Abstract/Description

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.

Additional Resources

About the Speaker(s)

John Buck is the coauthor of We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy, a book about sociocracy as a design system for agile organizing and running of organizations. He heads the English language division of The Sociocracy Group, http://sociocracyconsulting.com, an international consulting organization headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands. He has led dozens of sociocracy implementation projects for a variety of organizations. He believes that such basic values as equality, liberty, and transparency and design methods such as agile can make our work places dramatically more sustainable, elegant, and profitable.

Jutta works as an independent coach, consultant, trainer, author, and speaker (https://www.jeckstein.com/). She has helped many teams and organizations worldwide to make an agile transition. She has a unique experience in applying agile processes within medium-sized to large distributed mission-critical environments. She has published her experience in many books: - Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space & Sociocracy (with John Buck), see https://www.agilebossanova.com/ - Diving for Hidden Treasures: Uncovering the Cost of Delay in your Project Portfolio’ (with Johanna Rothman) - Agile Software Development in the Large’ - Agile Software Development with Distributed Teams’ - Retrospectives for Organizational Change She is a member of the Agile Alliance (having served the board of directors from 2003-2007) and a member of the program committee of many different American, Asian, and European conferences, where she has also presented her work. Jutta holds a M.A. in Business Coaching & Change Management, a Dipl.Eng. in Product-Engineering, and a B.A. in Education.