Getting teams done, holacracy

Although the topic is highly relevant, this is not one of my best essays. Hope you can get some useful information out of it.





Diederick Janse (1981) is holacracy coach and co-founder of Realize, a consultancy firm.

Marco Bogers (1966) is founder of Work in Flow and helps teams and individuals to become more productive.



At Team Academy Netherlands we decided to implement holacracy. We know Diederick Janse rather well. When his book came out in December 2013, we decided to use this to improve the implementation process.


Holacracy is based on the ideas of Getting Things Done, Lean and agile thinking. It is a way to improve effectiveness of teams.

Transparency, distributed leadership and flexibility are key.


The fundament of holacracy and the decision making within teams connected to it is dealing with tensions. Tension is regarded as a invitation  to change and improve. Meetings are mostly used to reduce tensions. To learn to recognise and name tensions is the starting point for working with the holacracy principles.

Holacracy is about ‘good enough decisions’, not perfection. Goal is to keep the process going and to deal with issues one at a time.

Goals, Roles, tasks, responsibilities, people, distributed leadership

There is a discrepancy between roles and people. In Holacracy it is all about roles.

It starts with defining the goal. With the goal in mind tasks are defined. What needs to be done to reach the goal? These tasks are grouped and the each group of tasks, becomes a role. The roles are allocated to people. These people form a circle and have leadership over their own roles. That means leadership is distributed and not centred with one person. However there is one role, the lead link, who is responsible for allocating roles to people. Roles can be changed at any time, in holcracy nothing is fixed.

Actions belong to projects and projects belong to roles.


Holacracy asks for individual change in working styles and team working styles. ‘Getting things done’ deals with improving individual performance, holacracy with team performance.


There are 3 types of meetings:

–        roles meeting

–        work meetings

–        daily scrums


All meetings need a facilitator who steers the team. That person can be anyone in the team.

The meetings are steered on tension, a indication of required change. Those issues with most tension are addressed during meetings. Not necessarily be resolved but the next required action must be defined.


The Roles meeting deals with defining roles and allocating roles to people. The agenda is straightforward, as follows:

–        Check

–        Building the agenda (with tensions as a guideline)

–        Following agenda

–        Check out


This meeting should be held once a month with the following procedure:  Issue, clarifying questions (not opinions!), proposal for improvements, reactions, objections/reasons why this proposal will not work, Integration.


An objection can be stated only if:

–        it is a reason why the proposal will not work

–        it is a direct result of the proposal

–        it is based on actual knowledge



Structure of the work meetings are:

–        Check in

–        Recurring tasks

–        Indicators

–        Projects

–        Building the agenda

–        Following agenda

–        Check out


Structure of the scrums:

–        check in

–        updates

  • What did I do yesterday
  • What will I do tody
  • What do I need


Project overview – visualisation

Important is to visualise the status of what projects are going on. Per person each project gets a status:

–        Running

–        Waiting for

–        Ready

–        Future


Fixed roles:

–        Facilitator

–        Secrtary

–        Lead Link


More on Holacracy:




I belief holacracy fits so well with Lean Startup and the Start up owners manual that I belief we should implement it as our standard way of working at Team Academy Netherlands. As my roles the one responsible for marketing and sales, I will be implementing it for our sales process. My first action:

Holacracy in sales

Dear Cleo,

Ingrid introduced Holacracy in the management team of Team Academy. Holacracy is a comprehensive practice for structuring, governing, and running an organization. It replaces today’s top-down predict-and-control paradigm with a new way of achieving control by distributing power. It is a new “operating system” that instills rapid evolution in the core processes of an organization. Also Ingrid shared a book with us, called getting teams done by Diederick Janse and Marco Bogers. It explains it all in a very simple way. We recently  implemented it. The next step is to implement holacracy in other parts of Team Academy

I am enthusiastic about it because leadership is distributed (every role is responsible for its own projects and tasks), it is flexible and effective. Also it will help us deal with issues you have raised concerns about. What do we want more? Are you familiar with it? If not, I like to forward the book to you (which I borrowed from Ingrid). If you are lets talk about it briefly as I feel we can implement it quite easily.

Are you open for that? If this mail is too brief, please give me a call when you can. I am working tomorrow and Friday.








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