Optimization and Priorities group

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The Optimization and Priorities group meets regularly on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 7:15 pm in Free Geek's meeting room. Suggestions can be sent to priorities <at> freegeek <dot> org. Our email list and meetings are open to any Free Geek volunteer or staff member. You can sign up for the email list here.

Background

On October 19, 2006, the Free Geek Community Council agreed to the following proposal:

Establish an Optimization and Priorities group that reports to the Community 
Council, to perform three basic functions:
* Discuss what we're already doing and how we can do it better
* Compare proposals for expansion 
* Help people turn their ideas into reality

The Optimization and Priorities group wouldn't actually decide anything. 
They'd just review and compare proposals and make presentations to the
community council so that the council wouldn't get bogged down in inumerable
details. The group could probably accomplish its work in a monthly meeting.
On staff, the C7 committee would interface with this new group.

Rewording this into the present tense might be a good idea:

The Optimization and Priorities Group is a subcommittee of the Free Geek Community Council. It performs three basic functions:

  • Discuss what we're already doing and how we can do it better
  • Compare proposals for expansion
  • Help people turn their ideas into reality

The Optimization and Priorities Group does not actually decide anything. It just reviews and compares proposals and makes presentations to the community council so that the council wouldn't get bogged down in inumerable details. The group tries to accomplish its work in monthly meetings. It interfaces to the staff collective through their C7 committee.

Notes

(The following sections were presented with the original proposal to council as explanation.)

Discuss what we're already doing and how we can do it better
This is currently done on an ad hoc basis by groups like the Providence planning committee, but it is not done in an ongoing and organized fashion.
Compare proposals for expansion
We have a tool in the Program Planning Guidelines that help us formally define what we might want to do. However, when the community council sets priorities, it is often forced (by deadlines) to grant or deny a project on its own merits alone, not taking into account other possible projects. The Optimization and Priorities group would maintain a General Priorities document that is constantly being modified. This would be reviewed by the community council, ensuring that it is informed and able to discuss and easily compare Free Geek's options for expansion.
Help people turn their ideas into reality
It can be confusing to a volunteer or staff member how decisions become reality. The flow chart below describes a way in which good quality, organization wide ideas could be put into action at Free Geek.

Visual

This is for changing the status quo, for example program expansion (things that we aren't doing yet, but might want to start doing).

This is a graph with borders and nodes. Maybe there is an Imagemap used so the nodes may be linking to some Pages.

Optimization

The optimization function is to look at the big picture and figure out ways we might be able to do stuff better. This could be performed by an open committee that reports to the community council.

Priorities

The priorities function is to review program planning sheets and compare them. We maintain a General Priorities document on the wiki that would be reviewed, ammended, and approved (or not) by the community council.

Budget

Budget planning is done by the bookkeeper and the treasurer, plus anyone else obvious. We organize and propose budget amendments to the board of directors where the budget is finally worked out.