What is a Working Agreement?

by Neil Kokemuller ; Updated September 26, 2017
Group Of Architects Discussing Plans In Modern Office

A working agreement is an informal agreement between two parties to perform activities or to abide by certain guidelines. In an organization, colleagues, supervisors and subordinates, and work teams can all form working agreements.

Working Agreement Purpose

The purpose of a working agreement is to formalize or clarify the expectations of each party involved. In a supervisor-subordinate agreement, for instance, the working agreement may spell out several milestones the leader wants the employee to reach before earning a promotion. A work team may develop a working agreement to outline ground rules, processes and guidelines that informally bind all members of the team together. With a working agreement in place, those involved are committed and cannot say they weren't aware of the expectations.

To Write or Not to Write

A very informal working agreement is verbalized. By writing down the agreed-upon terms or expectations, you make the expectations more concrete. It is often helpful for those involved to have written standards to ensure the agreement is given its proper importance. Working agreements drafted by project teams or between agencies and clients should include deadlines and names of responsible parties along with each stated commitment. While each agreement has its own purpose and language, common elements include ground rules and shared values of the parties.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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