Right after my presentation on patterns for self-organizing teams at the tools4agileTeams conference I had a very engaging conversation with Martin Röll (of Structure and Process) , where we we tried to dig a bit deeper into the differences between Sociocracy 3.0 and Holacracy.

Here’s my perspective:

Both Holacracy and Sociocracy 3.0 are descendants of Gerard Endenburg’s sociocracy, but they’re not really interchangeable, because they originate from different paradigms[^views on the world], and from a different intention.

Holacracy creates a system based on a constitution and a body of rules, to make it easy for people to be efficient within that system. The emphasis is on structure and autonomy, alignment is towards purpose. The metaphors used are mostly technical/mechanical.

With Sociocracy 3.0 we focus on evolving a culture of effective collaboration aligned towards shared values and shared motivation1. The metaphors we use to teach come from organic and human systems, because ultimately, that’s what organizations are. Supporting each other in creating and living a strong culture significantly reduces our dependency on structure and rules[^although we cannot do without], and helps each other develop both personal integrity and autonomy.

It’s your challenge to figure out which paradigm will best support you in your context. Make sure you pick the one which resonates with you more.

  1. what we call a “driver”: a specific situation (or context) and the needs we associate with it