Circle (organization)

Whenever we do work, however big or small the task, we can think of it in terms of three components: scope, schedule, and budget - what is to be achieved? when is it to be achieved, and what resources are required to achieve it? Whether it is changing a light bulb or modifying the Earth’s atmosphere. And pretty much everyone attacks work in the same way: we make a list.

A work circle is like an individual. The circle has a to-do list and a scope - it exists for a reason. Because it is a collection of individuals, the particular details of what is to be done are written where everyone can see - a shared to-do list. Within the circle, the workers may apportion tasks or all work together - it is up to the members. The to-do list can be in an online management tool or written on a whiteboard if everyone happens to be working the same place(!), but we will expect that to be quite rare. <identify some good tools; Kanban? Trello?>

The scope of work will have a schedule, even if it is preliminary (let’s try this procedure and see how fast we proceed, then update the completion date in four days); and a resource limit - the number of man-hours represented by the circle members. Because we are all-volunteer and have varying levels of time commitment, a circle’s capacity to progress can be hard to assess. But because other circles are reliant on this circle’s output - it is incumbent on the circle to assess its “availability” on a regular basis. We anticipate that it will be possible to add resources to a circle if it determines that it has insufficient capacity with current staffing. <need: staff commitment and completion estimating worksheet>

A circle is not an island. Unlike an individual mind, a circle’s boundary is permeable. Its membership is variable. The status of the work is no longer something that is just known - it is on display for all to see. Regular visitors to the circle will be members of other interested circles, and they must have easy access to the latest status - as an example, each circle should either have a quality assurance circle member or be able to accommodate occasional quality assurance circle members. Remove barriers to entry within the Collective.