schedule Mar 8th 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM place Mysore Hall 3 people 21 Attending

Many agile teams suffer from the mismatch of agile and organizational leadership, with the latter being reflected by the organizational hierarchy. Based on self-organization and iterative processes, the agile teams run into trouble with the top-down steering of their environment. Consequently, agile proponents very often believe that a supportive agile organization should be structured without hierarchies, the so called “no managers” approach of “reinvented organizations.” Several companies in the agile field are experimenting with different organizational approaches that don’t use hierarchies. Yet, “no hierarchy” or “no managers” is not an option for many organizations.

In this session we suggest using sociocracy as a solution that leaves the hierarchies in place in an agile way - an option the organization is free to choose. Sociocracy shows how hierarchies can actually be agile and can strongly support (rather than opposing) agile philosophy. It enables managers to become agile leaders. As a participant you will learn how the principles of shared decision making and double-linking are key to enabling self-organization. These principles convert hierarchies from linear to circular so that they support an agile mindset.

Sociocracy is a way for groups and organizations to self-organize. Based on four principles (self-organizing teams, shared decision making based on consent, double-linking, and electing people by consent to functions and tasks), sociocracy provides a path for existing organizations to have empowerment and self-responsibility on all levels. Different than comparable methods, sociocracy allows companies to start where they are – with their existing organizational structures and the like. It seems to be a perfect fit for organizations that need to be truly agile (due to market pressure) beyond their IT departments and software teams.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  1. Setting the stage by clarifying the goal of the session (5 min)
  2. Leadership, Management, and Hierarchies (15min).
  3. Shared decision making - experiential exercise(15min).
  4. Double-linking - experiential exercise (15 min).
  5. Self-organization in hierarchies (15min).
  6. Responsibilities of agile roles in a sociocratic setting - experiential exercise (20min)
  7. Debrief and Wrap-Up (5min)

Learning Outcome

  • Understand how the "sandwich position" of middle managers can be resolved.
  • Learn how scrum masters (and/or other team members) can be empowered for organizational agile adoption.
  • Experience a sociocratic election.
  • Understand experientially the sociocratic principles of shared decision making and double linking and how they can help you be an agile manager.

Target Audience

The session is addressed to everyone in leadership positions: Top Management, Middle Management, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, (Project) Managers, Junior Executives, and Advisors (Coaches, Consultants, and Change Agents)

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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  • Sakti Bagchi
    By Sakti Bagchi  ~  10 months ago
    reply Reply

    Interesting topic. Looking forward to this session. I was advocating about true servant leaders but your approach is holistic in nature.

  • Rahul Ganjoo
    By Rahul Ganjoo  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Interesting topic - I'd echo Deepti's feedback in terms of getting some real world examples of where this has benefited orgs of reasonable size that started with traditional hierarchies. 

    • Jutta Eckstein
      By Jutta Eckstein  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Thank you Rahul,

      I understand your request. However I can't promise how much time well have in order to cover case studies. Particularly because we would really like the participants to experience Sociocracy and help them to understand how they can apply it in their organization. Presenting case stuies would be a different session (and it would be a talk and not a workshop).

      I hope this helps,

      Jutta

      • Rahul Ganjoo
        By Rahul Ganjoo  ~  1 year ago
        reply Reply

        OK, Out of curiosity - do real world examples of this being used in orgs exist?

        • Jutta Eckstein
          By Jutta Eckstein  ~  1 year ago
          reply Reply

          Yes Rahul,

          there are companies who have implemented sociocracy. (Yet again, we haven't thought of this session as a report from case studies but rather for participants to learn how they can use it.)

          Thanks!

          Jutta

  • Deepti Jain
    By Deepti Jain  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Jutta and John,

    This is a very beautiful talk and I am sure first of it's kind here. I am excited to experience it.
    Some time back I heard and read a lot about Tony Hsieh and Holacracy and the Zappos transformation, and Sociocracy feels so much like Holacracy. Are they related? If not, then how are they different? Also, are there organizations who are already doing Sociocracy? Thanks!

    • Jutta Eckstein
      By Jutta Eckstein  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Thank you Deepti.

      Yes, Sociocracy is the main root of Holacracy. Holacracy has tweaked Sociocracy and added stuff to it. Therefore, yes there is a connection, but there is also a difference (and in my biased opinion Sociocracy is much simpler and easier to implement than Holacracy). And yes, there are companies doing Sociocracy. Our goal with the workshop is that participants understand what Sociocracy is and that they get an idea how to implement it in their company. So we're not expecting to turn a company around in one step, but rather want to offer stuff that helps everyone to make their organization more agile.

      Thanks again,

      Jutta

      • Deepti Jain
        By Deepti Jain  ~  1 year ago
        reply Reply

        Thanks Jutta, this is helpful. And yes the Holacracy Constitution book is like "God please kill me before I have to go through all this". So does Sociocracy saves us from that pain. I understand that we will have to have certain amount of working agreements / rules / guidelines but not an entire constitution.

        In your workshop, will you have some time to talk about how Sociocracy is different from Holacracy? I know it might not be important for everyone in the audience, I am just asking out of my interest.

        Thanks,
        Deepti

        • Jutta Eckstein
          By Jutta Eckstein  ~  1 year ago
          reply Reply

          Thanks, Deepti.

          Actually I would like to handle this on a case basis. this is if somebody is asking for it or if we see it generally fits (and time permits9, we'll talk about it.

          Jutta

          • Deepti Jain
            By Deepti Jain  ~  1 year ago
            reply Reply

            Got it , will come with my questions :)

            Thanks,

            Deepti


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