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Congrats on the book. Have you ever explored alternative forms of management and organizational forms? Stuff like Sociocracy, Teal (from Reinventing Organizations) or management as envisioned by Deming. I wonder whether the engineering manager role as usually interpreted isn't really an anti-pattern, I mean we're basically applying Taylorism to knowledge work.





Thank you! I haven't gone into detail about these in the book. This is very much the standard Engineering Manager route that people would find in most places in industry right now.

However - if you don't mind - I would love to use those as examples in the final chapters where I mention the opportunities offered by moving into start-ups, and also where our managers will be given more autonomy to set the culture of a wider organization (of which that culture could involve much looser management structures).

Great pointers, thank you.


Cool! I actually work at a company that adopted Holacracy roughly 3 years ago. In many ways it's probably much less loose and more formal than most people think (I mean there is a written constitution written in Legalese).

There are still roles that resemble the classical management role, i.e. there is a role that is responsible for setting strategies and assigning people into roles and monitoring role fit within their 'circle' (think team or business unit), called the circle's lead link. Yet there is a process for any role holder to propose putting those accountabilities into a new role or into a process. Role holders can also propose the creation of new roles or policies if they feel a tension. Then there is a structured process to deal with these proposals, and people need to demonstrate that the proposal would cause harm and reduce the capacity for the circle to achieve its purpose in order to have a valid objection. People in roles ultimately have ultimate autonomy on how they want to achieve their role's purpose. The lead link role can give relative prioritization if there are conflicts, but the lead link can't say 'you have to work on this right now and this is how you gonna do it'.

What ultimately happens is that the traditional accountabilities of a manger end up being distributed across multiple roles, so people might have software developer role, but might also be responsible for defining the hiring standards, or do people development etc.

It's kinda similar to the book "Turn the Ship around" where you don't have to ask for permission to do something and there is a process to address any tensions that arise from this power to act autonomously.


This is fascinating, thanks! Turn The Ship Around is on my reading list.



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