To commit is to make a solemn promise, to do something real. To be real, a commitment must be irrevocable, at least in the sense that if circumstances make it difficult or impossible to meet in time, it must be renegotiated or there will be some loss of repute.
Unlike the terms command and control, to commit implies two persons who each have a choice whether to commit or not and enter the transaction as equals in power terms - an equal power relationship. See commit/command/control.
Within finite systems such as computer programs, to commit is to make changes of a transaction permanent. Other requirements that apply to transactions:
- that they be atomic (all related changes happen at once or not at all)
- that they be serializable (the result of performing all the changes that have ever occurred to the system, simultaneously, is exactly the same as the result of performing them all individually in some order - that is, no state can be reached by simultaneous commit that could not be reached by serialized commit)
An atomic, permanent, serializable transaction can always be undone.
When wor-king with humans, to commit implies a more flexible agreement to either deliver or renegotiate a deliverable. The circumstances in which one is permitted socially to renegotiate rather than deliver vary so much from professional field to field, that it is impossible for the bosses to judge when renegotiation is required or reasonable, without such backgrounds. For instance, they cannot easily judge regret arising from a bad decision.
One argument for workplace democracy or a Wobblie shop is that, since the bosses rule only by consensus from the workers, they can be replaced for seriously misunderstanding the constraints of the problem or blaming others. There is always a dialectic between promises and expectations, and delivery - no implementation will fully enforce policy or avoid all future problems.
 units of commitment
Because they are politically explosive, commit verbs should be clearly marked, and extremely visible. Simple examples include the distinct display of buttons and tabs in HTML, and the tactical transparency of video games.
Organizations likewise should carefully distinct all commit verbs that will be understood as implying a commitment by specific people to do specific things, as a subset of all control verbs used to negotiate or run technology or the more routine aspects of an organization (but which do not always mean commitment exists yet).