Holacracy At Dev Bootcamp: First Year of Adoption

I had a wonderful discussion with Jon Stowe, the President of Dev Bootcamp and a visionary with key insights into the workings of the tech industry.

We spoke about the first year of implementing Holacracy and the successes that Dev Bootcamp has achieved. (You can listen to our 62 minute chat here, or continue to read for the highlights.)

Dev Bootcamp is a tech company. They pioneered the short-term immersive “developer bootcamp,” a model that transforms beginners into full-stack web developers. Throughout, they integrate team skills like communication, empathy and effective feedback that’s driven by their unique culture and has spawned a set of values that drives everything they do.

As we began our discussion, Jon spoke about the benefits that Holacracy was bringing to Dev Bootcamp, specifically:

• a meeting structure that allows for all voices to be heard
• bringing transparency to organizational relationships and accountabilities
• weeding through bureaucracy or politics so you can get things done
• how Holacracy is not flat: it empowers people who are doing the work while still allowing for control and dynamic steering when and as needed
agility and flexibility
• its positive impact on diversity, HR, and hiring sub-contractors

He then shared how he needed to shift his perspective as the implementation began. As a senior manager and coming from a C-level position in another company, he described “having to put away a bunch of management tools” that he thought were really important.

According to Jon, “There was a real moment of reality where I realized that this is going to require, in many ways, a beginner’s mindset…and an openness to rethinking how things had happened in the past.”

Jon also shared how Holacracy supports what make him happy as a leader in an organization. First he talked about “the people…the amazing people that are here, that are so talented, and bring so much of themselves.”

“It’s this idea that when we come to work…we only show about ten percent of who we really are. And at the Bootcamp we work to expose more of that, to bring more of our full selves to work every day. And to be trusting of each other…and in so doing to create richer and more meaningful relationships and to get more out of the work we do.”

“I love that about Holacracy, it gives people an ability to experience the organization in different ways at different times and bring their full selves. Because let’s face it—people love to do all kinds of things in a company.”

Jon also talked about dynamic steering and how it’s given Dev Bootcamp the ability to figure out where tensions exist within an organization, while being more responsive to the needs of the market. With dynamic steering, things can happen much faster than in a traditional structure.

This is critical for fast moving, agile tech companies because it offers, according to Jon, the “ability for everybody to have eyes and ears about what’s happening to the company and to the market in real time…and to be able to address them in a structure unlike anything I’ve participated in. It’s really quite amazing.”

“If you go down this path, it’s like a decision to engage reality in a new way. It’s sort of like swallowing the red pill and it’s a really important first step. So go for it.”

• • •

If what you’ve just read about Jon and Dev Bootcamp resonates with you, then I invite you to roll up your sleeves and give Holacracy a try at one of our Taster Days. As you know, the best way to understand if something is right for you, is to try it out.

The next one is in San Francisco on June 24th. Click here for information.