Re: Looking for model cohousing decision logs
From: Kathy Icenogle (kathy.icenoglegmail.com)
Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2015 06:29:04 -0700 (PDT)
We keep (are trying to keep) decision logs for each team - Using the "List"
page type in Google Sites.... (we use that to track Action Items - and
Agenda Item requests as well) ...but that's just the technical side.

I agree with the others that it is mostly an matter of defining your
process (what's recorded, how, by whom, when) and making a commitment to
following through on it. That's the hard part.

But I think those are all worthwhile things to do, because it really
clarifies what's decided, who's supposed to do what, etc. ...because, as
Sharon pointed out, searching minutes doesn't always cut it.  (Thanks for
the comments on Wordpress as well, Sharon. I wish I knew it like I know
Google Sites. And, unfortunately, migrating at this point would be tough.)

Kathy Icenogle
Washington Village



On Sun, Aug 9, 2015 at 7:02 AM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at] comcast.net> wrote:

>
> For many second-order decisions, there is no proposal written in advance.
> Instead, a sense of the meeting evolves during the dialog, and eventually
> coalesces into a consensus.  In such cases, I've found it helpful for the
> note-taker to close out the item by reading to the group what s/he intends
> to record as the outcome.  Nobody leaves the room until this written record
> is indeed confirmed.  (The other interesting thing about this exercise is
> that it often exposes inconsistencies, incompletions, and ambiguities about
> a "decision": Many dialogs do not resolve into a conclusion ...)
>
> Philip Dowds
>
> > On Aug 8, 2015, at 10:50 AM, Catya Belfer <catya [at] pobox.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > I can help with the technical side of this, but this isn't really a
> > technology problem.  It's a problem of people actually recording what
> they
> > mean to decide:
> >
> > Not "Can I see cards on the proposal?" but "Can I see cards on spending
> #x
> > on y from z budget"  (many other variants on this.)
> >
> > Not "Proposer will send the final language we figured out on paper to the
> > people who owns the log & website later" and then they don't do it
> >
> > And then, of course, people are pissed later when they can't find the
> > language or disagree on what was decided.
> >
> > So, be CLEAR.  And record it with keywords as Sharon notes. And make
> > getting final language published a priority.
> >
> >     - cat
> >
> > (Why yes, I own my community websites and often the decision log as much
> as
> > I try to give it away, why do you ask?)
> >
> > Catya Belfer   -  www.catya.org
> > Technical Director   -   www.cohousing.org
> > Cohousing in MA - www.mosaic-commons.org
> >
> > On Sat, Aug 8, 2015 at 9:26 AM, Sharon Villines <
> sharon [at] sharonvillines.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>
> >>>> On Aug 7, 2015, at 10:25 PM, Mary Vallier-Kaplan <marycvk [at] gmail.com>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> It would be great to hear your lessons learned to date in creating a
> >>> decision log, what you would do differently, samples of good systems,
> >> etc.
> >>
> >> I have started a decision log with “start” being the operative word. It
> >> would have been incredible to have had one from the beginning. Almost 15
> >> years later, even those who were here at the time have forgotten that
> this
> >> or that didn’t just happen, we decided we wanted it to happen. No, this
> >> wasn’t an autocratic decision. The team made this decision. This is why
> we
> >> made this decision.
> >>
> >> We have been good at recording policies and approved guidelines but not
> >> those decisions recorded in what is now a vast wide river of team notes
> and
> >> membership meeting minutes. We had supreme faith in the archive of
> >> YahooGroups messages that now have limited searches and I can’t find
> >> anything. And who can remember all the keywords that might be associated
> >> with a decision anyway.
> >>
> >> In a search for anything regarding our “south alley”, I had to search
> >> about five spellings and misspellings of “alley” and as well as “south
> >> easement” “easement” "south drive” etc. to find everything—at least what
> > I can help with the technical side of this, but this isn't really a
> > technology problem.  It's a problem of people actually recording what
> they
> > mean to decide:
> >
> > Not "Can I see cards on the proposal?" but "Can I see cards on spending
> #x
> > on y from z budget"  (many other variants on this.)
> >
> > Not "Proposer will send the final language we figured out on paper to the
> > people who owns the log & website later" and then they don't do it
> >
> > And then, of course, people are pissed later when they can't find the
> > language or disagree on what was decided.
> >
> > So, be CLEAR.  And record it with keywords as Sharon notes. And make
> > getting final language published a priority.
> >
> >     - cat
> >
> > (Why yes, I own my community websites and often the decision log as much
> as
> > I try to give it away, why do you ask?)
> >
> > Catya Belfer   -  www.catya.org
> > Technical Director   -   www.cohousing.org
> > Cohousing in MA - www.mosaic-commons.org
> >
> > On Sat, Aug 8, 2015 at 9:26 AM, Sharon Villines <
> sharon [at] sharonvillines.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>
> >>>> On Aug 7, 2015, at 10:25 PM, Mary Vallier-Kaplan <marycvk [at] gmail.com>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> It would be great to hear your lessons learned to date in creating a
> >>> decision log, what you would do differently, samples of good systems,
> >> etc.
> >>
> >> I have started a decision log with “start” being the operative word. It
> >> would have been incredible to have had one from the beginning. Almost 15
> >> years later, even those who were here at the time have forgotten that
> this
> >> or that didn’t just happen, we decided we wanted it to happen. No, this
> >> wasn’t an autocratic decision. The team made this decision. This is why
> we
> >> made this decision.
> >>
> >> We have been good at recording policies and approved guidelines but not
> >> those decisions recorded in what is now a vast wide river of team notes
> and
> >> membership meeting minutes. We had supreme faith in the archive of
> >> YahooGroups messages that now have limited searches and I can’t find
> >> anything. And who can remember all the keywords that might be associated
> >> with a decision anyway.
> >>
> >> In a search for anything regarding our “south alley”, I had to search
> >> about five spellings and misspellings of “alley” and as well as “south
> >> easement” “easement” "south drive” etc. to find everything—at least what
> >> seems to be everything.
> >>
> >> This is where I think your own Wordpress installation on your own
> internet
> >> hosting account, I like Bluehost, would be a life saver. It is
> essentially
> >> a file box (or database) of individual records that can be searched by
> any
> >> word you want to search. Or you can set up keywords so topics are
> connected
> >> to a standard set of words.
> >>
> >> Keywords are the salvation of non-standard recording. We recently went
> >> through a long process of deciding where to store a copy of each unit
> key.
> >> The discussion evolved using combination box, wall box, keybox, key box,
> >> locked box, lock box lockbox, etc. Over a two-year period, the variety
> was
> >> staggering. Because I was putting the minutes into Wordpress, I was
> able to
> >> use keywords along the way AND when we finally settled on a name, go
> back
> >> and change the keywords to the final word, “keybox” or just add
> “keybox” to
> >> each record.
> >>
> >> If we have two keyboxes, I can change “Keybox” to "Unit Keybox” by
> adding
> >> the new keyword once. All the records update automatically.
> >>
> >> Wordpress is used by millions of people, help is always available, and
> >> there are many good instruction sites. Someone in your community would
> need
> >> to learn it so you can do updates easily but it isn’t hard. Just start
> >> simple with the latest theme.
> >>
> >> (Google is all too likely to go the way of Yahoo—cutting out the
> features
> >> you most depended on.)
> >>
> >> Sharon
> >> ----
> >> Sharon Villines
> >> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
> >> http://www.takomavillage.org
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
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> >
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