Proposal: how to use this blog for discussions and task management

Re-reading I think I made the mistake of bringing two topics in the same post 🙁 Right now I think we should mostly focus on streamline how we use this blog more efficiently and go back to see if we had some good ideas that got lost in time. Then we’ll work on the task management and Trello and what not… Bear with me 🙂 Sometime I do get completely OT

Last summer I started keeping a record of all the posts here in our blog because I had this nagging sensation that a lot of the things that we post fall a little bit between the cracks.

I also proposed to use a Trello board to follow project work within the team because sometimes we set out to do something and we get a bit lost on the way.

Both these behaviour are completely normal, who doesn’t have a to-do list half checked? The thing is, as a team, we don’t really have a to-do list that is shared with all the team members. Some of us have their own to-do list of things that they are doing for the Community Team but:

  • It’s nice to share and be as transparent as possible within the team
  • If you share what you are working on and your progress, people might join you to help out
  • During the years we discussed some ideas in our blog than were never transformed into actions

With these three things in mind, I would like to propose to:

  1. do a “task sprint” to abandon or move forwards with ideas we have entertained during the years and are somehow stuck in a limbo
  2. put together best practices to become more efficient in the future with how we propose things here, work on them, share progress, complete or abandon the tasks

Tasks Sprint

I spent a few hours analysing the posts in out blog since August 2015, added some comments, catalogued them as Announcements, Solved, Ongoing.

You can find the spreadsheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14QMlfvqX1U6OtdCB-tXP16l4LIcjx2F39kA00ao9tJg/

To my pleasant surprise the number of solved and ongoing issues is basically the same, so yay!

I think it would be great if each one of us, that has posted here in the past two years, would take time to:

  • Go through the list of your posts
  • If the proposal/issue/call for feedback is solved, please post a comment that summarises the comments, if needed, or says what is the result of the discussion: maybe we created a tool, a plugin, we gave the green light to a new event, etc… You can do so by using the Top Comment functionality
  • If the post is not solved, ask yourself:
    • Do you have the bandwith, passion, urgency, and energy to carry on? If yes, please commit to revive the discussion somehow: ping people that showed interest, post it in the community-events or community-team channel in Slack and look for other people that are passionate about this, post on your social media channels to recruit help. If necessary post an update in the blog, add the task to Trello (more on that later). Basically, take it to the end-zone!
    • If the answer is no, please also post it in the Top Comment
  • In both cases, please update the Google Spreadsheet with the open issues

Deadline: July 22nd. I will bring this up in the next three Team chats 🙂

How to manage this in the future

Obviously manually checking for new posts, writing comments, etc… is not a sustainable way to move forward with our projects.

So here is what I propose to do to streamline our task management/discussion process.

  • Write a post on how to post in the blog (how meta!) and make it Sticky
    • We will probably need to address the category/tag issue that comes up regularly so people can also add this information to the posts
    • We should use a standardised way to introduce the posts so casual readers know if this information is relevant to them in this particular moment. We also discussed this in the past and we need to formalise it
    • Will you look at that! I made a first draft 🙂 It’s open for comments, but if you want to be able to make suggestions just ask for access.
  • When people post, especially for the first few times, let’s help them follow the procedure: if any of the experienced deputies sees that the post is missing something, please help the poster out
  • Discussion follows and there are three possible outcomes:
    1. No replies, the topic for some reason, any reason, doesn’t get any traction. After the deadline (which should always be included in the post), the author can post a Top Comment to close this.
    2. Yay replies, one person is capable to moving forward with the task on their own. They’ll finish up with whatever they proposed to do and post a Top Comment to close the discussion and report on the decisions/actions. I am thinking for example of a discussion like this one.
    3. Yay replies, complex task… hello team project! If the idea gets traction, people weigh in but to turn it into reality you need a group of people, this is where Trello comes into play!

Trello

I created a Trello board after we agreed we would try it to manage more complex tasks and projects. So this is not to keep track of ongoing tasks like HS triage, vetting, orienting, etc… but for things that need to be split into subtasks and would benefit from a group of people working on it.

This is a work in progress and we probably need to review the guidelines to use it as well. So far I just copy/pasted the text from the Marketing team and I will try to get this going before our first July chat.

Examples

Changes in documentation

Often we discuss things in our channels and we say “Oh! This should be added to documentation” and sometimes we don’t follow through. Let’s have an open card “Changes in Handbook”, whenever we say this, let’s add the link to the Slack chat or any other link so we don’t forget about this. In this way we don’t rely on one person to do that, but anyone with access to the Community website can make the change and mark it as done.

Meetup Organisers Roundtable

This wonderful experiment has the potential to become a monthly appointment for the Community organisers out there, but it can not rely only on one person. With Trello, Birgit can add tasks, check what has been done, have a group of people working with her, etc

All right, cut to the chase, what do you want from us?

  • Agree or disagree with the proposal in the comments
  • Go through your open threads and try to solve them, one way or another before July 22nd
  • Read the draft I prepared with best practices for posting
  • Evaluate Trello for your Community projects

Thank you!