Book review: Sociocracy 3.0 by Jef Cumps

When I started an online book club two weeks ago, I didn’t know what to expect. How many people will join? What book are we going to read? How often will we meet? How do we do the reviews? It turned out everything happened quite naturally. Five people joined. We agreed to experiment to see what would work well and what wouldn’t. And the first book we chose to read was the novel Sociocracy 3.0 by Jef Cumps. So we started. Good enough for now, and safe enough to try.

Jef Cumps takes you on a journey with Kris, the newly chosen CEO of Human Resources Solutions. Things are not going well for HRS. Its new software release is months overdue, its customers are complaining and the value of its stock is dropping quickly. This calls for change in approach in order to save the company. In comes Bernie, the seasoned Sociocracy 3.0 or S3 guide. He convinces Kris to transform HRS into a self-organizing and agile organization. From there on the story’s a bit like any other business novel. Things start out well, go up and down a bit and eventually the company moves into the new way of working and saves itself from disaster. Hooray!

There are two things I have liked very much about this book. First, unlike most business novels it doesn’t take a very long introduction before getting into the core of it. In the first chapters the writer drops you in the way Sociocracy 3.0 works and the thinking behind it. The story describes a winding road of how individuals and their organization discover a new way of working and make it their own. Everything is described in a concise way that makes it easy to pick up what Sociocracy 3.0 is about. Second, the book references a couple of times to Agile software development and how Sociocracy 3.0 complements it, creating a great new toolbox for Agile coaches and Scrum Masters.

If you are curious about Sociocracy 3.0 or even want to start experimenting with it, this book is highly recommended. After reading this book, you will feel your knowledge on Sociocracy 3.0 is good enough for now, and safe enough to try.

I consider myself an Agile explorer. Always seeking ways to make work and life better by — together with others — challenging the status quo.

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