We struggled a lot with the strange words and the weird legalese language. We decided to stick with it though because we realised that new concepts need new words. Otherwise we would impede learning. We did this in a way that we could still make fun of it though.
The meeting formats of Holacracy are quite prescriptive. I can see how they work with large groups or when people don’t know each other well. But in our group we had a lot of professional facilitators and we all knew and liked each other so it was just an overhead and made things really weird.
We realised at some point that the meeting formats moved us further away from collaborating. So we decided to run governance meetings the way as prescribed but our tactical meetings were free form. (That’s pretty much the only change we made to Holacracy).
Neither Glassfrog nor Holaspirit worked for us. The tools force you into the rigid meeting format and they are not always useful. We used mindmaps or word documents. Each circle can decide what to use as long as it’s accessible to everyone.
What we got out of it
It was really hard in the first three months but once we got the hang of it we were really happy. Everyone I talk to said that it was worth the effort and they would not want to go back to the old ways. I think overall the company feels lighter and clearer. They make faster and better decisions and have a lot more transparency.
Overall my advice would be to try it and to approach it like we approach Agile adoptions: the rules are necessary scaffolding. It is about the principles.
Categories: Business Agility.