Initiative Circles

An Initiative Circle deals with topics and initiatives that are mostly cross-team and may overlap with the Workstreams, such as documentation standards, specific technologies, handling a pandemic, organizational development, etc.

Initiative Circles are usually made up of volunteer members and can, but don’t have to have a fixed leadership. Anyone at amazee.io can start an Initiative Circle and start finding members, sometimes Leads or the Management create Initiative Circle to handle a specific, important topic.

Unlike with Delegate Circles, not every workstream has to send a delegate to each Initiative Circle. When Initiative Circle need governance decisions that affect others who aren’t represented in the circle, they have to involve everyone affect anyway, usually via the Delegate Circle or Special Circles.

The list of the current Initiative Circle is in the wiki, where they have their own space. They have their own task lists and meeting schedule and notes, etc. Feel free to join one or more of them if you feel like you could contribute to the discussions.

Structure

An Initiative Circle

  • consists of a bunch of amazee.io employees from different workstreams who are interested in a topic and want to take care of it.

  • meets regularly or on demand to talk about the topics in question.

  • is long-living (that means Initiative Circles aren’t suitable for short-lived topics like a couple of weeks), but can have a defined end goal where the Initiative Circle is abandoned.

  • is self-organized.

Constraints

An Initiative Circles

  • includes any affected amazee.io employees in decisions (either direct or via Delegate Circles).

  • has and maintains a transparent task backlog, usually Jira tasks, task lists in wiki or similar.

  • has and maintains meeting minutes

Decision making & Proposal Management

If an Initiative Circle would like to take a decision for a proposal that effects the behavior, processes or anything else at amazee.io there are multiple paths for this to happen:

If the proposal only affects a single workstream:

  • the Initiative Circle meets with the Lead of the workstream and present the proposal, then the consent decision making process is applied:

    • If the workstream Lead has no objections with the proposal, the proposal is adopted and is documented in the Handbook of the specific workstream.

    • If the workstream Lead has objections, these objections are resolved, see Resolve Objections.

    • The workstream Lead has the possibility to decide if they want to consult with all members of the Workstream if there are any team objections before an proposal is adopted.

If the proposal affects a two or more workstreams or the whole company:

  • the Initiative Circle presents the proposal to the correct Delegate Circle that is responsible for the domain of the proposal with a clear proposal outlining the change, the affected processes and affected workstreams:

    • The Delegate Circle discuss the proposal in their meeting, it's suggested that at least one member of the Initiative Circle is present during Delegate Circle meeting. The Delegate Circles uses Consent Decision Making:

    • If there are no objections against the proposal the proposal is adopted and documented in the handbook and communicated to the whole company in the next staff meeting.

    • If there are objections against the proposal, the objections are discussed and a new proposal is formed, which is either discussed directly or in a later Delegate Circle

    • If the Leads are unsure, they can decide to consult with specific employees or the whole company if there are any objections.

If the proposal involves additional costs and cannot be covered by existing allocated budgets:

  • If the proposal occurs additional costs and cannot be covered by existing allocated budgets, the proposal needs first to be presented and approved by the Management Special Circle.

  • After budget approval by the Management, the process follows the above described decision making process via the Delegate Circle.

How to create an Initiative Circle

Strictly speaking, as soon as two or more people agree to tackle a long-term internal issue or topic within amazee.io, an Initiative Circles is born. The checklist below provides some guidelines on how to bring it to reality.

  1. Create a wiki page under the main Initiative Circle parent in the wiki

  2. Create a channel in slack with #aio-ic-<initiative circle name>

  3. Announce the existence of the new Initiative Circle in the #amazeeio-announcement and in the next staff meeting.

  4. During the first meetings of the Initiative Circle: Clearly define the mission of the Initiative Circle and write it down on the wiki page.

How to Abandon an Initiative Circle

When there is no more interest in an Initiative Circle, or its purpose has been fulfilled, we can abandon it following these steps.

  1. Announce the situation to the people that could be affect in the chat. If there are no objections:

    1. Archive the corresponding wiki space.

    2. Document the reason for the abandonment on the wiki.

    3. Archive the Initiative Circle from the Jira, for example tasks, etc.

    4. Archive the related slack-channel