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Working Agreements

Working Agreements

Have you ever worked on a team and wondered who was supposed to be doing what? Or have you ever been on a team and your assumptions were met with a misunderstanding around roles? If your answer is yes, to either question… please keep reading. In this blog post, I will share a bit about Working Agreements. I hope you learn what Working Agreements are, how to create them, and how to keep them updated.

What are Working Agreements?

Working Agreements are the things a team or a group of people agree upon while working together toward a common goal. If you think about this in the context of work you could think of a group of people working on a project together and they want to lay the ground rules of how they will work together. You would see topics such as:

  • How do we communicate?
  • Who does what?
  • How do we test and when?
  • What does DONE mean?

Taking this same concept into a home life example you could see this with your own children while establishing chores. The topics you might discuss could look similar to the below list:

  • How do we communicate when things are done?
  • What does DONE mean?
  • Who does what?
  • How do we celebrate completion?

As you see the questions are similar for both the work and home life example because Working Agreements are useful in both spaces.

How are They Created?

Creating Working Agreements is fairly simply. However, following the below guidelines is high recommended:

  • Ensure everyone required from start to completion of the work is involved
  • Lay ground rules
  • Nothing is committed without full agreement from everyone
    • Yes, even with your kids. This approach ensures autonomy and empowerment.

To create Working Agreements, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Invite everyone required – ensure all can attend
  2. Outline ground rules as a group
    1. Examples: Kind words only, discussion will be focused on fact not feelings, and we will only commit to items where we fully agree.
  3. Discuss the project or common goal the group is working toward
  4. Outline the concepts that need to be agreed upon
    1. Examples: Who does what? How do we communicate when we are done?
  5. Work as a group to define and document each concept

When this is complete, you can go back and update this as many time as needed to ensure the Working Agreement is a living document. You may want to update the Working Agreement if new people join your group, changes in the common goal, or when something isn’t working for someone in the group.

Through this blog, I hope you see the value of Working Agreements and how easy they are to create.

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