Community Team Decision Making Process

In the past the members of the Community Team had some informal discussions about the decision making process: the conversation is very broad and we haven’t tackled it in a structured way up until now.

Since April, the Community team switched from having a single monthly chat that didn’t always had an agenda, to a bi-monthly chat, held at 08:00 UTC and 20:00 UTC to take into account different timezone, with an agenda that covers topics that might come up in our channels and highlights the latest from our blog. Attendance is good, people are engaged in the discussions and in general it seems that so far this has been a welcome change in our workflow.

It also helped us approaching broader subjects, about the Community team itself and its organisation.

One question that resurfaces every now and then is: how do we come to decisions? How do we wrap up all the discussions that float around us and come to conclusions? From comments in our SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at channels or P2P2 P2 or O2 is the term people use to refer to the Make WordPress blog. It can be found at posts to issues that might be brought up to our support email, there is a lot going on in the Community team!

This is a broad conversation that touches on different subjects. The following are only a few:

  1. Media: the different media we use to communicate have different purposes, the Slack channels are for bouncing off ideas and replying to direct questions, but when we need to agree upon something we direct the person that has raised the issue to post in our P2 to gather feedback. Sometimes delicate issues are not brought in public but are dealt via email between the interested parties and then made public when a decision is made.
  2. Who: some issues are easily solved, everyone says what they think, either via a poll or comments, there are no major roadblocks (usually financial or technical), the majority of the feedback is positive so we move on. This is what happened when we decided to change the chat model. Some issues though require a more structured approach, especially if the outcome has a great impact on the whole WordPress community, not only the Community Team. Who is involved in this kind of decisions?
  3. How: after we identify the who, how those final deciders actually make the decisions they make? What processes and tools and tools can we use?
  4. Tracking: we use our P2 to gather feedback, how do we track open issues? Let’s say we come up with a workflow from now on, how do we deal with the threads that were opened in the past and never reached a conclusion?

The above items are just a few and they are mostly related to a practical workflow that defines roles, capabilities, procedures to gather feedback and come to decisions. But what about the emotional side of things? Who is taking the heat for unpopular decisions? How are they seen in the Community?

So, lots of food for thought!

Let’s set ourselves a goal of spending about two weeks on this discussion, closing it on August 3, in time for our next chat. After that I’ll gather all the comments and we’ll go from there to determine our next steps.

Thank you!