Hydra Community & Meeting Strategy -- notes from June '13 Boston

On Wednesday, June 5, 2013, one track of the Hydra Partner meetings was to discuss and document the community expansion strategy. This wide ranging discussion touched on making the most of the Hydra face-to-face meetings, as well as "Hydra for Managers" and articulating / documenting the Hydra Way. These are notes from Karen Cariani and Tom Cramer's personal notes from the session, which have been merged into a single set of notes.

Provocative Question: How do you sustain with over 20 partners?

  • Cracks beginning to show
  • need to address size issues
  • partner meetings more challenging when we're larger
  • getting too big, too disparate
  • overhead of organizing / synchronizing so many people = non trivial

When project was less mature and partners fewer, the planful approach (formal agendas, strict timekeeping, lots of advance planning) didn't work real well.
But now with the strategic plan, we have a sense of what can happen on the community / project infrastructure side. Have the opportunity to be more deliberate, do more prep. 
Can we do this on the tech side now? No, not yet.  Tech side still emergent, will demand some flexibility in meeting structure and approach.  

What Works Well Now / Possible Approaches

  • pre-defined agendas
    • knowing ahead of time what we're going to decide before we get here
    • setting the agenda for the next meeting prior to the end of the previous meeting
    • separating the planning / strategy meeting from the developers' meeting
  • split meetings: clear distinction between developers and governance / strategic direction
  • set one mtg a year aside for strategic mgmt. and planning.
    • Dec 2012 Strategy Meeting at UCSD was very successful
  • lightning talks are excellent, quick way to share knowledge, latest developments across partners
    • also makes sure that new partners are participating, not just lurking (good for them to do in particular)
  • open table format works well: set a timer per topic; check in with group at end of time with option to extend or change topic
  • idenitfy areas of preparation / contribution in advance
    • name session leaders, topic champions to frame discussion and do any necessary prep work
  • have a mix of plenary & breakout meetings
    • plenary on Day 1, and/or in the mornings 
    • breakouts in the afternoon, after Day 1
    • plenary (for reporting out, planning next meetings) at end of days and/or on last day

Particular needs for meetings as we grow

  • defining & reinforcing co-development process – both how the developers work together and institutions
  • need support for newer partners – hard to jump in
    • offer a new partners track? first mtg a partner attends has a different agenda/ feeling
  • developers congress……..libdevconx and partner mtgs: keep devs on same page
  • knowing (well) in advance general meeting objectives & best attendees. 
    • critical for travel planning & budgeting
    • especially for overseas participants

What will September 2013 look like?  

  • main focus: how do we share these gems?
  • good number of institutional projects finish end of summer – report out and exchange about projects
  • also have a mgmt / strat. planning track. 

Would be good to have meeting structure to differentiate purpose & best participants for each meeting on an annual cycle. I.e..:

  • Sept: tech focused
  • Dec: two track, a la UCSD:
    • Brainstorm/strategy
    • Developers congress
  • March - pull it together
    • LibDevConX
    • Regional?
  • June  - getting it done
    • prep / finishing touches for summer OR meeting

But for this year shift it around:

  • Sept  2013 – brainstorm/strategy + developers congress
    • code shredding – developers congress
    • steering retreat
    • strategy mtg – bigger group
  • Dec 2013 – Worldwide Hydra Connect
    • 2.5 days global user conference
    • demonstration of apps in user space
    • lightning talks
    • introductions & matchmaking for partners with like needs
    • State of Hydra review
    • review strategic plan...
    • review / define patterns
    • create & deliver tutorials
    • training 
      • level 1 and level 2 hydra camp
      • advanced topics?
    • train the trainers
    • poster sessions

  • March - pull it together
    • LibDevConX  
    • Regional?
      • UK/Ireland: Hull, LSE, DRI
      • Scandinavia  (question)
  • June  - getting it done
    • focus on implementation / follow through on tasks from last three meetings
  • July or Sept '14: Hydra conference @ OR or its own (in Sept)...
    • Promotional
    • Adopters
    • Community
    • Partners
    • Developers

Other conferences to think about: 

  • OR14 next year – Helsinki
  • iPres
  • regional user group mtgs at same time as partner mtgs – skype in groups
  • UK/Ireland user group mtg – around March – Ed and Richard?


Other notes: 

Hydra for Managers

Karen Cariani has produced a draft document: "Hydra for Managers"
See the   Samvera for Managers page for details & commentary.

Articulating the Hydra Way

It would be helpful to define for project as a whole, and for new partners in particular, what defines the "hydra way"–how the project works, how codevelopment happens, what is the nature of the meetings, how to interact effectively online and in person, how to get the most out of the project, how to contribute the most, are contributions from new partners actually welcome, if so how and when can they best make these, etc. This would help by codifying the social / collaborative aspects of the project that have helped make it successful, and also to set expectations for new partners on how to engage. 

To do: 

  • ask each Hydra partner to write one or two or three bullet points / reflections on how Hydra works, what their impressions have been, how they get the most out of the project
  • refine this list in Sept at the Strategic Planning meeting