May 18, 2021

What is a working agreement?

You may not realize it, but you probably already know what a working agreement is. Agreements are collaborative documents that clarify team norms, processes, policies, and other ways of working. You may also know them by one of their many other aliases, like “employee handbook” or “standard operating procedures.” But, regardless of what we call them, working agreements shape our working lives...  and most of us have been doing them all wrong.

Typically, these policies and processes are created and enforced by leaders, and seldom written down. As a result, teams don't feel a sense of ownership around "how" they work together. They crave a different kind of agreement. A better way of working.

At Murmur, we believe:

  • Everything is an agreement. If it's worth arguing about, it's worth documenting.
  • Agreements should be written down. If it's not written down, chances are you don't understand it well enough and neither does anyone else.
  • Agreements should be governed by consent. That means everyone on the team has a chance to say whether a proposed agreement is safe to try or not.

How do the agreements in your organization compare?