In June 2009, Tony Bacigalupo wrote a great article called “Organizational Democracy in Action: Meetup’s 100% Time Model“ about how self-organized groups, and more, got started at MeetUp.com.
Tony wrote: “The company had to make a drastic change, and fast. Announcing a six-week hackathon, Meetup put the fate of the company in the hands of its employees. Everything the employees were previously working on would be put on hold. During the interim, they could work on anything they wanted – so long as they got three people to work on it with them.”
From what I heard from various Meetup staff when I was in New York, coordination was their biggest issue. And so more process was added to coordinate the launch of new features on the website, with the quality that they wanted to ensure.
Process and 100% time are compatible. They are good for each other. That’s why a constitution, or at least a review process, is so great… as MeetUp’s Senior VP of Strategy Andrews Glusman is quoted saying: “You don’t help self-organization by removing all structure. The right amount of structure is what enables self-organization.”
Tony also quotes my book, The Handbook to Get Things Done in Companies with Organizational Democracy, which was the basis for this website.
He concludes by summarizing benefits of organizational democracy: “boost morale, increase production, and have a healthier, happier, and more successful business.”