Domain: A distinct area of influence, activity and decision making within an organization.

We use Domains from Sociocracy 3.0 to understand and describe the responsibility and autonomy of people. This allows for greater efficiency, effective collaboration and agility throughout the organization by enabling people to know what they (for example as a Team) are responsible for. In turn everyone can find out who is responsible for a particular topic or makes decisions on a particular matter.

Delegation of authority

Delegation is the the grant of authority by one party (the delegator) to another (the delegatee) to account for a domain, (that’s to do certain things or make certain decisions) for which the delegator maintains overall accountability.

  1. The Board is accountable for the overall domain of VSHN and delegates the domain Business Operations to the Management.

  2. The Management describes and delegates the domain Product Development to the Delegate Circle Products.

  3. The Delegate Circle Products delegates the domain of a certain Group of Products to a specific Product Team.

    This way the Product Team can autonomously work on the development of the products they’re responsible for under the defined constraints defined in the Domain description.

Only the parent domain can change the description of a domain or delegate it to another circle. That means the team or circle accountable for domain can’t change their own domain as this would go against the idea of delegation of authority.
When something isn’t defined in a domain description or no one is accountable for a domain the parent domain is accountable.

Domain description

A simple way to clarify domains is with a domain description that contains at least:

  • Primary driver (the organizational need the domain is designed to respond to - why do we need this domain)

  • Key responsibilities (key deliverables, core tasks, any critical risks to manage, other essential work and decision making being delegated)

  • Constraints to the autonomy and influence of those the domain is delegated to, usually related to the organization itself (dependencies, involvement of the delegator, reporting etc.)

  • Resources (time, money, facilities, privileges, tools)

  • Evaluation criteria and frequency of evaluation

We see describing domains as a continuous process that’s tracked in a VIP for each domain. We know that for some domains essential parts of a domain description might still be missing - We’ll find out as we go and review the VIPs.