Project startup guide

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This page is a new NeIC project leader's guide to how to set up a new NeIC project. Following this guide ensures that your new project will be able to interface easily with other activities in NeIC, so that you can get up to speed with ease.

Get to know the people

Being a project leader is 100% about communication. Get to know those you will need to talk to.

  • Organise a face-to-face meeting with your project team as early as possible during the project's lifetime.
  • Invite yourself to an XT meeting if you haven't already.
    • The XT will love to discuss your ideas about the project and help you get going.
    • Ask about anything that you think is strange, bad or wrong, including the contents of this guide.
  • Connect with the other NeIC project leaders.
    • Find them on the NeIC external wiki, for example through the Projects page.
    • Ask them how they set up their projects.
    • Ask them what routines they have that work well for them.
    • Ask what they wish they had done differently.
  • Get to know your stakeholders.
    • Highest priority to your steering group and your reference group; see your coordinator about getting these groups if you don't have them already).

Learn the lingo

Being a project leader is 100% about communication. Use the same terms as everyone else to reduce misunderstandings.

Learn PPS:

Learn how to edit mediawiki pages. NeIC makes extensive use of mediawiki markup for most of its communications, including meeting agendas and minutes and the various NeIC websites.

Acquaint yourself with the contents of:

Make sure you know the goals of the project

Read the Project Directive describing the goals of the project. Discuss with project owner to clarify anything that is not clear. This will be important when preparing the Project plan. It is also recommendable to start discussing on getting personnel to work in the project with the steering group and with the project owner. Practice has shown that this is best handled in parallel with the project planning phase so that the execution can start without delays once the plan is done.

Set up your information channels

Being a project leader is 100% about communication. Here is where to talk, and speak.

Get all the accounts you need (ask your coordinator to help you):

  • Get invited to NeIC Slack. NeIC uses this for informal water cooler style banter, corridor chats, and serious business. Consider whether you will need a dedicated channel for your project staff and matters relating to your project. Consider whether you will want a searchable offsite message log (in order not to hit the 10000 max messages scrollback paywall limit; cf NeIC chat logger Batyr).
  • Get a google account so you can join Google hangout video meetings.
  • Get invited to edit the NeIC events calendar.
  • Get accounts on the internal and external wikis: send your X509 client certificate subject to your coordinator, to pass on to our wikimaster for registration. Set up your wiki spaces as below.
  • Get invited to the NeICnordic organization on GitHub. Use this to register yourself as NeIC staff in the contact info system (with photo and all bells and whistles).
  • Get invited to the NeIC Collabox folder on dropbox.
  • Consider following NeICnordic on twitter. Get access to the NeICnordic twitter account.
  • Consider whether you will need access to NeIC gitolite (git repository manager set up to allow non-public code sharing).

Website

This is the place for public announcements style communications, and the root of the NeIC contact info management system.

Do the following:

  • Add yourself to the contact info management system. Please include photo and phone number.
  • Add your steering group and reference group (as separate groups) to the contact info management system. Ask for permission to publish their email addresses.
  • In time, add your team to the contact info management system (as a separate group). Encourage adding photos and phone numbers.

External wiki

The external wiki is here: https://wiki.neic.no/wiki

As much information as possible goes here. The external wiki is the place for all most recent updates on NeIC activities.

  • Add a category for your project. Put all pages and uploaded files that relate to your project into this category.
  • Consider adding more categories, eg for meeting minutes from steering/reference group, management, weeklies... Put these categories in your project category.
  • Add a page for your project.
    • Upload as many documents as possible concerning your project, put them in your project category, and link them from here.
    • Add headings for content you expect to have, with a note that content is forthcoming.
    • Add your project page to the "Project" category.
  • Use the contact info widget to list people who have roles in the project; steering- and reference group, staff...
  • Add your project to the Projects page.

Internal wiki

The internal wiki is here: https://wiki.neic.no/int/

Drafts and working materials go here, as well as additional staff information and internal communication channels.

  • Get invited to the neic-xxt wiki protection group (working materials for the NeIC extended executive team).
  • Get a *-pm protection group, for use on your project management internal wikipage. This is where you will keep track of management matters relating to your project, such as contracting issues, commitments, deviations and leaves etc, and track actions taken in response to such events.
  • Add a category for your project. Put all pages and uploaded files that relate to your project into this category.
  • Consider adding more categories, eg for draft steering/reference group documents, management agendas, etc. Put these categories in your project category.
  • Create a page for your project.
  • Link to all communication channels used in the project; video meeting rooms, live meeting minutes, slack, calendars...
  • Use the contact info widget to add more info as needed (eg skype handle, postal addresses...).
  • Add your project page to the "Project" category.

Google

NeIC uses Google services extensively; mainly for calendars, video meetings, live co-authoring of documents (like live meeting minutes), storage and sharing, and presentations.

  • Set up a Google calendar for project management, which you and your project will use to agree on management meeting times.
  • Add a management meeting event to this calendar. Add a video meeting to this event. Bookmark this url and use it for all subsequent management meetings.
  • Read up on the documents section in the NeIC openness policy.
  • Use shared live meeting minutes. Have a designated person to take down minutes but give edit rights to all participants and encourage them to add details and correct mistakes on the fly. This increases the probability that everyone has the same idea of what was decided in the meeting, and obviates the need for lengthy processes of sending the meeting minutes around for comments and corrections, but the minutes are actionable directly. There are many services that can be used for this, as for example Google docs, etherpad or sandstorm.io.
    • Note: Use one-time documents for meeting minutes, do not reuse them unthinkingly! This is contrary to advise posted here earlier. Google docs (and others?) have built-in version control so that persons with edit rights can roll back to any earlier version, so casual invitees to (parts of) single meetings can in practice view all old versions of all old draft minutes for as long as the document has been in use, which may not be what you intended or desired.
  • Do the same for steering group and reference group. Share the links to video meeting and live minutes with all participants in respective stakeholder group.
  • Draft meeting agendas on the internal wiki (clearly marked as drafts), take live minutes in mediawiki format, paste back into internal wiki for polishing, send out for comment, and publish on external wiki (cf Working routines#Documents).
  • Consider setting up a Google calendar for project staff, for scheduling weeklies, help organizing p2p meetings etc.

Trello

  • Consider setting up a Trello board to keep track of progress of work tasks in your project.