Team organization

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mirek2 mirek2
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Team organization

Hi guys,
Sorry for my lack of involvement lately, I've been very busy.

I've been thinking about our team lately and I'd really like to rethink the
way we work. I feel like we don't have the basics down, and that's a
gigantic issue that also reflects on our work. Part of the problem is that
the team doesn't have a clear structure -- we need leads to resolve
controversies and bring consistency to the whole of LibreOffice. As Theodor
Nelson writes (and Jan Borchardt reiterates [1]), "The integration of
software cannot be achieved by committee, where everyone has to put in
their own additions (featuritis again). It must be controlled by
dictatorial artists with full say on the final cut. " Not only that --
having leads means having clear go-to people for design-related problems
and allows more effective communication -- the communication chaos that we
currently have would be reduced.

I'm thinking we could have these positions:
* UX lead
* Visual design lead
* User testing lead

The *user testing lead* would see to it that whatever needs to be tested
gets tested and that the tests are carried out well. The lead wouldn't have
to personally take part in tests -- as we have volunteers all over the
world, that would sometimes be impossible -- but they would have to make
sure that the tests get done and are sufficiently accurate to be useful.
The *visual design lead* would oversee all visual design related work. That
means making sure that all graphical elements that are needed get made and
follow a certain style. It also means creating visual design and branding
guidelines and style guides when they're needed.
The *UX lead* would care for the general UX of LibreOffice. That means
bringing attention to important UX bugs, watching over their progress, and
cooperating with the user testing lead, the visual design lead, and
developers based on what each bug requires. It also involves refining the
design process, from the bug report stage all the way to implementation.

It should be noted that these positions would pertain only to the software,
not to related projects such as the websites, social networks, branding
material, etc., to keep the workload lighter. However, rules and guidelines
for the software would apply to these projects when relevant. To further
lighten the workload, larger projects (e.g. Android remote, color
management, etc.) could have their own lead as well. The project lead would
report to the three leads listed above.

Having these three positions would change only the way we work within the
design team. The relationship of the team with other teams would not change
-- devs would still get the final say and leads would have no special roles
or privileges within TDF.

Anyway, chime in with your thoughts -- in order to work well, we really
need to get the core structure down.

Also, if you'd like to be a lead, please speak up. We have a shortage of
volunteers, so anyone interested is greatly appreciated.

[1] http://jancborchardt.net/usability-in-free-software

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mirek2 mirek2
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Re: Team organization

I forgot to mention that we've discussed this a bit on our monthly IRC meeting -- https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Design/Meetings/2014-05-25 .
sophi sophi
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Re: Team organization

In reply to this post by mirek2
Hi Mirek,
Le 19/06/2014 14:48, Mirek M. a écrit :

> Hi guys,
> Sorry for my lack of involvement lately, I've been very busy.
>
> I've been thinking about our team lately and I'd really like to rethink the
> way we work. I feel like we don't have the basics down, and that's a
> gigantic issue that also reflects on our work. Part of the problem is that
> the team doesn't have a clear structure -- we need leads to resolve
> controversies and bring consistency to the whole of LibreOffice. As Theodor
> Nelson writes (and Jan Borchardt reiterates [1]), "The integration of
> software cannot be achieved by committee, where everyone has to put in
> their own additions (featuritis again). It must be controlled by
> dictatorial artists with full say on the final cut. " Not only that --
> having leads means having clear go-to people for design-related problems
> and allows more effective communication -- the communication chaos that we
> currently have would be reduced.
>
> I'm thinking we could have these positions:
> * UX lead
> * Visual design lead
> * User testing lead
>
> The *user testing lead* would see to it that whatever needs to be tested
> gets tested and that the tests are carried out well. The lead wouldn't have
> to personally take part in tests -- as we have volunteers all over the
> world, that would sometimes be impossible -- but they would have to make
> sure that the tests get done and are sufficiently accurate to be useful.
> The *visual design lead* would oversee all visual design related work. That
> means making sure that all graphical elements that are needed get made and
> follow a certain style. It also means creating visual design and branding
> guidelines and style guides when they're needed.
> The *UX lead* would care for the general UX of LibreOffice. That means
> bringing attention to important UX bugs, watching over their progress, and
> cooperating with the user testing lead, the visual design lead, and
> developers based on what each bug requires. It also involves refining the
> design process, from the bug report stage all the way to implementation.
>
> It should be noted that these positions would pertain only to the software,
> not to related projects such as the websites, social networks, branding
> material, etc., to keep the workload lighter. However, rules and guidelines
> for the software would apply to these projects when relevant. To further
> lighten the workload, larger projects (e.g. Android remote, color
> management, etc.) could have their own lead as well. The project lead would
> report to the three leads listed above.
>
> Having these three positions would change only the way we work within the
> design team. The relationship of the team with other teams would not change
> -- devs would still get the final say and leads would have no special roles
> or privileges within TDF.

Sorry to jump in with a side question about the other aspects out of the
product. How can we reach your team when we need visual or design
specifics for events or any action organized by the other projects. Are
you too short in volunteers and we need to help you grow this part of
the community or is it something you're not invested in?
Would it be better for your team that we have two separate projects: one
dedicated to the product design, the other one to the designs needed  by
the community projects?
Actually, and please don't take it as a criticism, it seems very
difficult to get some designs done for events or items and I really
would like to help to solve this :)

Cheers
Sophie


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mirek2 mirek2
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Re: Team organization

Hi Sophie,


2014-06-19 15:15 GMT+02:00 Sophie <[hidden email]>:

> Hi Mirek,
> Le 19/06/2014 14:48, Mirek M. a écrit :
> > Hi guys,
> > Sorry for my lack of involvement lately, I've been very busy.
> >
> > I've been thinking about our team lately and I'd really like to rethink
> the
> > way we work. I feel like we don't have the basics down, and that's a
> > gigantic issue that also reflects on our work. Part of the problem is
> that
> > the team doesn't have a clear structure -- we need leads to resolve
> > controversies and bring consistency to the whole of LibreOffice. As
> Theodor
> > Nelson writes (and Jan Borchardt reiterates [1]), "The integration of
> > software cannot be achieved by committee, where everyone has to put in
> > their own additions (featuritis again). It must be controlled by
> > dictatorial artists with full say on the final cut. " Not only that --
> > having leads means having clear go-to people for design-related problems
> > and allows more effective communication -- the communication chaos that
> we
> > currently have would be reduced.
> >
> > I'm thinking we could have these positions:
> > * UX lead
> > * Visual design lead
> > * User testing lead
> >
> > The *user testing lead* would see to it that whatever needs to be tested
> > gets tested and that the tests are carried out well. The lead wouldn't
> have
> > to personally take part in tests -- as we have volunteers all over the
> > world, that would sometimes be impossible -- but they would have to make
> > sure that the tests get done and are sufficiently accurate to be useful.
> > The *visual design lead* would oversee all visual design related work.
> That
> > means making sure that all graphical elements that are needed get made
> and
> > follow a certain style. It also means creating visual design and branding
> > guidelines and style guides when they're needed.
> > The *UX lead* would care for the general UX of LibreOffice. That means
> > bringing attention to important UX bugs, watching over their progress,
> and
> > cooperating with the user testing lead, the visual design lead, and
> > developers based on what each bug requires. It also involves refining the
> > design process, from the bug report stage all the way to implementation.
> >
> > It should be noted that these positions would pertain only to the
> software,
> > not to related projects such as the websites, social networks, branding
> > material, etc., to keep the workload lighter. However, rules and
> guidelines
> > for the software would apply to these projects when relevant. To further
> > lighten the workload, larger projects (e.g. Android remote, color
> > management, etc.) could have their own lead as well. The project lead
> would
> > report to the three leads listed above.
> >
> > Having these three positions would change only the way we work within the
> > design team. The relationship of the team with other teams would not
> change
> > -- devs would still get the final say and leads would have no special
> roles
> > or privileges within TDF.
>
> Sorry to jump in with a side question about the other aspects out of the
> product. How can we reach your team when we need visual or design
> specifics for events or any action organized by the other projects. Are
> you too short in volunteers and we need to help you grow this part of
> the community or is it something you're not invested in?
>

Yes, I would say we're short on volunteers, and those volunteers tend to be
short on time.

Motivation might be a factor -- I think the organizational chaos that there
is now can be discouraging and I'd like to try to fix that.


> Would it be better for your team that we have two separate projects: one
> dedicated to the product design, the other one to the designs needed  by
> the community projects?
>

I'm not sure. I guess ideally leads would cater to all TDF-related projects
and would act as managers.
Right now, though, I'm afraid a lot of the design work will fall on the
leads themselves, or just not get done.

Perhaps that's not relevant, though? Should we just have leads take care of
all the projects and be responsible for finding the necessary volunteers?

Actually, and please don't take it as a criticism, it seems very
> difficult to get some designs done for events or items and I really
> would like to help to solve this :)
>

Yes, I know, sorry; though huge props to KJ, who tends to save the day.

Please chime in with any organizational ideas you might have.

>
> Cheers
> Sophie
>
>
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sophi sophi
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Re: Team organization

Hi Mirek,
Le 19/06/2014 15:35, Mirek M. a écrit :
> Hi Sophie,
[...]

>> Sorry to jump in with a side question about the other aspects out of the
>> product. How can we reach your team when we need visual or design
>> specifics for events or any action organized by the other projects. Are
>> you too short in volunteers and we need to help you grow this part of
>> the community or is it something you're not invested in?
>>
>
> Yes, I would say we're short on volunteers, and those volunteers tend to be
> short on time.
>
> Motivation might be a factor -- I think the organizational chaos that there
> is now can be discouraging and I'd like to try to fix that.

Yes, that's what I understand, hence my proposal to separate the project
in two groups.
>
>
>> Would it be better for your team that we have two separate projects: one
>> dedicated to the product design, the other one to the designs needed  by
>> the community projects?
>>
>
> I'm not sure. I guess ideally leads would cater to all TDF-related projects
> and would act as managers.

ok, your the one who knows better here :)
> Right now, though, I'm afraid a lot of the design work will fall on the
> leads themselves, or just not get done.

yes, that's what usually happen when we miss volunteers.
>
> Perhaps that's not relevant, though? Should we just have leads take care of
> all the projects and be responsible for finding the necessary volunteers?

but the other project should support you here, it's really difficult to
do all the work and try to find volunteers at the same time :)
>
> Actually, and please don't take it as a criticism, it seems very
>> difficult to get some designs done for events or items and I really
>> would like to help to solve this :)
>>
>
> Yes, I know, sorry; though huge props to KJ, who tends to save the day.

yes, thanks a lot to him and (I'm always afraid he feels exhausted by
all our demands ;)
>
> Please chime in with any organizational ideas you might have.

I'll think about it, and will see what we can organize with the NLPs and
the marketing project to take a special action to help you. I'll report
back on this list.
Thanks a lot for your feedback :)
Cheers
Sophie


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Laurent Lyaudet Laurent Lyaudet
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Re: Team organization

Hi Mirek, all,

I agree that we should have leads to give an orientation to the design team.
However I don't agree with

"As Theodor
Nelson writes (and Jan Borchardt reiterates [1]), "The integration of
software cannot be achieved by committee, where everyone has to put in
their own additions (featuritis again). It must be controlled by
dictatorial artists with full say on the final cut. " "

I have experienced some committees against "creeping featurism" when I
suggested new features (gnu-core-utils for example).
I have no clue of what is the proportion of "committees" in open source
software who fight strongly against featuritis but in my modest
experience there is always someone against any new feature in any
"committee".
Probably there is no difference on featuritis between average committee
and average dictator.
To be honest, I'm quite bored of gratuitous attacks against democracy,
debate, vote, etc.
If you can provide facts and data on this topic, I'll be happy to learn.


In order to be constructive and concrete, here is how I think we should
have leads :
- leads should be elected for 6 months,
- if for some position, nobody applies, then the design team
self-organizes (for the best and the worse as usual ;) )
- leads give an orientation to the work of the design team, organize the
debate without censorship,
- if a particular point yields a lot of conflicting opinions, the final
say goes to a vote after all rationnal arguments have been synthetized
by the lead.

Please comment any of these 4 points.

Best regards,
     Laurent


On 19/06/2014 15:47, Sophie wrote:

> Hi Mirek,
> Le 19/06/2014 15:35, Mirek M. a écrit :
>> Hi Sophie,
> [...]
>
>>> Sorry to jump in with a side question about the other aspects out of the
>>> product. How can we reach your team when we need visual or design
>>> specifics for events or any action organized by the other projects. Are
>>> you too short in volunteers and we need to help you grow this part of
>>> the community or is it something you're not invested in?
>>>
>> Yes, I would say we're short on volunteers, and those volunteers tend to be
>> short on time.
>>
>> Motivation might be a factor -- I think the organizational chaos that there
>> is now can be discouraging and I'd like to try to fix that.
> Yes, that's what I understand, hence my proposal to separate the project
> in two groups.
>>
>>> Would it be better for your team that we have two separate projects: one
>>> dedicated to the product design, the other one to the designs needed  by
>>> the community projects?
>>>
>> I'm not sure. I guess ideally leads would cater to all TDF-related projects
>> and would act as managers.
> ok, your the one who knows better here :)
>> Right now, though, I'm afraid a lot of the design work will fall on the
>> leads themselves, or just not get done.
> yes, that's what usually happen when we miss volunteers.
>> Perhaps that's not relevant, though? Should we just have leads take care of
>> all the projects and be responsible for finding the necessary volunteers?
> but the other project should support you here, it's really difficult to
> do all the work and try to find volunteers at the same time :)
>> Actually, and please don't take it as a criticism, it seems very
>>> difficult to get some designs done for events or items and I really
>>> would like to help to solve this :)
>>>
>> Yes, I know, sorry; though huge props to KJ, who tends to save the day.
> yes, thanks a lot to him and (I'm always afraid he feels exhausted by
> all our demands ;)
>> Please chime in with any organizational ideas you might have.
> I'll think about it, and will see what we can organize with the NLPs and
> the marketing project to take a special action to help you. I'll report
> back on this list.
> Thanks a lot for your feedback :)
> Cheers
> Sophie
>
>


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Björn Balazs Björn Balazs
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Re: Team organization

In reply to this post by mirek2
Hi Mirek, all,

good to see your initiative!

Personally I think there are indeed two problems you try to solve:

1. Responsibility:
It is good to have people taking responsibility, e.g. who can be asked
concerning certain topics, who organize that work is been done within the team
and who can identify and promote points that need to be changed in order to
enhance usability as a whole. So I fully agree with your idea on assigning
responsibilities.

2. Direction:
The 'dictatorial artists' on the other hand I think is not such a good idea.
Large projects like LibreOffice are slow tankers - it takes time to change
things substantially. Direction should hence not be given by a (possibly
frequently changing) person in charge, but by some kind of directing
documentation (Styleguides, Visions, Personas, ...). This documentation of
course has to be constantly updated, but decisions should always be taken in
reference to this documentation - providing a constant direction in the
development. I assume this is what you mean by

> I feel like we don't have the basics down

Just my 2 cents. Perhaps it helps to structure your thoughts.

Keep up the good work!

Björn

Am Donnerstag, 19. Juni 2014, 14:48:35 schrieb Mirek M.:

> Hi guys,
> Sorry for my lack of involvement lately, I've been very busy.
>
> I've been thinking about our team lately and I'd really like to rethink the
> way we work. I feel like we don't have the basics down, and that's a
> gigantic issue that also reflects on our work. Part of the problem is that
> the team doesn't have a clear structure -- we need leads to resolve
> controversies and bring consistency to the whole of LibreOffice. As Theodor
> Nelson writes (and Jan Borchardt reiterates [1]), "The integration of
> software cannot be achieved by committee, where everyone has to put in
> their own additions (featuritis again). It must be controlled by
> dictatorial artists with full say on the final cut. " Not only that --
> having leads means having clear go-to people for design-related problems
> and allows more effective communication -- the communication chaos that we
> currently have would be reduced.
>
> I'm thinking we could have these positions:
> * UX lead
> * Visual design lead
> * User testing lead
>
> The *user testing lead* would see to it that whatever needs to be tested
> gets tested and that the tests are carried out well. The lead wouldn't have
> to personally take part in tests -- as we have volunteers all over the
> world, that would sometimes be impossible -- but they would have to make
> sure that the tests get done and are sufficiently accurate to be useful.
> The *visual design lead* would oversee all visual design related work. That
> means making sure that all graphical elements that are needed get made and
> follow a certain style. It also means creating visual design and branding
> guidelines and style guides when they're needed.
> The *UX lead* would care for the general UX of LibreOffice. That means
> bringing attention to important UX bugs, watching over their progress, and
> cooperating with the user testing lead, the visual design lead, and
> developers based on what each bug requires. It also involves refining the
> design process, from the bug report stage all the way to implementation.
>
> It should be noted that these positions would pertain only to the software,
> not to related projects such as the websites, social networks, branding
> material, etc., to keep the workload lighter. However, rules and guidelines
> for the software would apply to these projects when relevant. To further
> lighten the workload, larger projects (e.g. Android remote, color
> management, etc.) could have their own lead as well. The project lead would
> report to the three leads listed above.
>
> Having these three positions would change only the way we work within the
> design team. The relationship of the team with other teams would not change
> -- devs would still get the final say and leads would have no special roles
> or privileges within TDF.
>
> Anyway, chime in with your thoughts -- in order to work well, we really
> need to get the core structure down.
>
> Also, if you'd like to be a lead, please speak up. We have a shortage of
> volunteers, so anyone interested is greatly appreciated.
>
> [1] http://jancborchardt.net/usability-in-free-software


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K-J LibreOffice K-J LibreOffice
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Re: Team organization

In reply to this post by mirek2
Hi Mirek, *,
Am 19.06.2014 14:48, schrieb Mirek M.:
[...]

> Having these three positions would change only the way we work within the
> design team. The relationship of the team with other teams would not change
> -- devs would still get the final say and leads would have no special roles
> or privileges within TDF.

The Design team had two voted "leads": Bernhard and Christoph. Both got
the role by their meritocracy in the Design team. They never saw this as
an official position but as a responsibility. And AFAIK Mirek and Astron
were their successors.

[...]

> Anyway, chime in with your thoughts -- in order to work well, we really
> need to get the core structure down.

[...]

> Also, if you'd like to be a lead, please speak up. We have a shortage of
> volunteers, so anyone interested is greatly appreciated.

I won't call it lead but projectée.
There should be some profiles for a projectée:
- He/She should have contributed time and intellectual design work for 6
months. The best will be, he/she is a member (as it is told in our
statutes § 10 Board of Trustees).
- The person should have led more than one design project for LibO as
described by the Whiteboards
- He/She should be voted, not elected: There will always be only one
person for one position to be voted.
- It won't be an official position (so the projectée can't do
dictatorial work) but he/she have a voice to stop things which will go
in wrong direction.


I personally don't think that we need leads because we have no
contributors to be led. We have some merited Design members who guide
us. I for my part will say thanks to Mirek and Astron who do a very good
job here.

As you said we need structural positions and I think you (and Astron)
should go on to work on it. I can put in my personal 2 Cents as border
worker between Marketing and Design. Maybe we find an instrument to work
on it.
Wasn't there an idea to make a Design meeting in South Tirol (with
Italo) some times ago (two or three years)?


--
Grüße
k-j

Member of TheDocumentFoundation
http://www.documentfoundation.org/foundation/members/
http://de.libreoffice.org
http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/

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Laurent Lyaudet Laurent Lyaudet
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Re: Team organization

Hi K-J,

Sorry to ask but I can't find any definition of "projectée" (as a
substantive in general and as a person or position in particular).
In French, it is an unused orthography for the conjugated verb "projetée"
("projectée" was used several centuries ago but today in French it would
be a spelling mistake).

Thanks in advance, best regards,
     Laurent

On 20/06/2014 22:57, K-J LibreOffice wrote:

> Hi Mirek, *,
> Am 19.06.2014 14:48, schrieb Mirek M.:
> [...]
>
>> Having these three positions would change only the way we work within
>> the
>> design team. The relationship of the team with other teams would not
>> change
>> -- devs would still get the final say and leads would have no special
>> roles
>> or privileges within TDF.
>
> The Design team had two voted "leads": Bernhard and Christoph. Both
> got the role by their meritocracy in the Design team. They never saw
> this as an official position but as a responsibility. And AFAIK Mirek
> and Astron were their successors.
>
> [...]
>
>> Anyway, chime in with your thoughts -- in order to work well, we really
>> need to get the core structure down.
>
> [...]
>
>> Also, if you'd like to be a lead, please speak up. We have a shortage of
>> volunteers, so anyone interested is greatly appreciated.
>
> I won't call it lead but projectée.
> There should be some profiles for a projectée:
> - He/She should have contributed time and intellectual design work for
> 6 months. The best will be, he/she is a member (as it is told in our
> statutes § 10 Board of Trustees).
> - The person should have led more than one design project for LibO as
> described by the Whiteboards
> - He/She should be voted, not elected: There will always be only one
> person for one position to be voted.
> - It won't be an official position (so the projectée can't do
> dictatorial work) but he/she have a voice to stop things which will go
> in wrong direction.
>
>
> I personally don't think that we need leads because we have no
> contributors to be led. We have some merited Design members who guide
> us. I for my part will say thanks to Mirek and Astron who do a very
> good job here.
>
> As you said we need structural positions and I think you (and Astron)
> should go on to work on it. I can put in my personal 2 Cents as border
> worker between Marketing and Design. Maybe we find an instrument to
> work on it.
> Wasn't there an idea to make a Design meeting in South Tirol (with
> Italo) some times ago (two or three years)?
>
>


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Daniel Hulse Daniel Hulse
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Re: Team organization

In reply to this post by mirek2
This is a great idea. One of the biggest factors in the success in free software projects is clear leadership. Design especially requires a cohesive vision and direction in order to be successful, so actually creating positions for this is essential.

Several people have noted that LibreOffice design has few volunteers, which ironically is exactly why creating these positions is so important. Design leadership attracts talent. These leads could put forward and enforce an overall vision for LibreOffice and make it easier for new contributors to get involved.

If you look at the projects that produce good design, like GNOME and elementary, a common attribute is having people who are competent and opinionated about design who can put forward a singular vision that defines all of the work. KDE seems to be adopting a modified version of this approach with their visual design group, and the results look promising, except that their approach is more centered on community involvement, which I think is the direction LibreOffice needs to go.