Re: Common spaces and decision making
From: Susan Hyne (
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2012 09:42:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Katie Henry <katie-henry [at]>

Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Common spaces and decision making

> It seemed (and still seems) to me that communities should have a person
or team specifically to assist with the proposal process.

At CoHo Ecovillage (Corvallis, Oregon), our design review process is the
most paperwork and conversation-intensive process we've created.  Our
Buildings Team and our Grounds Administration Team each have a member that
is a liaison to folks submitting a project for review.  In general, that
support has been helpful.

>From a broader perspective, we have recently focused on providing more
support to "Champions" who coordinate community projects.  At our spring
Steering Council retreat (which focused on how things get done in our
community), we noted that while Champions are critical to the success of
projects, we weren't providing them much support.  Project management can
be a frustrating and thankless job.  We brainstormed some ideas and added
more at a one-time meeting of (self-identified) Champions.

The two ideas that really resonate with me are recruiting for specific
skills when building a project team (it's de-energizing to work on a team
where only one person will take notes or do action items or follow through)
and asking for a huddle when I need support (I have one scheduled today).

Here are some of our suggestions....

*General Ideas*

·      Appreciate our project managers more often and more openly

*Organizational Ideas*

·      Assign Co-Champions to larger projects (to share the load, balance
skills/talents--one administrative person and one subject matter person,
avoid burn-out)

·      Write job description for Champion so responsibilities/limits are

·      Create project description so scope, timeline are clear

·      Do an initial exploratory step to more clearly define project and
skills needed, then recruit helpers

·      Set an early check-in time to make a decision about the project:  either
a) go ahead or b) stop if the cost/benefit balance has shifted


·      Request coaching from another project manager or a "huddle" with a
group of project managers (aka a "band of roving problem solvers") to
figure out next steps and/or how to get "unstuck"

·      Request help with general project management skills

·      Request advice on how to get things done in CoHo

·      Enlist help of CPR (Conflict Prevention and Resolution Team) for
small-group discussions when working out differences of opinion

Susan Hyne

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