unMonastery Away Team - EdgeRyders answer to Amplified Teams?

So, unMonastery is changing - all the time. As the project moves forward in Matera and people are beginning to come and go, it’s clear that we now have the capacity and desire on the part of participants to structure a meaningful remote working team. Particularly with @elf Pavlik taking unPilgrimages across Europe to various shrines of the “sharing economy”, @Kei heading back to the USA to sort out a VISA and @la_gaia heading up networks in the UK.

With this in mind, I think it’s only going to work with structure and consistency, so I wanted to start a discussion about what that look likes and make some suggestions, then lets see what sticks. It would be really great to figure out 3 things in this process:

1) What’s an effective workflow and template for remote project work, which can be replicated by other EdgeRyder projects.

2) How to get more people involved; making it valuable for participants.

3) How to share real skills across borders and projects.

It seems the natural pattern for a working group should be centered around a weekly hangout - similar to the EdgeRyders community calls and for these to be based in work already being done (NOT MORE WORK).

Work already being done that makes sense as working teams for me.

  • [OpenTechSchool] Networks - Gaia has done a significant chunk of work surveying the unMonasterians and visualising their networks, she’s also been working to teach @kei and @k how to use ONA Surveys, Gephi and general understanding of SNA in the process. (Gaia)
  • [OpenTechSchool] Website Development - We’ve run into some trouble with keeping the website in shape since elf’s departure, mainly due to a lack of working structure, but it offers the opportunity to learn GitHub and I’m still keen to see full EdgeRyders integration. (elf and Kei)
  • [Sustainability Plan] unMonastery in-a-box - in the next weeks I’m going to be moving towards formulating the first steps in this process by deploying a wiki and collating everything into one place, rather than do this in isolation it would be great to do it as an online working group. That can act as an initiation space for others who may want to start an unMonastery. (Ben)
  • [Sustainability Plan] Fundraising Group - The classic weak spot, unMonastery needs funds and supporters in order to survive the early years and develop into a self sustaining infrastructure. Since there is now some pressure to raise funds, this one is a necessity. I’m thinking Form Storm crew have already set a good precedence for this. Imagine that we could also invite funders and sponsors to this kind of call. (Ben)

Have I missed anything?

Now the way I see this working is that each of these areas is currently led by someone, I’ve put this in brackets for each, this person/s right now are for the most part working in isolation but need help - so proposing running a weekly 1-2 hour session seems to be a good thing to do if it means you get help, which should be motivation enough to get this going.

Why would people help though?

  • Learning New Skills
  • Already part of unMonastery network
  • Want to start an unMonastery

I think our greatest incentive right now for newcomers is the possibility of teaching skills - and this is where Viral Academy methodology could come in. The basic framework @fortyfoxes outlined to me the other day seems like it could be highly effective here, I’d ask that he explains this in the comments below - particularly because if we can make this work, it would be a huge boost to the VA project.

Basic format I’m seeing:

  • Project Leader sets up a weekly call and sticks to a fixed time & day, is always there.
  • Project Leader creates a wiki on EdgeRyders with a summary (this is updated on a weekly basis), including:
    • 100 word description of what they’re doing.
    • Progress report, bullet points.
    • 3 point agenda for each weeks call.
    • Library of reading material and online courses that relate to the skills needed to help.
    • Inviting key experts to community calls to share their knowledge and troubleshoot progress so far. (i.e Someone who actually is a professional fundraiser)
    • Record each call with Hangout and provide links to previous ones, so people can play catch up.
    • Establish a working space (GitHub etc depending on project) - so work can continue in the week that passes.

Okay what are your thoughts?

and my questions to you:

Those who have already been working remotely, does this satisfy your needs?

Those who have already been working remotely, what issues and difficulities have you experienced?

Those working on #SpotTheFuture would you be interested is trying out something like this and improving it with your own projects? (@noemi and @nadia could you ping people that might be interested?)

What improvements and addons would you suggest to the format I’ve laid out?

Do you know of any good examples of other people working in this way?

Definitely need a structure along these lines

Thanks @Ben. Making these efforts visible and open for collaboration will be key. I could commit to posting, say, every Monday and having open hangouts once each week.

An initial thought to add to this outline - while working remotely I foresee planning one task/ project for specific days, so I think it would be good to have some sort of shared calendar system to show what each of us is working on and when. While GCal could work, maybe @elf Pavlik can suggest other tools?

facilitation, internal communication and structure

some regular external support and communication through the edgeryders network could be valuable. I am happy to initiate this.

Yes for 100 words format & progress reporting

I’m taking note and like this idea of Amplified teams for each project, although it may have come too late in this first unMon iteration to collect its benefits and do a better job at connecting people remotely, especially those outside the unMon community.

100 words is an exercise we should all be doing at times - especially when there’s more projects in parallel one tries to follow.

It may be useful given the unMonastery experience and the adversity pointed out by some as to documenting on edgeryders.eu to make a distinction between

  • internal documentation which happened anyway and
  • external documentation : short and sweet and focused on immediate needs that the Edgeryders community or other networks can help fulfill. hence the Call to Action we recommend in any post to make it effective and trigger responses.

But as usual, those who coordinate the projects would need to be the first in line OKing this way of working, since the responsibility falls onto their shoulders…