From Electromagnetic Field

(A draft script for the induction of new collaborators to our organisation. Cf. )

This aims to provide documentation on how to introduce new people to the team. Something we can show new team members to brief them about our people, structures, concepts, processes, communication channels. This helps new people to get started quickly, and hopefully avoids a lot of potential frustration.

We'll be a fairly distributed organisation; how we interact with each other is a key factor in getting it all to work.



A consideration in all of our work is that many core contributors are busy people with limited spare time on their hands; and there is a lot of work do to.

As a result we can make some fundamental assumptions:

  • We prefer to adopt existing solutions, rather than building much from scratch.
  • We want to work with people who are self-motivated and get things done.
  • We want to find the right specialists, brief them well, and then quickly give them a great deal of freedom.
  • We aim to limit any bureaucratic overhead where possible.
  • We generally aim to increase the level of personal satisfaction everyone gets out of their contributions.

Camp Structure

The basic elements everyone on our team should know:

A summary of our camp aims and approach. This is a rich and complex topic... need to post a good summary somewhere. (The Communications team will soon start work on an authoritative document.) This blog post makes for an OK start.

The camp's location and site layout, cf. Location. The layout is still in flux; talk to Russ if you want to discuss details.

A summary of the current progress. The blog may become a good reference for this, with more details in our planning meeting minutes.

An understanding of our team structure, cf Teams. Put new staff in touch with some key contacts as early as possible.

The various crowds we have access to, and how to best make use of them. Cf. Contact for the "internal" communication channels. In addition there are many latent contacts to various organisations, key individuals, communities.

Tasks and Responsibilities

New team members should take on some initial tasks as early as possible (as part of an existing team) to let them get familiar with our organisation, and as a means of introducing them to the team. As they become comfortable gradually give them more responsibilities.

If they have a demonstrated ability to get things done you can be more ambitious in how quickly you let them run wild; but there needs to be a balance. We need to make sure that we can trust people to get things done.

Be more patient with new people if they will take over a full team: provide them with ample assistance to get started, spend time in discussion, give them opportunities to ask many questions. Someone else can be the primary contact on their team until they're comfortable and experienced enough to take over.

Making Important Decisions

General advice: involve your community in larger decisions.

Specifically this could mean:

  1. Start discussing the task at hand with others, do research, find the right specialists.
  2. Write down a proposal.
  3. Show it to others, amend it. (ChaosPad is useful for this. Or any Etherpad/PiratePad service.)
  4. For decisions that affect other teams, or the larger community: propose it at a camp planning meeting

As a result it stops being your idea, and will be shaped by others. But it will often be much better.

Tools and Procedures

There are a few tools and procedures everyone should know, so spend time introducing each of them.

Who else should we have on the team?

Let us know if there's anyone else you think we should have on the team, for any position. Or if you would like help getting people for yourself; we're happy to help you get them.

Personal tools