 individual Roles all with the same Purpose and Accountabilities ?

Thank you in advance.

5 Replies

Hello Gary,


If people are doing the same activity, and so it is the same role, they can be affect in the same role. But there is the need to add focus to people, a different space time or physic zone, in order to put clarity. For example, a role, Account Manager, there is 3 people in it, they are doing the same role, but on different customers, so one would be with the focus of “Starwood”, another one for “Apple”, and another one for “Google and Amazon”. They are doing the same things, but in different space time, and so who have the authority is perfectly clear.

So in your case, the focus might be, Paul is affected in this role, but with the focus of this development project, and Pierre is affected in the same role, but with the focus of another development project.

There is also other possibilities, you can make a planning, with all the development project to do, and set a policy stating that anyone can, when finishing a development project, go to the planning, and take a new one, and so got the authority on that development project he/she choose. Giving you an example, in iGi Partners, we have a Video Editing role, we have many videos that need editing and we are two in the role. What we set, is a bunch of videos list that need to be edit, I personally select one, which make a project for me, and when I finish it, go back to the list of all the videos that needs to be edit, and pick another one. But it is clear who have the authority, what is my “territory”.

Have a nice day,

Gary White

Thank you .. so if I understand this correctly, you can have more than one Partner assigned to a single Role however each Partner's "focus" for that Role will be different.



Yes, in order to have no confusion.

Tyler Danke

2.4.2 Assigning Roles to Multiple People

A Lead Link may assign multiple people to the same Defined Role, as long as that won’t decrease the clarity of who should enact the Accountabilities and authorities of the Role in common situations.

As one way of maintaining that clarity, a Lead Link may specify a “Focus” along with each assignment, which is an area or context for that person to focus within while executing in the Role.

When a Role assignment includes a Focus, the Purpose, Accountabilities, and Domains defined for the Role apply just within the specified Focus for that particular person.


Tyler Danke

Having a focus is only one way of creating clarity. In our company role Customer Service Representative is filled by many without a specific focus and it is very clear who should enact the authority and accountabilities of the role because the CSR that accepts the message from the customer is the one who needs to resolve the issue of that customer.