The Eight Patterns of Open Business Agility Level 1


The fundamental concepts & facilities of the eight Patterns of Open Business Agility, with applications.


This course in the eight patterns is a foundational and core course of the OLN. These effective patterns of behavior are informed by core design principles; the patterns in turn inform the content and design of your practices.

The eight patterns enable genuine and lasting business agility. Enterprise Business Agility is not really possible without the use of Open patterns and practices.

Open patterns and practices improve employee engagement scores, and results. Employee engagement is where lasting enterprise-level improvement really comes from. 

The Eight Patterns of Open Business Agility help this to happen, and as such, these eight patterns represent the future of work. This course familiarizes you with each pattern, how they relate to your work, and how these patterns inform good, strong, effective practices such as Open Space Technology, genuine Scrum as described in the Scrum Guide, Open Space Agility, and more. You exit this class with confidence in your ability to explain and implement these patterns into your own tailored and customized "fit for purpose" practices.



Here is a brief description of each of the eight patterns of Open Business Agility:

Leadership Invitation: Open patterns use an opt-in “pull” approach rather than an imposition-based “push” approach to manifest and maintain enterprise-level change. Practices include Open Space Technology, Inviting Leadership and No-Limits Self Management:

Proceeding by Explicit Agreement: An organization of individuals is largely defined by the expressed and implied agreements that those individuals enter into. Open patterns and practices make those agreements explicit. Practices include Sociocracy, Scrum and the Agendashift engagement model:

Clarity of Authorization: In the Open approach, the delegation of responsibility always includes the clear and explicit delegation of the authority that is actually needed to deliver. Clarity of Authorization rolls up several other patterns: Explicit Agreement, Leadership Invitation, and Clear Delegation of Authority.

Boundary Management: Especially with respect to authority and authorization, when using Open patterns and practices, essential boundaries are clearly defined by executive leaders. These boundaries are open enough to generate self-organization and are explicitly communicated and carefully maintained. Boundary Management domains include Time, Task and Territory.

Use of Interaction Protocols: Open approaches clarify communication and understanding through protocols, which are small, shared agreements about how essential interactions are structured. Protocols enhance clarity of communication. Practices include NVC, Clean Language and the Core Protocols.

Whole-Group Process: Open approaches favor whole-group process over closed-door dialogue. To the maximum extent possible, the Open approach favors “getting the whole system in the room” to validate assumptions, gauge overall group readiness, and obtain validated, org-level alignments before proceeding. Practices include OpenSpace Agility, and meeting designs like Open Space Technology and Authority Circle. 

Common Knowledge: Often associated with transparency, common knowledge is up-to-date shared information that everyone in the organization knows. The generation of common knowledge is essential to coordinating very large groups at scale. Practices that enable Common Knowledge always have a whole-group aspect. The communication of values and principles, communication transparency and Open leadership practices like Open Space build Common Knowledge.


Empirical Approach: Organizations are more like living systems than they are like machines. Acknowledging this reality includes recognizing the need for frequent iterations of experimentation and “learning by doing.” Practices include Agile practices such as Scrum and Kanban, and empirical coaching approaches such as Fail Agility and The Agile Open Practitioner.


Course Materials

Each Student receives a set of takeaway PDFs and Checklists useful for both the study and implementation of these patterns

Credential Earned

OLN Patterns Level 1 (OLN-PATTERNS1)


This class is 6 hours long and typically taught for 2 hours per day over 3 days, or 3 hours per day for 2 days. Check the course listings for the details on the session structure of your class.

Important Note

(NOTE: It’s critically important to consider learning and using Open Space Technology, or better, for at least part of your whole-group process plan. Whole Group Process is one of the 8 fundamental patterns of Open Business Agility. New to Open Space? Learn more here.)

Who Should Attend

  • Executives preparing to work with Invitation-Based Change™ and Inviting Leadership™
  • External coaches and consultants who serve decision-makers in client organizations
  • Internal ScrumMasters and Agile transformation leads
  • Anyone considering OpenSpace Agility and/or Open Space Technology