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From Greg Stein <>
Subject Board process
Date Fri, 18 Jun 2010 22:14:22 GMT
Hi ComDev!

A couple days ago, I wrote a message to somebody describing some of
the process that the Board uses for its meetings. I thought this may
be a helpful start for you guys to write about "How the Board Works".

I've snipped/summarized commentary from the other person, but left in
my text in full (minus a couple snipped references).

I hope this helps!


---------- Forwarded message ----------

[snip: noting that board@ is a "fire hose" of mail leading up to Board meetings]

The authoritative document is the agenda in Subversion. For years now,
I don't actually track the mailing list, but just peruse the agenda a
day or two before the meeting. Thus the "fire hose" is not something
that bothers me.

Those emails *are* there, however, for the people who subscribe to
board@ but may not want to review the agenda. They can pick/choose
reports as they come in. Many other people watch for comments the
Directors make in the agenda (in Subversion) and will respond to those
comments (in the agenda, or on the mailing list).

This is one reason we ask the VPs to put [REPORT} in the subject line:
I know they are redundant with the agenda, and can "safely" be
ignored. I just look for people responding to them, or for other email
threads to start.

[snip: other boards' process]

Yes. This would be equivalent to reviewing the agenda file in
Subversion a few days in advance. In fact, we tell all PMCs to get
their reports in 48 hours before the meeting for *precisely* this
review aspect.

[snip: report submission process]

In our case, you forward it to board@ [...]. If you have
Subversion access, then you'd also copy it into the agenda. If you do
not, then another Director will eventually see that and copy it into
the agenda.

[snip: reviewing agenda to prepare comments]

Yup. And we put the comments *into* the agenda (clearly delineated;
[...]). That way, all the
Directors can see/respond to them *before* the meeting, rather than
worry about needing to keep personal notes during the meeting and
raising them at the appropriate time (and, thus, giving no prep time
for other Directors about the comments that will be raised).

[snip: minutes at next meeting]

We sometimes don't get the minutes in time for the *next* meeting (we
are volunteers), but they pretty much unfailingly show up for the one
after that. We then approve them, and they get published.


I think it is simply that our workflow has not been apparent. [...]

The agenda this month covered over 50 reports and was more than 3000
lines long. Having the agenda in version control, where we can
cooperatively expand on it, review it, and comment on it, *before* the
meeting greatly reduces the time-cost of the meeting. We covered that
*entire* agenda in a mere 70 minutes. And the amount of
review/coverage is much more than you'd expect. The Directors are
reviewing all of that over the couple days leading up the meeting, so
that 70 minutes is just the parts which require vocal discussion.


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