We follow the principles of Holacracy. It is a method of decentralized management and organizational governance, which claims to distribute authority and decision-making through a holarchy of self-organizing teams rather than being vested in a management hierarchy.
Airnity employees fulfill one or multiple Roles which have a Purpose, several Accountabilities and are part of Circles.
As a picture is worth a 1000 words, here's a glimpse of our organization.
Holacracy comes with many notions to structure your organization, formalize improvements, argue around them, and take decisions:
Structure: Circle, Role, Purpose, Accountabilities
Improve: Tension, Proposal, Concern, Policy
It also defines 2 kinds of meetings corresponding to 2 key moments in the life of a Circle:
Tactical meetings – operate
Governance meetings – organize
⇢ e.g. « Engineering – enabling cars connectivity through technology focusing on versatility, ease-of-use and cost-effectiveness»
A group of roles that all contribute to the same purpose. A circle has the same elements of a role (purpose, domains, and/or accountabilities) and is treated like a role with the additional authority to break itself down into smaller roles.
⇢ e.g. « K8S Developer – Kubernetes customized to Airnity's needs»
The distinct functional units of the circle to help fulfill its purpose or accountabilities. Within a circle, anyone willing to fill a Role can be assigned to it.
⇢ e.g. « Conventional Commit usage is not clear »
A person’s felt sense that there is a gap between current reality and a potential future. Not necessarily in a negative way. Uniquely felt by each person based on their own experience – though, two people may feel their own version of the same tension.
Tensions are the building blocks of Holacracy practice and ensure that the governance and operations of the organization are driven by real experience rather than theory (i.e. keeping things “tension-driven”).
⇢ e.g. « Follow "Conventional Commit" guidelines for all Airnity Git repositories
A recommended change to the circle’s governance records presented to the circle through the circle’s governance process. A proposal is based on the proposer’s felt tension and may involve as many changes as necessary to resolve that tension.
⇢ e.g. « Why can't we use the Scope for the ticket ID? »
You can voice your potential objections or questions by adding a Concern to a proposal. This is the only way to make sure your concern is taken into account. Holacracy is about "Safe enough to try", not about "Good enough to try". Without a valid objection, a Proposal is always accepted.
⇢ e.g « Conventional Commit guidelines for all Airnity Git repositories »
A rule that grants or constrains authority – such as allowing or limiting others from impacting a domain.
Tactical meetings are focused on the team’s operational work. Their purpose is to triage issues that have come up recently and remove obstacles so that the work can move forward. They occur at a regular rhythm based on the needs of the circle (typically weekly) and are scheduled by the circle’s Secretary.
Tactical meetings follow a structured process – more on that later – and are held by the circle’s Facilitator.
What you talk about
Tactical meetings can be used to address any operational needs:
requesting projects and actions from other roles
They’re focused on removing any immediate barriers to get work done effectively and efficiently. All circle members are invited to attend tactical meetings and anyone can bring agenda items. Since the goal is triaging to remove blocks, the Facilitator manages the time and works to cover each agenda item.
An amazing amount of productive conversation and work can happen during tactical meetings!
How you talk about it
Check-in – Go around the "table" to get the mood of the participants. Goal is to warn others that you're having a bad day and may be a bit 😬😠
Checklist Review – Checklists are used to have visibility over whether recurring actions are being done. e.g. Monthly AWS keys rotation
Metrics Review – Metrics are used to monitor the health of the Circle – e.g. Projects cycle time (days) / Projects lead time (days)
Project Updates – Quick Projects backlog review to share what’s changed since the last meeting. Clarifying questions are allowed, but no discussion.
Triage Issues – main part of the meeting where participants triage their operational tensions
Build the Agenda – review the agenda items list prepared in advance to identify those to address. It's also time to add new ones that surfaced during the meeting.
Process Agenda Items – Could be a demo, sharing information with the team, request for help/action, …
Closing round – opportunity to share a last comment. Just👋most of the time
The formal outputs of tactical meetings are accepted projects and actions. The Secretary works with the Facilitator to capture this information (and nothing else!) as requests are made and circle members agree to take on projects and actions.
Projects: Specific outcomes that require multiple and/or sequential actions to complete. Projects are phrased in the past tense as in, “Budget report completed.”
Actions: A concrete step that could be taken immediately towards the completion of a project.
Not a Barrier
Anything that can be done in a tactical meeting can also be done outside of it. Tactical meetings are a convenient opportunity for all circle members to come together to sync up on operational work. But waiting for a tactical meeting should never become a barrier to moving operational work forward.
Governance meetings are one of the two meeting processes prescribed by the Holacracy Constitution v5.0. Every circle runs its own governance meetings. The focus of this meeting is to modify the structure of the circle.
In a Governance meeting you can:
Create, remove, or modify the roles of the circle
Create, remove, or modify the policies of the circle
Elect people to the elected core roles of the circle (Facilitator, Secretary, and Circle Rep)