Replicating unMonastery : session documentation

Documentation for the Replicating the unMonastery session. The session was run through two break-out discussion sessions in small groups (4-6 people).

Break out group #1 - Tools 

Questions for group discussion

  • What are the tools, technologies & techniques you are using for capturing knowledge in your projects which you can recommend to others.

Break out group #2 - Process

Questions for group discussion

  • In your projects how do you ensure that knowledge sharing artefacts are captured?

Session documentation​

There were three separate break-out groups, the documentation from the first two is in text, the third is in attached images.

Group \#1 - Tools

Task Tracking

A task tracking system is an invaluable tool for any non-trivial project. A great tool would allow copying of projects to create new unMonasteries.

The following tools have been used and are recommended by our group members:

  • Trello
  • Asana
    • Has the feature of allowing “copy” of a project which copies all the tasks - this can be  used to duplicate projects easily
  • Wunderlist
  • Springpad

Mind mapping

General agreement that mind mapping tools are very useful.

General Project Management

  • basecamp is an easy to use tool which some of our team members have had good results with

Documents

  • We recommend make effective use of off-line & on-line tools
    • A large whiteboard or paper-covered wall for visually presenting and sharing information
    • To move the information into digital realm recommend taking photos of the wall/board and putting into digital documents
  • Blogging is a good way to disseminate information
    • One approach is to have a shared blog with a different person volunteering to document each meeting or other noteable event
  • Podcasts are one good way to share information

The following tools have been used and are recommended by our group members:

  • Google documents
    • Great because allows a group of people to collaborate on documents at the same time together
    • Not useable for all projects but recommend everyone evaluate and have it in their toolbox.
  • Dropbox

Group \#1 - Processes

  • Theory  → Practice → Reflection → Theory …
    • All the processes should include theory, practice and reflection components, each feeding into the next step thus creating a continuous improvement feedback loop.
  • unMonastery needs (at least) two documentation processes/procedures/rituals
    • day-to-day documentation process for capturing information about projects, meetings, events, etc.
    • higher-level summary/synthesis process which refines the captured knowledge into the essentials needed to duplicate the unMonastery
    • i.e. need to address both the low-level and the high-level picture
  • Understand that communication is hard…
    • Clearly communicating a message to another person is actually quite hard, need to understand this and accept that to really share knowledge with others requires quite a lot of effort
  • Build Rituals for positive sharing
    • e.g. “Beat the Monday blues ritual - on Monday every person writes one nice message to someone on a post-it and puts it on their desk anonymously”
  • Provide Template Documents
    • Provide good standard template documents so that the person who has to document a particular meeting/event/project/problem/etc. does not have to come up with the structure for the documentation in addition to the contents.
    • Noticeably decreases the amount of work needed to document.
    • Standardised documentation structure makes it easier to find and compare information
  • Do trial runs first
    • It is valuable to do a trial run on a small set of data/etc. first before committing to a particular structure
  • Make the documents visually well designed
    • A small thing but since everyone needs to look and edit these documents often it makes it more pleasant to do if they look good and the design indicates the document function.
    • e.g. standardised headers
    • e.g. decide on standard fonts for headings & body for all documents
    • e.g. use colour on heading to indicate document type
  • Standardise document naming
    • Having a standardised document (&filename) naming convention this makes it easy to find documentation

Group \#2 - Tools

  • video, sound recording,             -- feed to social media, own blog
  • photo, text / journal                         funding application process
  • water
  • Food -  
  • the human gathering  / human warmth
  • Principles ( as distinct from rules)
  • Evaluation tools:
    • measure communal outputs
    • group well being
    • individual sense of belonging
    • changes growth in participant circles
  • integrated documentation strategies
  • language and poetics

Group \#2 Processes

  • rituals
  • play, dance, body work, sounding
  • permission to fail -- notes from an unConfessional
  • balancing strategies: burn out watchdog, polar totems practice for processing triumphs and frustrations.

Pictures and Videos are a good way of conveying process.  Great importance is given to editing footage.

i.e. food// foot massages// good stuff to bring in local people and local community

How to communicate the good things going on?

Really important to…

Measure wellbeing/attendance/facts + figures                    Make videos and viral stuff

               in terms of projects                                       which clearly communicates the

                                                                                            same information.

Both are so important, need to be integral to every Un-Monastery project.

Some ideas for good processes

-          Rituals/human rites/ celebrates…  involving the global Un-Monastery community.  Labour Day.  International Womens’ Day.  Pagan ceremonies.  Harvest festivals.  Rolls over continents and time zones.  Every 26 days??!?!?

-          Who does kitchen/cleaning/dull tasks and how are these organised or administered?  Best practice and publicising best-practice.

-          The importance of recognising the importance of individual as well as collective projects, which form part of the Un-Monastery vehicle.

-          Burnout Monitors.  Changeable roles where people are mainly concerned with peoples’ physical and mental wellbeing.  This role should be part of Balance Strategies.

-          Uniforms.  Communicate meaning/intent/purpose to Edgeryder community and local community.

-          Physical stuff, integrated throughout the Un-Monastery way of working.  Body Work.  Martial Arts.  Dance.  Vibrating/singing.  Really important to break up the seriousness, headspace-ness and dullness of meetings/organising etc.

-          Permission to Fail.  Broadcasting/advertising failure online.  Reveal failure.  Un-Confessionals.    

Future problems around Co-option of the Un-Monastery model.  What to do when our processes are lifted and tried out elsewhere by people without the ethos or background or intent?  

4 step recipe to activate your unMonastery

  • : muscles - practicalities
  • : nerves - conceptual framework + metaphor stretch
  • : digestive tract - the kitchen as Goddess of Our Existence
  • : skin -  contact with the outer world
1 Like

Victor’s Session Planning

I thought it would be useful to share the exceptionally well constructed structure for this session that [vvorski] put together!

Lote3 : Session - Replicating unMonastery

Pattern languages and unMonastery in-a-box

Introduction

To produce the great changes needed for a better tomorrow we need to greatly multiply the number of grassroots projects. A key way of doing that is by sharing widely the learnings and best practices enabling successes to be repeated and mistakes avoided.

unMonastery should be a model not just for how to create an unMonastery but also how to share knowledge and collaborate on grassroots social change projects.

Key Questions

  • How can we capture tacit knowledge at each stage of unMonastery's development?
    • Tools & technologies
      • Online, offline, video, games
      • Collaboration around:
        • questions & problems
        • best practices
        • process improvement
    • Procedures
      • Who creates the documentation artefacts?
        • Everyone?
        • Selected scribes?
    • Motivation
      • How to ensure that it happens?
      • How to encourage sharing of failures as well as successes

Session organisation

  1. Overview & Introduction
  2. Break out group \#1
    1. discussion
    2. gather results
    3. present to group
  3. Break out group \#2
    1. discussion
    2. gather results
    3. present to group

Break out group \#1 - Tools

Questions for groups to discuss

  • What are the tools, technologies & techniques you are using for capturing knowledge in your projects
    • What works?
    • What doesn’t work?
    • What are the key features you wish your tools had but do not.

Group Output

  • List of tools, techniques & technologies you are using for capturing knowledge
    • Which you recommend & why?
    • Which you do not recommend & why?
    • What three features would your dream information sharing tool have which you don’t have access to now?

Break out group \#2 - Process

How to document, who should do it, and how to ensure it gets done?

Questions for groups to discuss

  • In your projects how do you ensure that knowledge sharing artefacts are captured in the midst of daily business & lack of time?
    • How to ensure that everyone understands the importance of information sharing?
    • How to structure your learning in such a way they are accessible to others?
  • What should be documented at the unMonastery?

Group to produce:

  • In a project how to ensure knowledge is captured and stored?
  • What should be documented at the unmonastery?

Tools - group \#1 Notes

Task Tracking

A task tracking system is an invaluable tool for any non-trivial project.

The following tools

  • Trello
  • Asana
    • Has the feature of allowing “copy” of a project which copies all the tasks - this can be  used to duplicate projects easily
  • Wunderlist

Mind mapping

General agreement that mind mapping tools are very useful.

  • popplet

Documents

  • Make effective use of off-line & on-line tools
  •  
2 Likes

Good structure.

Not sure about “exceptionally well”, but happy some people found the session valuable.

Perhaps this is what I would like to bring to edgeryders - the realisation that good structure is not constraining but freeing - it allows participants to concentrate on the important issues at hand rather then fluttering around with administrivia.

This should also be the goal of the documentation structures for the unMonastery - simple and well defined enough to be easy for every unMonk to learn and make second nature, flexible enough to accomodate all the important information, structured enough to make the resultant body of information easy to access.

V/.

quora/stackoverflow for activists?

Thinking about the sharing knowledge and best practices made me think that we need something like “stack overflow” or “quora” for the kinds of projects which the unMonastery is thinking of taking on… I wonder if something like this already exists or if building it could be considered as part of this project…

Indeed, great work

It is, indeed, great work. Thanks [vvorski] – all the more so because documentation is typically relatively unrewarding.

Just so that people know: Edgeryders features a task tracking functionality called CaseTracker, which is widely used by the community. Documentation in the dedicated section on the User Manual.

it was a beautifully structured session indeed

Thanks, [vvorski]. I would actually really like to borrow and customize this format (groups, reporting, iterative) for the FormStorm 3hours Online Edition in the first week of December. Will be great if we can talk any time you have time. What is your favourite communication channel? I’m @j32804 on twitter.