# Resources for decentralised organising
🐒 Hi I'm [Richard D. Bartlett](http://richdecibels.com)! I'm writing [a book about decentralised organising](https://leanpub.com/patterns-for-decentralised-organising/), finding lessons across diverse contexts, from social movements to formal workplaces.
I recently [asked on Twitter](https://twitter.com/RichDecibels/status/1075525912475590656) and on [a mailing list](http://fairsay.com/networks/ecampaigning-forum) for examples of decentralised organisations that have a public, transparent, well-documented handbook that explains how they work (e.g. decision making, roles, communications tools, etc). The response was overwhelming so I've digested it into this page.
**If you have more to add,** please [edit this page](https://hackmd.io/s/Skh_dXNbE/edit?both), contribute [on Twitter](https://twitter.com/RichDecibels/status/1078822810720468992), or email email@example.com :heart_eyes:
## Specific examples of organisational handbooks
### Permanent (e.g. workplaces, businesses, NGOs)
* Most of my organising experience is in [Loomio](http://loomio.org), a software co-op with a [great handbook](http://loomio.coop).
* Loomio is one of many social enterprises in the [Enspiral](http://enspiral.com) network. The [Enspiral Handbook](http://handbook.enspiral.com) explains how we self-govern.
* The [Gini Handbook](http://handbook.gini.net) is particularly strong on decision-making, with useful sections on communication skills, personal growth, and feedback.
* The [Gitlab Handbook](https://about.gitlab.com/handbook) is especially relevant for people working in remote teams — they have more than 400 staff and no central location.
* [Crisp DNA](https://dna.crisp.se/docs/index.html) is the handbook from a self-organising company of 35+ autonomous consultants. They do cool things with money and ownership!
* [OuiShare Handbook](https://handbook.ouishare.net) -- structures and practices for the distributed OuiShare network
* [A Feminist Organization’s Handbook](https://womenscenterforcreativework.com/a-feminist-organizations-handbook/) is a beautiful resource from the Women's Center for Creative Work in Los Angeles. They explain how they work, with the expressed intention of helping others to learn from their experience.
* Alcoholics Anonymous operate as an "[upside-down organisation](https://aaoregon-district21.org/aa_information/structure.php)". Their manual is an up-to-date summary of 80+ years of decentralised organising at scale.
* The IETF is the principal body governing the development of the Internet. Their open, voluntary, self-organising principles are documented in the [Tao of the IETF](https://www.ietf.org/tao.html).
* [Public Interest Research Center](https://publicinterest.org.uk/about/) is a thinktank for civil society, helping social movements tell better stories. They’ve recently transitioned to a flat organisational structure. No handbook yet, but they published [this excellent story about the transition](https://publicinterest.org.uk/pirc-goes-flat/).
* Platform is an arts /education / research /activism org. No public handbook, but their [Social Justice Waging System](https://platformlondon.org/about-us/staff-structure-policies/) is impressive.
* [How to Start a Tool Lending Library](https://www.shareable.net/blog/how-to-start-a-tool-library)
* Transition Towns' [Essential Guide to doing Transition](https://transitionnetwork.org/resources-essential-guide-transition/) is available in many languages.
* [Valve Employee Handbook](https://www.valvesoftware.com/hu/publications) -- Valve is a software company that works without bosses. They published their handbook in 2012.
* Edgeryders is a unique online community and company, a kind of thinktank and mutual aid network. A lot of their work is done in public, e.g. see their [Principles for collaboration and operations in Edgeryders](https://edgeryders.eu/t/principles-for-collaboration-and-operations-in-edgeryders/8729). "No plan is the plan."
* The Borderland a collaborative community organized around an annual participatory event. It organizes itself using two processes: Dream Prototyping and [Consensual Do-ocracy](http://wiki.theborderland.se/Advice_Process), also known as the Advice Process, influenced by Frederic Laloux's Reinventing Organizations.
* [Outseta Operating Agreement](https://www.outseta.com/posts/outseta-saas-operating-agreement) - Outseta is a SaaS company with a fully distributed team that has adopted self-management. We've made our operating agreement public: how we make functional and financial decisions. We also published an [overview of what self-management is](https://www.outseta.com/posts/what-is-self-management-how-self-managed-teams-operate-without-hierarchy), an overview to folks new to the subject.
* [350 Seattle -- Structure](http://350seattle.org/structure/) resources for a campaigning org
* [Open Coop Governance Model](https://www.guerrillatranslation.org/2018/09/22/the-open-coop-governance-model-in-guerrilla-translation-an-overview/) designed for use in the Guerilla Translation co-op, as a model for others to remix
* [Scaling Agile at Spotify](http://blog.crisp.se/2012/11/14/henrikkniberg/scaling-agile-at-spotify): explaining how Spotify's 250+ tech staff coordinate across tribes, squads, chapters and guilds.
### Temporary (e.g. campaigns, events)
* Barcelona en Comú published [How To Win Back The City](https://barcelonaencomu.cat/ca/post/barcelona-en-comu-publishes-how-guide-winning-back-city-mark-anniversary-electoral-victory), one year after a coallition of grassroots activists won the municipal elections.
* [HOFFNUNG 3000 - a self-organized festival](https://blatt3000.de/hoffnung3000/). How do we organize ourselves in our social, artistic & theoretical communities? HOFFNUNG 3000 was not simply a festival but more of a process of organizing a festival, a festival that creates itself. Through each and every participant.
* [How to Create a Rent Strike](https://radicalthinktank.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/how-to-create-a-rent-strike/)
* Repair Cafe is a place to meet and fix things together. [Their handbook](https://repaircafe.org/en/shop/) is available on a 'pay what you want' basis.
* [TEDx organisers guide](https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event)
* [Awesome Foundation Wiki](http://wiki.awesomestudies.org). Awesome Foundation is a network of autonomous groups who make micro-grants to people working on awesome projects.
* [How to start a SOUP](https://detroitsoup.com/startasoup/): a microgranting dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects.
* [How to start a Food Not Bombs chapter](http://foodnotbombs.net/new_site/seven-steps.php): decentralised grassroots peace movement sharing free food with hungry people.
* Cosecha is a movement for US immigrants. They operate with a transparent [strategy & structure](https://www.lahuelga.com/strategy).
* [Swarmwise](https://falkvinge.net/books/) by Rick Falkvinge, the tactical guide from the Swedish Pirate Party
* [Ouishare Fest Toolkit](http://toolkit.ouisharefest.com/)- a guide to organizing a participatory festival.
## Generalised lessons: toolkits, books, etc
### More business like
* [Better Work Together](http://betterworktogether.co/) -- stories and tools from Enspiral (network of self-managing social enterprises)
* [Reinventing Organisations](http://www.reinventingorganizations.com/) by Frederic Laloux is a really influential book sharing case studies of large organisations in different sectors, successfully operating without centralised management systems. Good [wiki](http://www.reinventingorganizationswiki.com/) too.
* [Insights for the Journey](https://thejourney.reinventingorganizations.com/videos.html) -- video series to accompany the Reinventing Organizations book by Laloux
* [Going Horizontal](http://goinghorizontal.co/) by Samantha Slade: practices for flattening organisational hierarchies
* [12 Principles for Prototyping a Feminist Business](https://sister.is/12-principles/)
* [Remote Only](https://remoteonly.org/) manifesto for companies that work without a central office.
* [Remote Starter Kit](https://www.remotestarterkit.com/) - digital tools to support remote collaboration
* [Atlassian Team Playbook](https://www.atlassian.com/team-playbook) - toolkit for effective self-managed teams, by the makers of [Trello](https://www.trello.com).
* [Self-managing organizations: Exploring the limits of less-hierarchical organizing](https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319550780_Self-managing_organizations_Exploring_the_limits_of_less-hierarchical_organizing) -- research paper by Amy C. Edmondson and Michael Y. Lee
* [Google's Team Effectiveness Guide](https://rework.withgoogle.com/guides/understanding-team-effectiveness/steps/introduction/) Psychological safety > dependability > structural clarity > meaning > impact
* Corporate org dev consultants [The Ready](https://theready.com/) published their [OS Canvas](https://medium.com/the-ready/the-os-canvas-8253ac249f53) - a tool for mapping the present state of your org and planning future changes.
* [Why Employees are Always a Bad Idea](http://whyemployeesarealwaysabadidea.com/) - business book by Chuck Blakeman
* [HyperIsland Toolbox](https://toolbox.hyperisland.com) - a collaboration toolkit for innovation, team development
* [Liberating Structures](http://www.liberatingstructures.com/ls-menu) -- 33 meeting formats for inclusion and creativity
* [The Future of Work is Human](https://humanfutureofwork.ca/practices/) - practices for holistic meetings, collective learning, innovation.
* [Core Protocols for Effective Communication](https://blog.crisp.se/2017/11/12/martinchristensen/core-protocols-effective-communication)
* [Beyond Empowerment: the Age of Self-Managed Organization](https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Empowerment-Age-Self-Managed-Organization/dp/1944878386/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=) business book by Doug Kirkpatrick from Morningstar: a pioneering self-managing company & the world's largest tomato processers
* [One from many](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/594968.One_from_Many) by Dee Hock (VISA)
* [Joy at work](http://www.dennisbakke.com/) by Dennis Bakke (coined the Advice Process at AES)
* [Eckart's notes](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3199232-eckart-s-notes) by Wintzen (BSO) - Dutch
* [La belle histoire de FAVI](http://www.favi.com/management/) by Zobrist
* [The second cycle](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1879158.The_Second_Cycle) by Lars Kolind
* [Maverick](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32994.Maverick) by Ricardo Semler
* [Team of Teams](https://www.amazon.com/Team-Teams-Rules-Engagement-Complex/dp/1591847486) by General Stanley McChrsytal -- how the US Army developed a networked management structure to respond to urban warfare in Iraq
* [A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Building a Great Business](https://www.zingermans.com/Product.aspx?ProductID=P-ARI-12) series by Ari Weinzweig at Zingermans
* [The Haier Model](https://www.amazon.com/Haier-Model-Reinventing-multinational-network-ebook/dp/B079C53BYQ) by Yangfeng Cao
* [Freedom, Inc.: How Corporate Liberation Unleashes Employee Potential and Business](https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Inc-Corporate-Liberation-Performance/dp/0998074306) by Brian M Carney & Isaac Getz
* [Future of Management](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1842550.The_Future_of_Management) by Gary Hamel
* [The Holacracy Constitution 4.1](https://www.holacracy.org/constitution)
* [Greater Than's Guide to Collaborative Funding](https://guide.greaterthan.works/guide-to-collaborative-funding/)
### More community like
* [The Empowerment Manual: A guide for collaborative groups](https://starhawk.org/writing/books/the-empowerment-manual/) -- excellent book by ecofeminist organiser Starhawk
* New Economy Organisers Network share their [toolkit for campaigners, activists & organisers](http://neweconomyorganisers.org/resources).
* Code for Canada’s [Civic Tech Community Organizer Toolkit](https://codefor.ca/community-network/toolkit/) contains advice on how to start, sustain and grow a civic tech community group in your area.
* [Post Consensus Cooperative Decision-making](https://douginamug.gitlab.io/slides/poco_coop_dm/), an excellent slidedeck from Doug Webb explaining some of the limits of consensus and where you can go instead
* [Rules for Radicals](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_for_Radicals) is the last book written by legendary community activist and writer Saul D. Alinsky about how to successfully run a movement for change.
* [Horizontalism: Voices of popular power in Argentina](https://libcom.org/history/horizontalism-voices-popular-power-argentina-marina-sitrin), an oral history compiled by Marina Sitrin, told by people in the autonomous social movements, occupied factories, neighborhood assemblies, arts and independent media collectives, to the indigenous communities and unemployed workers movements.
* My book [Patterns for Decentralised Organising](https://leanpub.com/patterns-for-decentralised-organising/).
* [Emergent Strategy](https://www.akpress.org/emergentstrategy.html) by adrienne maree brown: "radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live"
* [The Tyranny of Structurelessness](https://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm) -- classic essay from Jo Freeman explaining why organising with "no structure" can be more abusive than the worst boss.
* [Beautiful Trouble](https://beautifultrouble.org/) creative tactics for nonviolent direct action
* 350.org's [Trainings](https://trainings.350.org/) site includes resources for organisers
* [Networked Change report](http://netchange.co/networked-change) "strategies and practices that made 47 of today’s most successful advocacy campaigns work... because of their ability to open up to the new cultural forces which favor open-ness and grassroots power."
* [Campaign Bootcamp Resources](https://campaignbootcamp.org/resources/) for campaigners
* [Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi](https://cooperationjackson.org/announcementsblog/2017/9/21/new-book-jackson-rising-the-struggle-for-economic-democracy-and-black-self-determination-in-jackson-mississippi). A chronicle of one of the most interesting social transformations in contemporary USA.
* [Earth First! Direct Action Manual](https://issuu.com/earthfirstjournal/docs/dam_3rd_edition/280) (also available in [print](https://www.akpress.org/earth-first-direct-action-manual.html))
* [Email Etiquette for Virtual Collectives](https://austerityprotests.wordpress.com/2015/05/03/email-etiquette-for-virtual-collectives/)
* [Sociocracy 3.0](https://sociocracy30.org/) -- a free & open guide to developing agile, resilient, consent-based orgs
* [How To: Distributed Organizing](https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yO-cDdNDvGzNRMzbnfrDVkzn6OXyXFCuFefzj7miIOc/edit) guide for campaigners
* [Mobilisation Lab resources](https://mobilisationlab.org/resources/): online courses, articles, videos, podcasts, reports & guides for campaigners
* [How to Welcome & Engage People in Community Spaces](https://www.shareable.net/blog/how-to-welcome-and-engage-people-in-community-spaces) by Danny Spitzberg
* [Skessa: Collaborative Toolkit for Diverse and Inclusive Organisations](https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ZAs42x33XDYgk2MQIzR0mSmMV0TG9bdlmCUayhg-7Rw/edit#slide=id.g37c1aa1439_76_0)
* [Art of Hosting (Conversations That Matter)](http://www.artofhosting.org/)
* [The Viable System Model](https://www.esrad.org.uk/resources/vsmg_3/screen.php?page=home), Jon Walker. How to design a healthy business: The use of the Viable System Model in the diagnosis and design of organisational structures in co-operatives and other social economy enterprises
* [Many Voices One Song](https://www.sociocracyforall.org/book/) introduction, learned lessons and implementation assistance for sociocracy basics from Sociocracy for All
* [The Do-Ocracy Handbook: organisational types and legal structures](https://transitionnetwork.org/news-and-blog/new-reconomy-guide-ocracy-handbook/) by Mark Simmonds (UK legal focus)
* [Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC)](https://www.theselc.org/cooperatives)
* [Purpose Economy: Steward Ownership model](https://purpose-economy.org/en/). See [Sharetribe for example](https://medium.com/bettersharing/steward-ownership-is-capitalism-2-0-76a1c50a6d88)
* [Fairshares](http://www.fairshares.coop/) model for multi-stakeholder coops
* [Ayni Institute](https://ayni.institute/about/) - training for social movement organisers. A lot of their training content is available as online videos, e.g. see the [Momentum Webinar Series](https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeJeAirMA52rCePt4WuuZPD1WXb2Jnd5H) on the science of social movements, and the [SWARM Training](https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeJeAirMA52rjdn4ji49UWg_lebY2hdf4) on decentralised organising.
* [Momentum](https://www.momentumcommunity.org/) "gives grassroots organizers the tools to build massive, decentralized social movements that aim to shift the terrain under policymakers’ feet"
* [Ulex Project](http://ulexproject.org) - a residential training centre in Catalunya. They practice “[integral activist training](http://ulexproject.org/integral-activist-training/)”, addressing the interdependent links between individuals, organisations, and cultures.
* My little consulting company [The Hum](http://thehum.org) provides practical guidance for decentralised organisations.
* [Organisational Misbehaviourists](http://www.organisationalmisbehaviourists.com/) -- corporate trainers focussed on psychological safety and collective wisdom
* [PowerLabs](https://powerlabs.io/) campaigning trainers
* [NetChange](http://netchange.co/trainings) -- distributed organising campaign trainers
* [Tripod Training](https://tripodtraining.org) -- Training, meeting facilitation and conflict mediation to support groups to work in better alignment with their visions and values.
I think the best structure for any organising effort must be custom-fit to its local context. I don't believe in "one size fits all" solutions, but we don't need to start from a blank slate either. [My book](https://leanpub.com/patterns-for-decentralised-organising/) is a collection of "patterns", experiences that are common in all collaborative groups. Each pattern names a common *dysfunction* (e.g. unfair distribution of care labour), and a *response* (e.g. account for care work the same way you treat other work).
My approach to organisational development:
1. 🏠 understand the **local context** for this org: history, relationships, intentions, strengths, obstacles, etc.
2. 🌏 zoom out to a **global view** to find an appropriate frame of reference (e.g. #agile, #teal, #sociocracy, #coops, #designthinking, #artofhosting)
3. 🔎 zoom in to an ***adjacent* local context** (i.e. another organisation that shares something in common with this one)
4. 🏡 **return home** with lessons to inform the next experiment we'll try
So the "handbooks" listed here are examples of *local* context (with much gratitude to the authors who make their experience transparent for others to learn from). The "toolkits and books" are *global* lessons extracted from local experience.
[@richdecibels](https://twitter.com/RichDecibels) [@patconnoly](https://twitter.com/patconnolly) [@toddhoskins](https://twitter.com/toddhoskins) [@shareable](https://twitter.com/shareable) [@JPatrickDunn](https://twitter.com/JPatrickDunn) [@patriciarealini](https://twitter.com/patriciarealini) [@WCCWLA](https://twitter.com/WCCWLA) [@adriennemaree](https://twitter.com/adriennemaree) [@AyniTeam](https://twitter.com/AyniTeam) [@UlexProject](https://twitter.com/UlexProject) [@pircuk](https://twitter.com/pircuk) [@NEON_UK](https://twitter.com/NEON_UK) [@jaimeyann](https://twitter.com/jaimeyann) [@feminineist](https://twitter.com/feminineist) [@staccoP2P](https://twitter.com/StaccoP2P) [@bcnencomu](https://twitter.com/bcnencomu) [@mrchrisadams](https://twitter.com/mrchrisadams) [@350](https://twitter.com/350) [@rhizomecoop](https://twitter.com/rhizomecoop) [@jdaviescoates](https://twitter.com/jdaviescoates) [@PlatformLondon](https://twitter.com/PlatformLondon) [@CFTransition](https://twitter.com/CFTransition) [@transitiontowns](https://twitter.com/transitiontowns) [@awesomefound](https://twitter.com/awesomefound) [@sam5](https://twitter.com/sam5) [@radicalthnktnk](https://twitter.com/radicalthnktnk) [@Jas_Tribe](https://twitter.com/Jas_Tribe) [@Sam_Applebee](https://twitter.com/Sam_Applebee) [@randallito](https://twitter.com/randallito) [@CosechaMovement](https://twitter.com/CosechaMovement) [@roguesofa](https://twitter.com/roguesofa) [@Owoy](https://twitter.com/Owoy) [@douginamug](https://mastodon.xyz/@douginamug) [@neil](https://social.coop/@neil) [@mattcropp](https://social.coop/@mattcropp) [@wearehanno](https://twitter.com/wearehanno/) [@flpvsk](https://twitter.com/flpvsk) [@CfFominaya](https://twitter.com/CfFominaya) [@disruptandlearn](https://twitter.com/disruptandlearn) [@yanche](https://twitter.com/yanche) [@AmyCEdmondson](https://twitter.com/AmyCEdmondson) [@JohnDobbin](https://twitter.com/JohnDobbin) [@theready](https://twitter.com/theready) [@aarondignan](https://twitter.com/aarondignan) [@fred_laloux](https://twitter.com/fred_laloux) [@ChuckBlakeman](https://twitter.com/ChuckBlakeman) [@guff_se](https://twitter.com/guff_se) [@hyperisland](https://twitter.com/hyperisland) [@KeithMcCandless](https://twitter.com/KeithMcCandless) [@Redshifter3](https://twitter.com/Redshifter3) [@b_bockelbrink](https://twitter.com/b_bockelbrink) [@jamespriest_S3](https://twitter.com/jamespriest_S3) [@lilidavidis](https://twitter.com/lilidavidis) [@CoopsMark](https://twitter.com/CoopsMark) [@netchange](https://twitter.com/netchange) [@getpowerlabs](https://twitter.com/getpowerlabs) [@Price_J_Matt](https://twitter.com/Price_J_Matt) [@MobilisationLab](https://twitter.com/MobilisationLab) [@hugi](https://edgeryders.eu/u/hugi) [@outseta](https://twitter.com/outseta) [@valeriecosta](https://twitter.com/valeriecosta) [@TheSELC](https://twitter.com/TheSELC) [@FairSharesAssoc](https://twitter.com/FairSharesAssoc) [@joost_minnaar](https://twitter.com/joost_minnaar) [@deewhock](https://twitter.com/deewhock) [@kolind](https://twitter.com/kolind) [@ricardosemler](https://twitter.com/ricardosemler) [@StanMcChrystal](https://twitter.com/StanMcChrystal) [@isaacgetz](https://twitter.com/isaacgetz) [@profhamel](https://twitter.com/profhamel) [@jdaviescoates](https://twitter.com/jdaviescoates) [@GuerrillaTrans](https://twitter.com/GuerrillaTrans) [@daspitzberg](https://twitter.com/daspitzberg) [@m8rt](https://twitter.com/m8rt) [@crispsweden](https://twitter.com/crispsweden) [@rkasper](https://twitter.com/rkasper) [@henrikkniberg](https://twitter.com/henrikkniberg) [@theQCommunity](https://twitter.com/theQCommunity) [@douginamug](http://twitter.com/douginamug) [@MatthewMezey](https://twitter.com/MatthewMezey) [@zaunders](https://twitter.com/zaunders)
**If you have more to add,** please [edit this page](https://hackmd.io/s/Skh_dXNbE/edit?both), contribute [on Twitter](https://twitter.com/RichDecibels/status/1078822810720468992), or email firstname.lastname@example.org :heart_eyes:
### Free Culture License
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