What do we need to define and document, and what do we need to keep open?
I believe that, in order to give people the opportunity to solve problems or energise roles in their own, distinct way, we just need to be as clear as possible about the relationships between their role and others. By defining what other people need or expect, rather than how we need to act or be, we can allow each other the opportunity to populate our spaces in our own way.
I also agree that it takes effort and thought to manage the dissemination of information. However, I don’t think that this is micro-managing, and I also don’t really see it as taking more energy in this kind of system as in any other high functioning team. The specifics of what we document may be different, but the effort involved may be consistent.
In agile software there is a rule that most documentation is just a place-holder for conversations. There are a few essentials that need to be documented as clearly as possible, but the desire to have everything written down is completely non-productive. Instead, encourage people to speak to each other when they need to fill in the blanks — and to take and share minutes of what is important.
These agreements however should probably be written down carefully. They are not big, and if you follow some kind of process like the one I outlined in my article on index cards, they can be rather quick to extract when you have a little practice.
Thank you for starting the conversation. It’s always so valuable to know what questions emerge from an attempt to share thoughts.