Individual/collective accountability / agreements for team members

So here’s my attempt to put this into a driver statement: Please give feedback or make improvements/suggestions! Good practice for sociocracy 3.0 usage, even if you want to only make slight modifications :slight_smile:

[current situation]: Communication and momentum is currently inconsistent and unpredictable
[effect]: Lack of motivation and relative stagnation of development
[needs]: We need clearer commitments/agreements from everyone on the team so there is more accountability for work that needs to be done (especially blocking tasks)
[impact]: Better motivation and accountability individually and collectively which should lead to greater productivity overall

For reference, a basic version of such an agreement would be attending meetings or expressing condolences when absent, etc.

I know I personally haven’t been as accountable as I could be in meeting attendance, involvement, etc., and I want to do better in this regard! - hopefully something like this will help the project push forward which I know is a goal we all share. Let me know what ya’ll think @team

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Related issue in GitLab:

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I think we also need to acknowledge that a most blocking tasks seem to be related to a role that isn’t filled. Otherwise I agree with the notion and feel guilty of not serving as a good example in that regard lately :confused:


Yes indeed. Part of this is about clearer expectations among the existing team. But the main goal is to have clear expectations as we do outreach to recruit people for the unfilled roles.

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Driver statement updates from me, longer but more complete:

[current situation]: Team communication and momentum is inconsistent and unpredictable. Some team members seem inactive. We don’t have clarity about what commitments and agreements are expected of either continuing team members or potential new volunteers.
[effect]: We’re not reaching our potential, and it’s not clear who is going to do what to get back to better forward momentum.
[needs]: We need clearer expectations and accountability from everyone. Better to have clear but reduced commitment from someone than to have expectations that are repeatedly not met.
[impact]: Clearer and realistic written commitments, agreements, and expectations will increase everyone’s motivation and will enhance trust and mutual support.

I’m not thrilled with the extra wordiness, but I wanted to get across some other language about the significance here.

I’d like to settle on some good enough wording soon so that we can then refer to the statement as we flesh out the relevant agreement documents.

Note that this should probably be modeled on our Code of Conduct. I.e. that is formed as a pledge of “I will” statements about respectful engagement. We could do similar for stating team commitments. Perhaps even some flexibility where people can check which commitments they feel they can make and stick to, which may vary.

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Sounds like you want something like the following:

  • If I agreed to do something, I will do it. If I still break an agreement, I will a) clean up disturbances, b) follow up as soon as possible with those affected and c) change the agreement instead of repeatedly breaking it.

  • I will respond to all snowdrift-related messages within 48 hours. (Responses are allowed to be “sorry, have no time for this currently” or similar, but I will make sure to respond at all.)

  • I will participate in the weekly meetings. I will be on time and will stay at least until the formal end of the meeting.

I think it should be fine to do everything else on a case-by-case basis via the respective role descriptions, WDYT?

IMHO it would make sense to have defined membership of the weekly meeting (non-members would still be invited to come, but they might not have consent rights depending on how the actual meeting members decide to handle that), and I think the above could be small/easy-to-keep enough to be a condition for membership. If so, a “meeting member” role could be a good place to document this.


@photm seems like a pretty reasonable draft. The 48 hours seems tight at first glance but if you at least say “can’t address this immediately” or something I think it is a logical timeline.

I do think there’s consensus that we don’t expect people to participate in every meeting, but to at least send regards/notification when absence is expected.

I think this is a great working draft, thanks!

It’s one part of a larger commitment, but it addresses the issues here.

The one detail: on meetings, my feeling is to emphasize the importance and value, run excellent meetings… but not put participation in every meeting as part of the commitment. I’ll accept someone formally on the team who commits to making meetings a reasonable priority and to communicate clearly about expectations.

Acceptable (IMO) meeting commitments include:

  • “I just can’t make the current time given my current schedule, but I’ll keep it in mind if my schedule changes or the Snowdrift meeting time changes”
  • “I can’t make the meetings reliably, but I will attend when I can and send my regrets (in advance whenever feasible) when I can’t”

as long as those go along with saying, “I will review meeting minutes when posted and proactively follow up on anything I see relevant to my roles” or similar

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5 posts were split to a new topic: Consent processes for meetings vs forum or other asynchronous

Adopted from @photm’s suggested agreement

This is still a draft, but I’ve organized it in a way that it seems more appropriate to me: there’s only 2 agreements as a team member (with no explicit consequences at this point - and I hope we never need to have any!), but the implied ‘what does it mean to agree to something’ is clearly stated: this is referencing the principle of accountability from Sociocracy here. @salt I’m particularly curious if you think this is reasonable based on what we discussed

I agree to:

  • participate in as much of the weekly meeting as I can; If I am unable to attend, I will give notice of my absence in advance (by the meeting’s start time) and relay any pertinent information to the agenda (either through another team member or by adding items to the agenda)

  • respond to all snowdrift-related messages within 48 hours: Even if you don’t have time to respond with a complete answer, something similar to “sorry, I have no time for this currently” will suffice.

For any agreements I make related to (including the ones above), I will follow up and be accountable for the actions I agreed to. If I break an agreement, I will:

  1. Clean up disturbances caused
  2. Follow up as soon as possible with those affected
  3. Change the agreement instead of repeatedly breaking it

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Looks good!

A couple of grammar items: 1) the “or by the…” probably doesn’t need the “or”, 2) close the parenthesis on the first agreement, 3) the second agreement doesn’t necessarily need the parenthesis, 4) the sentence starting with “For these agreements…” is currently in a couple of voices.

Otherwise it looks good and seems short/simple enough to address my concern.

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Thanks for the feedback and I’m glad you think so! I updated it and yeah, that last bit was awkward thanks for pointing that out

A note about agreements: the conscious leadership group, which @wolftune has posted some good stuff about, has some great notes about agreements - differentiated from commitments, by the way.

Just wanted to share some select points (the ones in bold):

  • Make clear agreements ( who will do what by when ) that you have a whole body yes to.
  • Record your agreements (use a tool like asana).
  • Keep 90% of your agreements. Most individuals and teams keep less than 50%.
  • Renegotiate your agreements with the affected parties as soon as you know that you might not keep the agreement.
  • If you break an agreement, clean it up and restore any broken trust.

Asana is not open source so we can ignore that part but hopefully the rest is useful: Very good practices in general, I’d say. Here’s the whole post:

This sounds as if you should always immediately modify an agreement if you break it once. Is this intended? The S3 pattern breaking agreements says “3. change the agreement instead of repeatedly breaking it”.

Poignant observation photm. I don’t think it’s the clearest language sociocracy uses on that one so I was attempting to clarify and wanted to integrate this point into it

But failed. I reverted the last line of the agreement back to the original @salt I’m confident that won’t be a game changer for you

This is one other point I meant to bring up, @wolftune has mentioned, and I agree, that having time isn’t really the proper word. I can’t make a priority right now is what is intended.

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