Update Project Management / Kanban Categories

I’d like to update the tags we use for project management. The tags related to our project management stages are currently:

  • idea
  • scoping
  • ready
  • in-progress
  • evaluating
  • sharing
  • done
  • ongoing
  • not-doing
  • blocked

My hope for the update is to make them align with our Sociocracy practices and our Advice process in a way that is not too difficult to use but provides enough structure to make sure all of our decisions are made in an equity-centered, co-creative, and build-in-public way.

Understanding

  • Who are most impacted?
  • Who are experts?
  • What’s the balance between lightweight and powerful but complex?
  • To what extent does this need to be adopted throughout the organization?
  • How should training happen?
  • Who’s responsible for managing their circle’s Kanban Board if at all?
  • How does this project management system tie in with the rest of our communications platforms?
  • Where are we posting meeting reports? It’s traditionally been in Slack but are we for posting it here instead?
  • To what extent do we distinguish between projects and tasks? e.g. this project is much more complex than changing the name of meeting summaries to meeting reports.
  • What are measures of success and/or non-success?
  • How do we define each stage. For example, this resource might help for the understanding phase! The Impact Gap Canvas.

Exploring

Current Proposal

  • Idea
  • Understanding (previously scoping) (we’re understanding this projects historical context, who’s impacted, and who should be consenting to the final decision)
  • Exploring (previously in-progress) (we’re generating ideas)
  • Deciding (previously in-progress) (we have a full proposal and are looking for clarity, consent and/or objections)
  • Ready (we’ve discussed the idea and prioritized it but don’t have the capacity to actively work on it yet)
  • Implementing (previously in-progress) (we’re putting the decision into practice)
  • Evaluating (we’re evaluating how well the decision is going)
  • Reporting (previously sharing) (we’re reporting our evaluation and our learnings and sharing it out as well as celebrating accomplishments)
  • Done (yay!)
  • Recurring (previously ongoing) (whatever the project is, it’s now a repeating task)
  • On Hold (previously blocked) (we’re still committed but something is blocking forward progress) (or maybe we just call this blocked)
  • Not Doing (we’ve decided this project doesn’t fit our vision mission values aims and/or strategy)

Discussion on the SoFA Facebook Group

Deciding

Implementing

Update project management tags
Update Kanban theme component
Update How do we document organizational policies, meeting minutes, and project updates?

@Sophie.Xu I’d love your input on this project. Please see the notes above and comment! :heart:

I’m going to put this on hold because it could be related to testing out the teams version of Discourse.

It’s been great getting to know you through your participation here, and I like the idea of working with you on a Discourse for Teams trial. :+1:

You’re welcome to spin up a 30 day free trial today - the credentials are below. Please give me an hour or so first though because I am about to deploy and test a new round of improvements! You can have a poke around the site to learn about Teams but I suggest you wait to sign up until I get back to you with the all clear.

If you would like to extend the free trial in exchange for giving us feedback, let me know here. Generally we are looking for actionable feedback from actual users that helps us to improve the product. Ideally you’d set up a “Discourse Feedback” guest category on your site and invite me (tobiaseigen@gmail.com) and then you and your colleagues can start topics there to ask me questions, report bugs and make suggestions, and then discuss with me. Does that work for you? We can also look at alternative ways for you to give feedback.

http://teams.discourse.com/

To access the site you need to provide these credentials:

username: teams
password: *****

You will be asked for your credit card, but we won’t bill you.

@deborahchang Thank you for inviting me to this post! I also love the idea of rewording and redefining a lot of the terms and concepts you proposed.

  • For the “Understanding” section, I have a few questions about what, for instance, “experts” means because that term has a history of promoting the harmful construction of “professionalism.”

  • Furthermore, why would we strive for any balance between “lightweight and powerful but complex”? I guess I am looking for an example of a process or condition to which balance is applicable.

  • I love how you raised the point that this project management system might have to become ubiquitous in our communications, especially since we want our communications to be systematic and transparent.

  • I like questioning the balance between using Slack and this Hub platform too.

  • Perhaps we may evaluate synthesized actions as projects and tasks based on their duration for completion and/or their scope (i.e., the factors/layers and people involved).

  • May I ask where “non-success” comes into play in the context of project management? As in, maybe someone has not completed a project or has faced a roadblock and then we alter what label we assign to the status or validity of the project? Again, I feel I am missing a beat with the context for this Understanding.

A Side Note: As always, I think governance education is key to YPC’s internal group health, meaning every member must be civically engaged and a decision-maker. Thus, we maybe should create a circle similar to the existing #learning-sociocracy one, but for governance. Indeed, governance will become much more relevant as our org grows in members. Maybe this info could go in Far’s starter pack, too.

As for the proposal, I am looking forward to seeing the implementation of these terms. Before I tentatively consent to the terms’ clarity, I am wondering if you may please reply to address my below and above concerns.

  • I do think “recurring” is not synonymous with “ongoing,” though. The former implies that a task is repeating, as you stated, but the latter implies we are continuing with an extensive project’s individual parts. The project is a whole. “Recurring” implies that we are not focusing on the parts of the project/task but the whole, with the whole repeating.

  • Moreover, I am very curious about what a project that we are “implementing” would look like. May you provide an example of such?

I agree we need to discuss that! I think expert and professional means different things, and we are all experts in our lived experience, so I’m good with experts as the word (at least for now). We can definitely make it a point that by expertise we don’t mean credentials, though!

It’s complicated to learn any project management system. I’m thinking some circles won’t need a Kanban board while others may really benefit from it. Any system we build, we have to be ready to explore, so we’re going to have to make sure we put only the minimum amount of structure in.

See above! I think it’s really an open question… we DO need everyone to go through the understand, explore, decide, implement, evaluate process, but what are all the supports needed to make that happen, and does it have to happen via project management? Maybe not?

I’m thinking we could always keep Slack on the free version that will automatically show only the most recent 10,000 messages. That will force us to think carefully about what we really need saved and what we don’t.

Could you say more about this?

I think the wording does mean different things, but that they shouldn’t be different categories… I’m not too worried. Anything we decide now we can rename in a bit (like we tend to do :joy:)

Let’s say after the external comms team consents to the new newsletter content, they’ll have to actually implement it by putting it in Mailchimp, testing it out one last time, and scheduling it to send. That’s implementing. The consent decision has already been made and so now it’s being carried out.

Meanwhile, I’m going to actually make the tag changes right now in order to experiment with it! There may be some miscategorized topics here and there, but I think testing it out makes sense.