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#1
This thread is part of the Maemo Brainstorm 2010

What needs doing to improve the productivity, efficiency and transparency of the maemo.org team? How can the community be more productive working on community-driven tasks?

Propose your ideas and suggestions here, let's talk about it, and summarise the best ideas and conclusions in the Brainstorm 2010/Community workings wiki page
 

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#2
Hopefully, out of this brainstorm, we'll get a series of high-level, concrete goals for (say) the next 6 months.

Each of these should be assigned to a paid contributor (to ensure continuity, and clear responsibility).

Micro-planning, on a task-by-task basis, is probably unnecessary (apart from any liaison with other teams as required). However, every 4 weeks, the person responsible should write a few paragraphs and push them out to one of the main communication channels with how things are shaping up.

Similar to the progress reports for GSoC, these could go to the most appropriate mailing list, or a blog syndicated to Planet.

Having task-oriented, rather than people-oriented, reporting should help prevent things like SSO falling through the cracks by making clear to the stakeholders (the community) what the issues are and where we can help (such as lobbying for extra resources).
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#3
Hi,

Originally Posted by Jaffa View Post
Each of these should be assigned to a paid contributor (to ensure continuity, and clear responsibility).
Micro-planning, on a task-by-task basis, is probably unnecessary (apart from any liaison with other teams as required). However, every 4 weeks, the person responsible should write a few paragraphs and push them out to one of the main communication channels with how things are shaping up.
We disagree here, I think.

Allowing paid contributors to take high-level tasks without breaking them down into small digestible pieces (which could potentially be done by a volunteer) has led to the situation where no progress is reported until just before (or even during) the sprint meetings.

IMHO, the paid contributors role is not to do, it's to enable. And micro-planning on a task by task basis enables. Monthly reporting does not. In an ideal work, the paid contributors would not be doing all the work. Unfortunately, the way we've been working allows (perhaps even forces) the community to leave everything to the man whose name is beside the task. Smaller tasks = more opportunities to put your own name beside the task.

I would like to see paid staff taking responsibility for a bigger task, and breaking it down into smaller chunks so that we can see continual progress - and if a chunk looks too big or vague to get done, then it needs clarification & further breaking down.

Cheers,
Dave.
 

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#4
Originally Posted by dneary View Post
Allowing paid contributors to take high-level tasks without breaking them down into small digestible pieces (which could potentially be done by a volunteer) has led to the situation where no progress is reported until just before (or even during) the sprint meetings.
As you'll know, I've been continually pushing for people committing to tasks having them realistic and (recognisably) achievable. However, people still said "I'll fix all bugs" or "Upgrade to 7.2".

IMHO, the paid contributors role is not to do, it's to enable. And micro-planning on a task by task basis enables. Monthly reporting does not. In an ideal wor[ld], the paid contributors would not be doing all the work.
Well, that's good - because at the moment there are tasks which don't seem to being worked on at all!

Unfortunately, the way we've been working allows (perhaps even forces) the community to leave everything to the man whose name is beside the task. Smaller tasks = more opportunities to put your own name beside the task.
Smaller tasks good, but there have been complaints about overhead; as are finding a way of sharing your (plural) responsibilities. I don't see why, though, reporting and breaking up tasks into smaller chunks can't go hand-in-hand.

The single biggest problem with the paid contributors, in my opinion, is that reporting is buried in Qaiku or dragged out of people as a sprint ends. As your customer, I'm fed up of it. Tell me what you're working on, or we'll stop paying ;-)

I would like to see paid staff taking responsibility for a bigger task, and breaking it down into smaller chunks so that we can see continual progress - and if a chunk looks too big or vague to get done, then it needs clarification & further breaking down.
Isn't that what's exactly not been working recently? Tasks look too big or vague, aren't broken down and then just don't get done. Requests for clarification get ignored or responded to with "was just too busy to complete it". Despite having committed to complete is as a "must-have" item.

Well, if you're just too busy, either break it down and ask for help with specifics or come to the Council and say "we can't do X because we haven't got time, please ask Nokia to pay for a larger availability".
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#5
Hi,

Originally Posted by Jaffa View Post
Well, that's good - because at the moment there are tasks which don't seem to being worked on at all!
Committed tasks? For example?

Smaller tasks good, but there have been complaints about overhead; as are finding a way of sharing your (plural) responsibilities. I don't see why, though, reporting and breaking up tasks into smaller chunks can't go hand-in-hand.
I have also complained about overhead. It's not a problem for me to break down tasks into TODO lists & keep that updated, but if I have to report progress in 3 or 4 different places (potentially, qaiku, sprint wiki page, the wiki page dedicated to the Task: and any Bugzilla bugs associated with items on the TODO list) that gets cumbersome, quickly.

If, in addition, I have to track discussion in several places (IRC, Talk, mailing lists, wiki talk pages, blogs) to see if anyone else is working on similar things or would like to collaborate or doesn't like how I'm doing things, then I'm spending a couple of hours a day just staying on top of the information flow, and there's a good chance that (a) he won't see what I'm doing and (b) I won't see what he's saying (plus, there are really too many forums! I can only realistically check 2 every day for new posts, or I spend all my time in Talk!).

So I have no problem breaking down tasks, but the reporting associated with it has gone beyond cumbersome.

The single biggest problem with the paid contributors, in my opinion, is that reporting is buried in Qaiku or dragged out of people as a sprint ends.
I *hope* I'm not one of the people falling into that category - but please let me know if I am.

It seems like some people who take tasks for Maemo have other bosses than the community - unlike Niels, Jeremiah, Stskeeps, Andre and
myself, and they presumably have their own management & reporting structures. If they were active in the mailing list, that would mitigate the apparent lack of transparency, but it doesn't seem that they are, for the most part.

I agree with you that "too busy, carry forward" is not an acceptable answer, but more of the same is not an acceptable solution

Cheers,
Dave.
 
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#6
Originally Posted by dneary View Post
Committed tasks? For example?
From memory, so these are ones I've got that impression of at the moment: SSO; Bugzilla 3.4; Garage styling; Bugzilla styling. But there've been many in the past (I think).

I have also complained about overhead. It's not a problem for me to break down tasks into TODO lists & keep that updated, but if I have to report progress in 3 or 4 different places (potentially, qaiku, sprint wiki page, the wiki page dedicated to the Task: and any Bugzilla bugs associated with items on the TODO list) that gets cumbersome, quickly.
True, but I'm proposing one primary communication channel for macro-updates, and the original source/Qaiku being for the micro-blogging/hit-by-a-bus stuff.
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