Connecting Outreach, Community Management, and Ethnography - and streamlining organizational processes

We already had a meeting on this with the outreach team and @IvanC will also help in setting up the agendas. On Mondays before the call everyone will be asked to add topics. We already know that the next one is entirely dedicated to POPREBEL. In this way we will always have structure and we’ll also limit time for interventions, to make it more effective.

Same here. It usually takes a couple of months for people to get on board. We could think of a better system for onboarding, for example organizing special short and on point training sessions rather than just leaving the newcomers with a large amount of manuals. I would be happy to do this from the admin side (as until now) and RezNet in general.

If this would be useful for everyone, I’m up for it.

Just to add, I am seeing people around me being very frustrated and unhappy. We are getting bigger and with that also more disconnected it seems, I would say on both the personal and professional levels.

This year was heavy anyways…I’m dropping here an idea to organize a Christmas gathering in Belgium (if Covid allows…). Kind of like a mini-retreat, maybe a couple of days somewhere in nature for those who can come. Willing to arrange the whole thing if the team is in :slight_smile:


Definitely in, covid allowing :slight_smile:


Me too!


You have my full support in trying this out, as I share your concerns and think we benefit from experimentation on this front. Godspeed!

Yay! I’m in!


@andreja, I noticed your comment on the Riot— if you want to add to this discussion, it might help for knowing how to start improving organization and workflow! Any and all info on your experience will help me think about what to start working on. And @nadia your updates on todoist/PMs

Hi Everyone,
I suggest we kill use of both Dynalist and Private messages for coordination of work moving forward.

Some of us (@IvanC , @bojanbobic , @marina , @noemi ) have been testing a task and project management software called TODOIST.

The idea here is to make it easier for all of us to keep track of who is doing when, what, where… support time reporting (so we can ensure consistency and audit readiness), ask questions about specific tasks and get answer in the right place, dynamically move deadlines, break down tasks into subtasks etc. And make sure that every task is tied to a specific project so we dis entagle the work to make time reporting feasible.

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  • While general conversations and rough coordination does happen in the platform, riot etc - a task is a task when it is put into the todoist, allocated to a person with a specific deadline. The person then marks it as done with a link to the deliverable if there is one, or explains if it is not the kind of task where you see the end result on the platform. A task disappears from the list dynamically when it is completed.

  • If deadline is missed: The team leader and the person to whom the task is assigned get notifications on the day of the deadline.

  • Tasks for funded projects are added freely, by anyone in the group - but they can then be sorted by project manager as being tied to a specific deliverable or milestone after the fact. Or if someone requests.a task/assigns it to someone, the person can ask clarifying questions e.g if they are unsure if this is covered by budget - needs to know how it would need to be reported in the time reporting in order for it to be. Before they spend time doing it.

  • People are only added to work groups for projects in which they are involved: Which means the noise goes down because you don’t get notifications from threads in projects in which you are not involved etc. But you still get notification for threads and conversations which interest you.

Switching over to this is ofcourse voluntary and consent based. I will add everyone to the projects that they are involved in. You can accept or ignore if you like.


Amen to killing private messages for coordination – I think that’s something everyone can get on board with immediately.

I’ve never used Todoist before but will definitely accept the invite and check it out. Looks like a clean interface!

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Cool, willing to try. How do I get access?

i sent you an invitation to

Private messages simply do not work for coordination. Same goes for email, fb messages, Riot/ element, posts on the platform etc.

As far as I am concerned if it is not put on todoist as a task: assigned to a person, with a deadline- it is not a task anyone can rely on being done by anyone else. We get into trouble because there is often a gap where this information gets lost somewhere in the conversations.

Seen from here the persons responsible for managing a project are also responsible for ensuring that they have clearly assigned the task to a person, with a deadline, and provide whatever materials they need to get the task in question done in a way that is visible to the person and the rest of their team. This is the way I see us clearing up some of the mess.


cc @andreja @MariaEuler @estragon - moved this out from the thread so its in the right place.

Concrete todoist use questions:

  1. I have aproblem filtering for my own tasks that are not assigned to specific day. Is there a trick to do it easily?
  2. Do people still see comments on tasks that have been marked as done?
  1. There is a Filter on the left side: Filter → Assigned to me which I think renders all the active tasks. Doesn’t it work for you?

  2. I do see them but only I I go through the tasks themselves! NB: We don’t get notifications on comments unless the sender selects ‘‘Change people to notify’’ in the upper right of the Comments box.

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thank you, that is very helpful.

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yes I try to keep them to only the people who need to see the note.

On the topic of biweekly calls, here’s more info: H2020 Biweekly team calls - new structure

We have no real internal way of dealing with interpersonal conflict, especially in hierarchical situations (and particularly where someone new is having trouble with someone who has been around for a while). This has some bad effects. Many of us who are external to the hierarchy or team in question find ourselves doing emotional and interpersonal support work, often without being able to help formally. There’s a reason most organisations have either an HR person or a welfare officer, depending on the kind of org. This is another situation where formal structures are our friend – firstly because when people know the expectations of them, it is easier to feel safe and to meet them. Secondly, when people have a clear understanding of who they can safely talk to when they have issues, anxiety levels decrease and problems don’t get out of control – they can be dealt with early at a small level.

The ER Board agreed last year to designate me as a kind of HR ombudsman who can listen to anyone’s issues, complaints, problems, etc. without prejudice who is then empowered to try to find resolution among the parties. I am still available for anyone in this org who wants to bring something up where there could be a path to resolution with some authority behind it.

I have seen a lot of HR issues in my career and have a naturally sympathetic ear. So far, nobody has taken me up on this. New people probably don’t even know about it, and the one time I tried to bring someone back into the fold via such a conversation, I was refused.

But the offer still stands. I will not breech a confidence if that is required. And I will not have a secondary agenda other than clarity and everyone’s wellbeing. But generally such issues need to have the relevant parties come to some sort of table to talk things out in a moderated fashion with someone as a fair witness. The Board wanted me to be that person and again, I am available to anyone in this org who wishes it.

I have been involved in some of the hiring based on this role, but lately not. I think that’s ok for the most part, especially because I am simply so far away and lately have had a number of serious local issues. But they have not made such a role unworkable.


True. In 2020 we tried to be more structured, for example having a senior person completely outside the recruiting process do the last interview. Time will tell if that is good enough. We also tried to structure more of an onboarding funnel. But, hey, humans, eh? It’s hit and miss. If we could reduce the misses, that would be great.

Not completely true. At the beginning of 2020, @johncoate agreed to be the HR contact point, the listening person – I believe we used the word “ombusdman”. If you are at odds with someone you are reporting to, John would be the first port of call. But it is true that this was in the documentation from the latest retreat, rather than in a clearly visible place. I will now add it to the onboarding manual.

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Yep… totally agree :slight_smile:

Great! I didn’t know this info so it would definitely be good to have it in a central and visible location.

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I put it in section 3.1 (now called Orientation, mentorship and what to do in case of problems) of the Onboarding Manual. The Onboarding Manual itself is a stand-alone topic, which makes it easier to reach by search, but is also a part of the Company Manual. Do you think it should go somewhere else?

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