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Outpost 10F Forums / OTF News / Departmental Changes
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ajcardall
Member
# Posted: 5 May 2011 19:00
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Hello, folks!

Recently we have been announcing various changes to the Outpost operations and structures with the eventual goal of being able to allow activity to take place for those who are keen to get involved with our teams and departments. Following this same eventual goal, the Executive Council has been spending the last week or so looking at how our departments and teams are structured, and discussing whether or not the current structure and set up is conducive to current demands and activity levels. The general consensus amongst ourselves - and, indeed, many of our community - is that it isn't. With this in mind we have been attempting to formulate a structure that we feel will be conducive and greater reflect and the changes that the Outpost has undergone in recent years.

After discussion we have decided the following changes are going to be made:

> Current departments and teams are to be closed down effective immediately. The ISA department will continue to function during this time, and the impending publication of the Blue Report is free to take place during this time. This shut down shall last for around a week, while the new structure is set in place.
> The current structure is to be abolished in favour of a simplified structure of just four Teams, replacing the current departments.
> The four teams will be as follows:
ISA
Marketing
Development
Entertainment
> Each of the above teams will be led by a team Director, who shall be assisted by a Deputy, with the Director serving on the Executive Council, if not already doing so.
> Current Senior Manager, Team Leader and Project Leader positions are to be abolished.
> There is to be no further structuring below the aforementioned teams - i.e., no specific projects/groups for each task

Each of the above teams will have an independent focus area, which may or may not be limited to traditional tasks and projects. The teams' remits are as follows:

ISA - ISA will maintain the same tasks - chat monitoring and providing Intel updates for the community.

Marketing - Marketing will be responsible for forwarding search engine hits we receive, promotion the Outpost on various sites where necessary, and the monthly Blue Report publication.

Development - Development will encompass current Internal Development, Design and Engineering members, and shall focus on implementing changes throughout the Outpost that require coding changes, including webpage creation and maintenance.

Entertainment - Entertainment will be responsible for all 'fun' and community based activities, including, but not limited to, Trivia, Role Playing, Creative Arts, competitions, the Yearbook publication and creative writing.

It immediately becomes apparent that some/all teams will now be responsible for a wide variety of tasks. Where before we would assign a project/team to each particular task, this will not be the case this time around. Instead, everyone will be able to work together within the team on as many tasks as they like. We hope this will relieve the red-tape that causes so many headaches, as well as the problem of people being spread too thin in a rigid structure. However, just because each task (for example, arranging trivia nights) no longer has a defined team and roster, with an appointed leader, this does not mean people are not encouraged to take the initiative and arrange an event. Similarly, the lack of official leadership positions that this change will result in will be taken into consideration when reviewing promotion/award recommendations, and will not hamper progress.

I hope the above makes sense to all. However, should you have further questions about the proposed changes, feel free to reply to this thread, where I shall field any and all questions you may have!

I'd like to finish by saying that it may appear we are only concentrating on the work/promotion side of things, but rest assured, there will be changes that benefit the members of the community who drop by just to hang out with friends and chat. To that end, I can offer you a little teaser: we are planning a little 'thank-you' to all our members, and we hope you will enjoy what we have in store...

Kind Regards,
Rear-Admiral AJ
Executive Council
Outpost10F

wedge
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 04:05
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what about counseling

ajcardall
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 08:49
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...what about counselling?

quincyw
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 09:39
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Sorry... Was there any real change, or was it just condensing "Department" into "Team" with only some shifting of functions and some rebranding?

By the way, AJ... Was there any reply/response to my email?

ajcardall
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 10:02
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...that's not a "real change", for you?

There's a culling of the excessive projects and teams.
There's a reduction in the number of leadership posts we simply cannot fill.
The rigid department structure has been trashed.
The constant subdivision of everything has stopped.
Individual rostered projects have been binned.

Pray tell, if that's not a real change, what is?

jd
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 10:12
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I posit that we change all future project and team names to Culture Club song titles. The Karma Chameleon Project will bring in people by the droves.

ajcardall
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 10:15
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quincyw
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 11:52
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Quoting: ajcardall
...that's not a "real change", for you?There's a culling of the excessive projects and teams.There's a reduction in the number of leadership posts we simply cannot fill.The rigid department structure has been trashed.The constant subdivision of everything has stopped.Individual rostered projects have been binned.Pray tell, if that's not a real change, what is?


Put that in your post next time, old boy!

Or, if you manage to convince your biggest skeptic, then you've hit the nail on the head.

jd
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 16:46
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....I'm going to assume that you didn't actually read the post. It says it right there, you just have to...y'know...read the whole thing.

daecrist
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 16:57
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Quoting: wedge
what about counseling


Tell me how you feel about counseling.

daecrist
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 16:58
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Quoting: jd
....I'm going to assume that you didn't actually read the post. It says it right there, you just have to...y'know...read the whole thing.


Agreed. It was pretty much all there for the world to read in the first post.

ajcardall
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 17:36
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Hey folks,

After speaking with Iain, as our SysAdmin, he has advised one slight tweak.

Projects will still be listed under each team, however they will NOT be assigned members as before. The reason being our DMS structure and it helps show a casual passer-by what each team does.

So, to repeat, the projects for each new team WILL show on the roster, but people will NOT be assigned to the projects on the roster. Rather, people just get assigned to the parent team, and are free to work on any of the listed projects they desire.

Sorry about the slight about-face on this...! I apparently jumped the gun

Cheers
-AJ

quincyw
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 21:38
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Quoting: ajcardall
So, to repeat, the projects for each new team WILL show on the roster, but people will NOT be assigned to the projects on the roster. Rather, people just get assigned to the parent team, and are free to work on any of the listed projects they desire.


Whoa, wait, what? That doesn't quite work, because it severely dilutes the experience and the staffing...

I understand and agree in principle, but the policy should be changed and that there should be one driving force behind each project, to at least ensure someone knows where every little bit of idea and talent and output is going.

Because otherwise, the situation will become, for example, Trivia, "Did you get the trivia questions done for this month?" "Nah, that was last month. I got a bit tired of Trivia and moved on to this other project, sorry!"

We need at least one person on watchdog or caretaker to make sure the wheels don't fall off the bandwagon. Even if they're on a rotating basis, they are assigned general responsibility for the running of that project.

ajcardall
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 23:26
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...are you actually reading the posts, Quincy?

The staffing DOES NOT GET DILUTED as the projects don't have assigned personnel as in days of yore. Everyone, within a team, is free to work on any "project" they so desire.

We are not assigning folks as caretakers - we don't have enough folks to do it! If that means trivia isn't held every week, then so be it. People are here and work for fun, not for deadlines and formalities. If, however, the Team Leader responsible for certain projects wants to encourage people to, like you say, prepare a Trivia, then that is their prerogative. So, there is 'one driving force'.

We are not cattle herding people into strict structures like we used to - it just is not viable any more. We have tried - twice - and it did not work. We are not trying it a third time to satisfy folks' desire for neat, compartmentalised teams and projects.

quincyw
Member
# Posted: 6 May 2011 23:55
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Quoting: ajcardall
...are you actually reading the posts, Quincy?


No.

Quoting: ajcardall
If that means trivia isn't held every week, then so be it.


I mean, I understand what you're saying, it just seems as if... We may not get it done. Those weekly events etc are what makes this place great and I understand peoples' motivations will get them working, but it just seems too darn haphazard.

"If you build it, they will come" as the old saying goes... But my question is, shouldn't we leave someone in charge to make sure there is a vision to build it in the first place?

Quoting: ajcardall
We are not cattle herding people into strict structures like we used to


But here's another question, taken into my just above comment. Previously, we have discussed the "ceiling" that departments and ranks can cause because of the lack of promotable positions into that.

Based on the new structure, how would we gauge success? I understand you've addressed the lack of structure in recommendations (I can read )...

But if there is no Trivia and I just dumped two weeks' worth of effort in and again, but no Trivia held, what am I to do? That's probably more my concern.

That is what I'm trying to get at. I understand it when you say you'll get out of it what you put in, voluntarily; and more power to them. But shouldn't the Department. Sorry. Team, be held responsible for giving to 10F the finished products? Shouldn't that be their duty?

wedge
Member
# Posted: 7 May 2011 00:14
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Quoting: daecrist

Tell me how you feel about counseling.


I feel like it's missing

quincyw
Member
# Posted: 7 May 2011 02:18
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Actually, let me change argument tacks here... Start from zero, work with me.

We have our Team. We have our Team Leader. We have our undesignated Team Members. We have our different projects/works in progress. But people just rock on up to that project, put in a bit (or not at all), or a lot and we either do or don't get a finished product to present to 10F at large.

Here's my question. If the team members aren't performing, is there anything that can be done about it?

Would it after all, not be better to completely abolish the teams and just say (as a Departmental Updates Board message): "Trivia for this month will be Harry Potter. Anyone who wants to just simply submit a bunch of questions and answers and we thank you for your time"?

A lack of focus on a task, a specific task... It's sheep herding. Or cattle herding, as you'd put it.

Why not reclarify the structure to, apply and we'll admit you to the department based on merit. Sorry, team. They then pick their primary project, but can also work on their secondary project. They are then held to account for how much/little they've done on their primary.

Otherwise, we may as well skip the Team thing and just let the general population run these projects.

ajcardall
Member
# Posted: 7 May 2011 09:13
Reply 


Quincy,

Quoting: quincyw
But if there is no Trivia and I just dumped two weeks' worth of effort in and again, but no Trivia held, what am I to do? That's probably more my concern.

That is what I'm trying to get at. I understand it when you say you'll get out of it what you put in, voluntarily; and more power to them. But shouldn't the Department. Sorry. Team, be held responsible for giving to 10F the finished products? Shouldn't that be their duty?


The job of each team Director is to ensure that the people who are putting work in that meets our criteria for promotions, are thusly recognised and rewarded. OTF departments/teams are entirely volunteer, and that may indeed mean that sometimes someone can dump a load of work in for a week or two, and then slide under the radar for a few. However, I'd rather have this scenario than what we have at present - and have had for three years - where there is painfully little being put it.

The entire logic behind making this, as you say, 'haphazard', is to allow people greater flexibility with what they do, and what project they do it for. However, we can't, any longer, section people off into different projects because it doesn't work - it has been proven that it doesn't work. If we cattle herd members, then what happens if all members assigned to one project fall off the radar due to real life commitments? Then that project produces nothing. Having a fluid system, as we are moving to, allows other members of the team to chip in if needs be, going some way to ensuring that wheels are still turning, no matter how slowly.

Quoting: quincyw
Why not reclarify the structure to, apply and we'll admit you to the department based on merit. Sorry, team. They then pick their primary project, but can also work on their secondary project. They are then held to account for how much/little they've done on their primary.


Years ago we did hold folks accountable, and we had enough manpower to ensure we could do this. However, right now, we don't. As I mentioned above, Outpost work is entirely voluntary and if people are too busy for a while to do a few bits and bobs - then so be it. We accept that, and so do the community.

The only ones, in the new system, who can be held accountable, are the Team Directors and their Assistant. The reason being these folks will be expected to have some degree of constant activity. These people will hold, if necessary, brevet ranks and have been appointed to the EC. Thus, it is fair to expect them to produce and run their team well. We can't, however, do this will the entire team membership.

For the past three years the community has sent a clear message - the old structure system does not work. There is absolutely no doubt of that. People have even said so directly. Our community, right now, does not want a system you are describing. They want to chip in, but they don't want to be suffocated by an ancient, back-dated and psuedo-Star trek structure. They want to work to have fun, and the new system promotes that a lot more than any department ever did.

The underlying fact is we are a volunteer community. People should be entitled to put as much or as little in as they can without fear of someone holding them accountable. We must move away from the past and preconceived ideas that we MUST have a Trivia at 8PM UTC on Saturday. We are treating the OTF past like it was gospel. It is not. It was a system that worked then, but does not work now. We have to let it go and find a system that works now. I can't sit and say, "this new system will solve all our problems", because I'm not clairvoyant. I can sit here and say, "this new system is a damned more applicable to our community as we stand", because it is. People do not want rigid structures, I've learned that over the past year and a half of trying and poking around.

The new structure stands. It isn't perfect, but it's not an abject failure like the old one is right now.

quincyw
Member
# Posted: 7 May 2011 10:37
Reply 


I'm happy with that argument. By the way, I'm not trying to be literally argumentative, just trying to see if you've thought it all over.

Have we decided who's going to head up the Teams yet?

ajcardall
Member
# Posted: 7 May 2011 10:53
Reply 


Quincy,

It's fine - I prefer to have folks questioning decisions..!

As for heading the teams, at the moment we've stuck with established folks:

Development - Iain (as former InDev Director)
Marketing - Dmitri (as Marketing Director)
ISA - Tycho (as former ISA SM)
Entertainment - Hobbie (me as Assistant).

Still need Assistants for Marketing and Development, though.

With Entertainment, however, Hobbie and myself are only there for as long as it takes to get things running, then we'll appoint successors.

quincyw
Member
# Posted: 7 May 2011 11:24
Reply 


*Coughs as innocently as possible and pokes sent emails*

I've also considered the possibility that (for Entertainment), in addition to Sims/RP, we could also have fanfiction. I've been trying to write some for years now. Five and counting.

ajcardall
Member
# Posted: 7 May 2011 11:53
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Quincy, I'll pass it on to Ray, definitely

Also, with the Creative Arts "project", I did make mention of Fan Fiction and the likes, so that avenue is open for all who wish to explore it!

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