Adapt Patterns To Context

Adapt and evolve S3 patterns to suit your specific context.

Adopt The Seven Principles

Align collaboration with the Seven Principles.

Agree On Values

Intentionally evolve the culture in your organization.

Align Flow

In support of continuous flow of value, move decision-making close to where value is created, and align the flow of information accordingly.

Artful Participation

Commit to doing your best to act and interact in ways that enable effective collaboration.

Ask For Help

A simple protocol for learning, skill sharing, and building connections, with respect for people's agency.


Keep an up-to-date list of things you need to address, so that you can remember them, and use that information to plan and organize your work.

Be The Change

Lead by example.

Breaking Agreements

Break agreements when you are certain the benefit for the organization outweighs the cost of waiting to amend that agreement first, and take responsibility for any consequences.


Secure S3 principles and patterns in your bylaws as needed to protect legal integrity and organizational culture.

Check In

Help people to become aware of themselves and others, and to focus, be present and engage.


A circle is a self-governing and semi-autonomous team of equivalent people who collaborate to account for a domain.

Clarify Intended Outcome

Be explicit about the expected results of agreements, activities, projects and strategies.

Clarify and Develop Domains

Explicitly clarify, and then regularly evaluate and develop the design of domains throughout the organization, based on learning, to enable those with responsibility for each domain to deliver value as effectively as possible to the customers they serve.

Clarify and Develop Strategy

For the whole organization and for each domain, devise a strategy for how to create value, and develop it over time based on what you learn.

Co-Create Proposals

Bring people together to co-create proposals in response to organizational drivers: tap collective intelligence, build sense of ownership and increase engagement and accountability.

Collaborate on Dependencies

For each dependency, work with all stakeholders to agree on how to deal with it effectively, and act accordingly.

Consent Decision-Making

A (facilitated) group process for decision-making: invite objections, and consider information and knowledge revealed to further evolve proposals or existing agreements.

Continuous Improvement Of Work Process

Reveal drivers and establish a metrics-based pull-system for organizational change through continuously improving and refining the work process.

Contract For Successful Collaboration

Support successful collaboration from the start and build trust between parties by co-creating mutually beneficial and legally robust contracts.

Coordination Meeting

Meet on a regular basis (usually weekly) for reporting on and coordinating work across domains.


A person fulfilling the role of a coordinator is accountable for coordinating a domain's operations and is selected for a limited term.

Create a Pull-System For Organizational Change

Create an environment that invites and enables members of the organization to drive change.

Daily Standup

Meet daily to organize work, facilitate learning and improve your productivity and effectiveness.

Delegate Circle

Delegate making governance decisions affecting multiple domains to representatives selected by those domains.

Deliver Value Incrementally

Slice work in a way that allows for delivering value fast and frequently, to validate assumptions quickly, align with customer needs, and respond promptly to changing priorities.

Describe Deliverables

Clearly describe any deliverables related to an agreement to support shared understanding of expectations.

Describe Organizational Drivers

Describe organizational drivers to support understanding and communication about situations that are relevant for the organizational to respond to, and for recalling why particular activities are undertaken and why specific decisions are made.

Design Adaptable Systems

Develop a coherent set of constraints that enable the organization to easily adapt and grow to meet changing demand, customer requirements and market conditions.

Determine Requirements

Determine what's required to respond appropriately to an organizational driver, before making a specific decision about what to do.

Development Plan

A plan for how to develop more effective ways of accounting for a domain, agreed between delegator and delegatee.

Double Linking

Enable the two-way flow of information and influence between two teams.

Driver Mapping

A workshop format for large groups to co-create and organize themselves in response to a complex situation of significant scope and scale.

Enable Autonomy

Free people up to decide and act for themselves as much as possible, so that they can deliver value fast and respond quickly to changes when necessary.

Evaluate And Evolve Agreements

Continuously evolve the body of agreements, and eliminate waste.

Evaluate Meetings

Take time for learning at the end of each meeting or workshop.

Evaluation Criteria

Develop well-defined evaluation criteria to determine if acting on an agreement had the desired effect.

Facilitate Meetings

Choose someone to facilitate a meeting to help the group maintain focus, keep the meeting on track and draw out the participant's creativity and wisdom.

Financial Transparency

Share relevant information about financial performance with the organization’s members, to build trust and accountability and support them to make informed decisions regarding their work.

Governance Backlog

Keep a dedicated backlog for items that require a governance decision, so that you can remember them and use the information to plan and organize your governance.

Governance Facilitator

Select someone to facilitate governance meetings.

Governance Meeting

Teams meet at regular intervals to decide what to do to achieve objectives, and to set constraints on how and when things will be done.

Helping Team

Bring together a team of equivalent people with the mandate to execute on a specific set of requirements defined by a delegator.

Invest in Ongoing Learning

Make continuous learning an integral part of people’s responsibilities and work, so that they ongoingly develop their capacity to contribute effectively toward the purpose of the organization.

Invite Change

Clarify the reason for change and invite people to participate.

Involve Those Affected

Involve people in making decisions that affect them, to maintain equivalence and accountability, and to increase the amount of information available on the subject.

Limit Work in Progress

Limit the number of work items in any stage of your work process.


Enable the flow of information and influence between two teams.


Maintain a coherent and accessible system that stores all information required for collaboration.

Logbook Keeper

Select a member of your team to be specifically accountable for keeping up to date records of all information the team requires.

Manage the Whole System

Ensure that the effectiveness and integrity of the whole organization is monitored and maintained, so that the organization is able to ongoingly and adequately fulfill its purpose.

Meeting Host

Select someone to take responsibility for the preparation and follow-up of meetings, workshops or other events.

Navigate via Tension

Pay attention to tension you experience in relation to the organization, investigate the cause and pass on information about any organizational drivers you discover to the people accountable for the appropriate domain.

Open Salary

Create a fair salary formula and make it transparent.

Open Space For Change

Invite everyone to create and run experiments for evolving the organization.

Open Systems

Intentionally communicate with and learn from others outside of your system.

Open Team

Intentionally account for a domain by invitation rather than assignment, and request that those invited contribute when they can.

Peer Feedback

Invite any member of your organization to give you some constructive feedback on your performance in a role or in a team, about your general participation and contribution, or about any other area you wish to develop.

Peer Review

Support each other to learn and grow in the roles and teams you serve in.

Planning And Review Meetings

People meet at regular intervals (1-4 weeks) in timeboxed meetings to plan and review work.

Prepare For Meetings

Prepare in advance to make meetings more effective.

Prioritize Backlogs

Order all uncompleted work items with the most important items first, then pull work items from the top whenever there is new capacity.

Proposal Forming

A (facilitated) group process for co-creating a response to a driver.

Pull-System For Work

People pull in new work items when they have capacity (instead of having work pushed or assigned to them).

Reasoned Decision-Making

Engage in productive dialogue by investigating different perspectives and the knowledge of participants, to reach agreement on what is considered viable, relevant, valid or empirically true.

Record Agreements

Record the details of agreements you make, so you can recall them later, evaluate the outcome and evolve the agreement over time.


Select a team member to participate in the governance decision-making of another team to enable the flow of information and influence.

Resolve Objections

Use the information revealed by an objection to identify ways to evolve proposals, agreements and actions to a good-enough state.

Respond to Organizational Drivers

Respond to all organizational drivers you are responsible for, in order of priority, by fulfilling the requirements you determine necessary in each case.


Dedicate time to reflect on past experience, learn, and decide how to improve work process.


Delegate responsibility for a domain to individuals.

Role Selection

A group process for selecting a person for a role on the strength of the reason.


In a group meeting, go around the circle giving everyone the chance to speak in turn.

Service Circle

Outsource services required by two or more domains.

Share Costs and Gains

Ensure that people have a direct relationship to the costs and gains resulting from their work, so that they are incentivised to give their best, work effectively and minimize waste.

Support Role

Apply the role pattern to external contractors.

Test If Arguments Qualify as Objections

Utilize your limited time and resources wisely by testing if arguments qualify as objections and only acting on those that do.

Timebox Activities

Set a time constraint to stay focused, bring consciousness to the time you have and how you use it.

Visualize Work

Maintain a system that allows all stakeholders to review the state of all work items currently pending, in progress or complete.