Update Project Management / Kanban Categories

I’d like to update the tags we use for project management.

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? Answer: Meeting reports in Slack. Read details of decision at (Done) Decide where to host meeting reports, Hub or Slack
  • 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

Most Updated Proposal

Discussion on the SoFA Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SociocracyForAll/permalink/787419781801618/

Deciding

Implementing

Update project management tags
Update Kanban theme component
Update Documenting Organizational Policies and Projects [Draft]

Evaluating

Questions good for evaluating: Update Project Management / Kanban Categories - #12 by deborahchang

@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.

I’m experimenting now with removing “ongoing” or “recurring” completely. The reason for this is because I think maybe, anything that would have been a recurring task should actually be tracked in our documentation and/or our roles, anyway. And if there’s something that needs to be done in the future, we could create a post that gets published on a certain date in the future as a way to keep us on track.

Feedback from Sierra S. It would be very helpful to have clear definitions of each of the tags, especially the difference between understanding and exploring.

I put #ongoing back in because we may need to use ongoing for things like the partners tracker.

I’m also now playing around with #reporting being #documenting instead. Documentation very clearly connects with needing to document on Hub, but we can also add that documentation is figuring out where to publish policies and where to capture learnings.

@Sophie.Xu What do you think about the idea of replacing #reporting with #documenting? The reason I think this might be the right step is because reporting is part of documenting and using the word documenting emphasizes that we need everything documented on the Hub under #documentation.

If we make this change, then the phases are now

  • Idea
  • Understanding (we’re understanding this projects historical context, who’s impacted, and who should be consenting to the final decision)
  • Exploring (we’re generating ideas)
  • Deciding (we have a full proposal and are looking for clarity, consent and/or objections)
  • Ready (the proposal has been consented to but we don’t have the capacity to actively work on it yet)
  • Implementing (we’re putting the decision into practice)
  • Evaluating (we’re evaluating how well the decision is going)
  • Documenting (we’re reporting our evaluation and our learnings, documenting the process for accessibility and sustainability, and sharing it out as well as celebrating accomplishments)
  • Ongoing (project is now active and the responsibility of someone to maintain it regularly - e.g. an ongoing partner)
  • Done (yay!)
  • Not Doing (we’ve decided this project doesn’t fit our vision mission values aims and/or strategy)

Our documentation is being managed by the Knowledge Explorer plug-in.
https://hub.youthpowercoalition.org/t/customize-knowledge-explorer/520/2

I’ve already changed this in our first post as the most updated proposal.

UPDATE: I’m realizing now that documenting and documentation are way to similar and may be just too confusing and annoying, so changing back to reporting.

I’m not sure what the solution is, but I think somewhere we’re missing where in the project management process do we set term limits. My confusion here relates to thinking through how we might make sure policies do have term limits and where those term limits are documented. I’m thinking documenting it via the Hub makes sense, but it seems like there may be no good solution.

See my conversation with the Discourse community about deadlines / due dates here.

https://meta.discourse.org/t/what-are-options-for-handling-due-dates-deadlines/175428

I just turned #reporting into #sharing because sharing is about sharing lessons learned including when things fail, spreading practices, celebrating, etc. reporting seems more constrained.

I also had a thought about what we could do to organize the info. We could create a series in the learning library about how we use project management. Each status could have its own topic so that people can crowdsource tools they like using at that stage.

We reserve documentation for things that are uniquely YPC, like how to indicate status changes on the Hub, how to install a status board, etc.

These sets of questions from the Network Weaver Handbook would be an example of something we would put in the “Evaluating” topic.

In a collective sense making session, have groups working on each leverage point answer the following questions.

  1. What are your first thoughts about your collaborative project? Did it have the impact you expected? Why do you think that was so?

  2. What assumptions did you have going into the project? Do you still think those assumptions make sense or have you modified them? How would your changed assumptions change the way you do your projects?

  3. How did your project appear to impact other elements in the system? Was that what you expected? What can we learn from its impact on other parts of the system?

  4. Those of you working on this leverage point had several projects, each with a somewhat different approach? What did you notice about these differences? Did any of those differences make more of a difference than the others?

  5. What did you notice about how people worked together? How can we apply that to future work?

  6. Were there any roadblocks? How did you deal with them? What was easier than you thought? Why was that so? What had a greater impact than you thought? Why was that? What did you do that was really not that successful or necessary? How could you have noticed and stopped doing it sooner?

  7. Are there any shifts happening in the area where you are working? Have you noticed any things that may be opportunities for us to build on?

At Sociocracy for All, they use “lead-do-measure” which roughly aligns with

  • lead: all the steps related to planning (understand, explore, decide)
  • do: implementing
  • measure: evaluating

Part of me wonders if we should change “implementing” to “doing” and “evaluating” to “learning”.

This is another resource for the evaluating / learning phase shared from Stephanie N.

Screenshot of Preview (3-13-21, 1-26-45 PM)

Image Description

Screenshot of a document called Katrina Learning Template which lays out the following sections as one leading to the next in a circular manner

Start Here →

Beliefs
When Katrina hit, what were our beliefs about responding? What assumptions did we make? On the basis of what data?

Intentions
What intentions did we hold? What outcomes did we desire to create?

Actions
What actions did we take?

Outcomes
What were the outcomes for staff? For hurricane victims? For Kansas clients? (consider unintended as well as intended consequences)

Based on the outcomes, what do we now believe about our response? What might we learn from this? How might it be applied to responding to Kansas?
Consider New Intentions, Actions and Desired Outcomes

Copyright 2005
Please feel free to copy and distribute with acknowledgment of OMEGA POINT INTERNATIONAL, Inc. as author info@omegapoint.net

Here’s a blank version of the template above, but missing the fifth category of questions which, if we adopt, we could title “Learnings”

Screenshot of Preview (3-13-21, 1-32-59 PM)

Image Description

Screenshot of a document titled “Learning Template Definitions” which lays out the following sections as one leading to the next in a cyclical manner where “Actions” leads right back to “Outcomes”

Beliefs
a conviction that certain things are true; an opinion, expectation or judgment
Note: Key beliefs to consider include the unique contribution of individuals and the organizing effort itself and views regarding current reality and external forces influencing change. Beliefs reflect each person’s life experience. Learning to explore beliefs by identifying assumptions and linking beliefs to actual data is a key leverage point for new insights.

Intentions
determination to do a specified thing or act in a specified manner
Note: Intentions are proactive (vision, mission, guiding principles, strategies) while expectations are reactive. An expectation is defined as anticipation – looking for something that is due, proper, or necessary.

Actions
the doing of something; being in motion or operation
Note: Actions include behaviors, words, and choices made in decision-making.

Outcomes
result; consequence; aftermath
Note: In considering results, it’s important to consider diverse realities and to look for unintended consequences.

Feedback from William. He likes “reflecting” over “learning” and “evaluating”

The Statoil Performance Process from Implementing Beyond Budgeting has a great WHAT / HOW framework for this project management process.

Where are we going? // Who we are

  1. Vision Strategy // Values
  2. Strategic Objectives, Risks, Indicators // People and leadership principles

How do we get there? // How we work
3. Action planning: delivery and risk // behavior management
4. Execution: resource allocation, forecasting, follow-up, feedback

How did we do? // What we learned
5. Results: evaluation, reward and recognition, learning

After trying our projects board out a little bit, I’m finding it hard to delineate between different phases. How about let’s radically simplify?

  • Idea
  • Todo (we’ve decided that yes, we’re going to do this and we’re going to do this next)
  • Doing (we’re going through ALL the steps: understanding, exploring, deciding, implementing, reflecting, sharing)
  • Waiting (we’re waiting on something else before taking this work forward)
  • Ongoing (project is now active and the responsibility of someone to maintain it regularly - e.g. an ongoing partner)
  • Done (yay!)
  • Not Doing (we’ve decided this project doesn’t fit our vision mission values aims and/or strategy) - close and leave off of Kanban Board

I’m wondering do we need waiting? Or does that go back to to do but tagged with blocked or waiting.
I’m also wondering do we need ongoing? Or is that just policy or done.