Strengths and Challenges: Organization

In my post following up on project strengths and challenges, I sorted the requests from contributors into three different groups. I also addressed some of the major communication issues that were identified and I’ve been thinking about how best to manage each of the two tasks I assigned myself.

The asynchronous AMAs are going to have a public Slack channel for collecting questions (#leadership-ama) and public posts on this site with the answers (using the tag #ama).

The Weekly Digest has been a little harder. I have a good idea of the information I need, but it’s been a lot of work from team reps and I always want to be respectful of everyone’s time. So, I was hoping you all would join me in an experiment.

A New Concept of Team Leadership

Let’s refresh our memories of the major organization issues that were identified:

  • Understanding of roles, leadership structures, and decision making
  • Understanding of self-sponsored volunteering vs company-sponsored and how much time any volunteer has available to contribute
  • Proactive identification of issues that could affect the whole project
  • Smoother transitions for component maintainers (both with code and without code)
  • Ways to help WordPress make a positive change in the broader context of the web

These issues (along with a desire to be good stewards of volunteer time and talent), led the Community Team to try a structure that included reps who had training on basic open source/WordPress philosophies as well as some leadership best practices. You can read more about that on their site if you’d like.

I would like to take a cue from the success the Community Team has had with clarifying their roles and structures. I suggest we experiment by identifying single team leads who have training and clearly established responsibilities/expectations.

I think that by doing this, we could clarify what the organization needs from leaders of contributor teams and how to elevate concerns of the teams more effectively. We also “open source” our foundations of leadership and make it easier for contributors to move in and out of volunteering as their time allows. I think we could easily address a lot of worries accepting un-ending maintainership and burnout while we’re at it.

Share your feedback!

I’ve seen this work really well on the Community Team, so to be candid, I really believe this experiment will be a success. I’d love to know what you think of this idea. If you have thoughts about how this might help or hinder the important work we do in WordPress, please share them in a comment on this post!