Tuesday Trainings: The power of working as a team

Teamwork is an integral part of the WordPress Community. We couldn’t build the WordPress Open SourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. Project without excellent collaboration! As a WordPress community organizer, you are encouraged to bring on as many fellow co-organizers and volunteers as possible to help organize a WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. or a meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area.. There are a number of excellent reasons for this. So for today’s Training Tuesday, let’s dive into the power of working as a team, and the hallmarks of healthy collaboration. 

Aligned teams have similar values

To be clear, this doesn’t mean you always have to agree with each other. It just means that you have some anchoring, shared values that guide your work as a team. Having a shared objective is a sturdy foundation for any team, and allows you to bring on board more people who share your enthusiasm for WordPress. The goal of all WordPress community events is to connect WordPress enthusiasts to each other, to inspire people to do more with WordPress, and to empower people to contribute to WordPress. These goals draw people to our events, and is a powerful shared vision for community organizers to mobilize around! 

Collaborative teams amplify each others brain power

Community organizing requires lots of decision making and planning. A strong team will have multiple perspectives, making for more intriguing and thoughtful brainstorming. By building on each other’s ideas, finding that winning idea is more readily possible! Collaborative teams are also able to help each other prioritize and plan to make exceptional ideas a reality. 

Teammates empower each other

Not only can you rely on each others’ skills, but it’s also so much easier to pick up new skills when you have considerate teammates to partner with! Working with each other allows us to more quickly grow and learn by virtue of participation and partnership. Plus, if we have new ideas, having a supportive team makes it much easier to go boldly forward. 

Strong teams are flexible and adaptable

When a team’s progress is reliant on one or a few individuals, the community is at risk. A lot of responsibility is placed on those individuals, putting them at higher risk for burnout. Should anything happen to these individuals, the whole team may find themselves stuck or stalled. 

Conversely, strong teams that practice regular collaboration and knowledge sharing will be more prepared to face any situation together, be it organizing a WordCamp or facing a transition in leadership. For instance, if an organizer needs to suddenly step away due to an emergency, another team member would be able to step in and cover those tasks. 

Diverse teams have extended reach and depth

When it comes to growing your team, think about how inclusive and diverse you are across gender, culture, age, etc. With more organizers and volunteers with different experiences and backgrounds, you’ll be able to leverage each other’s unique perspectives, not to mention skill sets, to tackle any situation. Diverse teams have an easier time growing naturally as well, as your community will be able to more readily see themselves reflected in the team. This diversity can also be immensely helpful when it comes to vetting speakers for your meetup or WordCamp. For example, perhaps you don’t have very much experience when it comes to accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) standards, but a teammate has lots of experience with that. They are sure to know someone who could give that talk well.

In addition, larger teams naturally have a wider network available to them. When it comes to reaching out to your community, whether it be for sponsors, speakers, or more volunteers, it will be that much easier to do so with a vast network! 

Resilient teams thrive on transparency and delegation

If you are put into a team or committee lead position but never had any experience in leading a team of people, keep three things in mind: be transparent, delegate often, and trust others. By following these principles, you lead by example and foster a culture of collaboration.

For example, try to document and share all the knowledge so everyone can follow along. Hold conversations in public channels as much as possible. Don’t hoard tasks – remember that you, as a lead, are there to facilitate the collaboration of the team members. Creating psychological safety within a team is key to success, and opening up and trusting each other are essential ingredients towards that.

What do you think? What is your favorite part of working with your WordPress organizing team? 

#tuesdaytrainings

Tuesday Trainings: Practising Open Communication

Strong communication within a local organising team is one of the keys to a well-managed community. When it comes to open-source communities, especially when discussions are almost exclusively held online, making things public will enhance the impact and value of that communication exponentially.

Open communication is, however, an easy thing to forget when it comes down to it – talking about things in private channels is frequently quicker and easier, or at least feels quicker and easier, even if it isn’t. This makes it easy to fall into a pattern of keeping conversations private amongst organisers, although it’s usually done largely out of convenience and speed rather than any sort of intent to hoard control.

Benefits of open communication

In order to push us towards openness, let’s look at some of the benefits of open communication:

Greater community buy-in

When you make decisions in public, people have a much easier time buying into what you have decided, even if they haven’t been involved in the decision-making process. People might not speak up during a discussion, or provide any actual feedback at the time, but the fact that they were able to see the process taking place gives them an inherent bias toward agreement and approval.

Increased engagement

Many of your community members might want to be more engaged, but they struggle to find the time or motivation – this is for a variety of reasons, many of which are out of your control. One thing that you can do to increase engagement, however, is to make your discussions public. Holding conversations in a space where everyone can follow along gives your community members a chance to get involved and to become further engaged. Even if they choose not to take part in a specific conversation, it shows them that they can be a part of your decision-making process, which is a great encouragement for them to remain connected to the community.

More ideas

One of the open-source principles included in the WordPress contributor training is “with many eyes, all bugs are shallow” – this is equally true of community building as it is of software development. If you involve more people in your discussions, then you will have a greater resource of ideas and input to learn from.

Greater trust

Many people have an inherent mistrust of people in power and will frequently second-guess your motivations and decisions, assuming that you are only serving your own interests and not those of the community. You know what your true motivations are, so you need to do what you can to reassure people that they are in good hands. One of the ways you can do that is by discussing things publicly and engaging the community in your conversations. If you do that, it will build trust with the members of your community and they will more readily believe that your motivations are noble and that you are working their best interests in mind.

How to practise open communication

With all of that in mind, and seeing how public discussions can really make your work in your community significantly easier, here are some practical steps you can take to make sure you practise open communication as much as possible.

Use a public SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. channel

Many organising teams use Slack for their event planning. This is a great idea as it allows you to have a searchable history of your communication as a team. In order to make Slack even more beneficial to you as a team, you can make sure to use a public channel in your community Slack group. You can go a step further and make sure everyone in your community knows this is where you discuss your plans, by advertising the fact that you are using this open space. This goes a long way to maximising all of the benefits we looked at above.

Use a public P2P2 P2 or O2 is the term people use to refer to the Make WordPress blog. It can be found at https://make.wordpress.org/.

P2 is a WordPress theme designed to create a collaborative space that can effectively replace email (this blog uses a modified version of the P2 theme). Setting up a P2 for your local organising ream to use as a communication space allows all of your conversations to take place in a central location and not be tied into a series of private email threads. You can set up a P2 for free on WordPress.comWordPress.com An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content. WordPress.com is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. https://wordpress.com/, or simply download and install the theme on any WordPress site.

This allows anyone to follow or comment on your plans with ease. You can even link your P2 to your Slack channel so that all new posts show up in there, maximising their visibility.

Publish meeting notes

Even if you maintain public spaces, like Slack and P2, there will always be conversations that happen on calls or in other areas that are not open to everyone. In those instances, you can use your P2 as a record of these meetings by publishing notes and summaries of what you spoke about. This allows all of your discussions to be publicly available for review and comment. You can, of course, remain selective about what you publish in your notes, so sensitive matters can still be kept private where necessary.

Ask the community

One of the keys to soliciting quality feedback, especially in a public forum like a P2, is to ask the right questions to the right people. With a public place for discussions, you can ask your community for their input on your work and gather input from a variety of sources. When doing so, you need to keep your questions specific and open-ended. You should ask for feedback about individual decisions but ask for further input, rather than simply gathering yes/no answers. This way you will allow your community to be involved in decisions that will affect them, and you will be able to pull together useful and actionable feedback.

Do you have any other tips for how to practise genuine open communication? Share them below!

#tuesdaytrainings

Tuesday Trainings: Online Event Formats

With things ever-changing for our events program within this global pandemic, it feels appropriate to focus the first installment of our Tuesday Trainings on our online events program. Just as we’re adjusting different aspects of our lives while our home communities are working on physical distancing, the Global Community Team is continuing to work on ways to continue bringing the WordPress community together.

Community deputies have currently turned most of our attention to how best to support organizers in focusing on online events. For a primer as you get started, deputies have prepared a new handbook for online events

In this handbook, you will find guidelines for online events, tools for online Meetups and WordCamps, additional available resources, and our code of conduct for online events. This handbook is constantly being updated, so be sure to bookmark it for future reference.

What hasn’t been shared yet are recommendations for formats of events that can be hosted online to continue to benefit your local communities during this time of physical distancing. Here are some ideas that MeetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. and WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. organizers have tried, which you can use for inspiration!

Online Meetup Events

  • Invite speakers from your community to deliver their session remotely, using Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, or other free online meeting tools.
  • Invite speakers from other Meetups to deliver their session remotely, using online meetup tools.
  • Play talks of interest from WordPress.tv during the Meetup event.
  • Online Lightning Talks are a great way to help new speakers and encourage participation.
  • Online Q & A sessions at Meetup events are always a good way to help the audience with specific questions and find out what their interests are.
  • Online Help Desk:  Members ask for help with their WordPress sites, and other members support them.
  • Online co-working hour: Have an online meeting where members drop in and work alongside each other — like a virtual co-working space or coffee shop.

Online WordCamps

  • Invite speakers to present sessions online.
  • Invite speakers to pre-record content on a video to stream during the live online event.
  • Support Desks to support folx in your community with questions needing individualized attention.
  • Host interactive Trivia games.
  • Virtual Hallway Tracks in Zoom rooms to encourage conversation and serendipitous meetings.

Additional Online Event Types

Have you tried any event types not listed here? Do you have additional ideas for online event formats? Please share your ideas and feedback in the comments section!

#tuesdaytrainings

Tuesday Trainings: a new series!

I’m excited to announce a new series of posts beginning here on the Community P2P2 P2 or O2 is the term people use to refer to the Make WordPress blog. It can be found at https://make.wordpress.org/. next week. I’m calling them Tuesday Trainings.

What are Tuesday Trainings all about?

It’s a series of content created by WordPress Community deputies and volunteers to share knowledge and help to train organizers and interested community members in a variety of skills while also adding additional training documentation to our handbooks.

The content will come in a variety of formats including blog posts, recorded presentations, discussions, and workshops. Each week on Tuesday we I’ll highlight a different topic right here with the #tuesdaytrainings tag.

Here are just few of the upcoming trainings topics:
* Best practices for communicating online
* Events that can be run online to keep your community connected
* Different (and valid) types of team leadership
* How to handle transitions in community leadership
* WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. Budgets
* Giving and receiving feedback
* WordCamp Mentorship best practices
* Conflict de-escalation
* Handling/taking CoC reports

The list goes on and on and on some more.

What now?

If you’re interested in learning from these trainings, follow along here for the trainings and announcements about the trainings. If you’d like to contribute your knowledge for a Tuesday Training comment below or email me at support@wordcamp.org

Cheers to learning!