SDE Skills - A self-organizing volunteer powered community

Unleash the power of volunteer led, self-organizing groups!

Posted by SDE Skills on July 18, 2020 · 3 mins read

In the past few months, we have kicked off several initiatives with varying degrees of success. I was thinking about what makes initiatives succeed?

Here are some of the traits that we see in the initiatives that have taken off well. If you are looking to start something, consider implementing some of these best practices.

  • Group Size: Start by finding something that motivates you, and a group of others, this groupshould be focused and interested in the initiative.You will need a minimum of 5 individuals as critical mass to start any initiative, and once you cross the threshold of 19, you should have a self-sustaining program.

  • Group Dynamics: Every one should be empowerd to do their own thing. Work collaboratively. That said, there will be champions / mentors of the group who have the most context or have a bit of experience. Remember, you need to work together as a group, focused on the initiative as opposed to bunch of individuals. Each initiative should have the following “types” of members

Group composition

A group is typically comprised of:

  • Champions: Folks who are most passionate about the success of this initiative. Typically 2-3 individuals, who are accountable for the vision and outcome. Typically these folks will be “Organizers” in the SDE Skills group, and will liason with other intiatives. Champions are also responsible for engaging the community and identifying and coaching leads who can play an expanded role in ensuring the success of the initiative.
  • Leads: Folks who are interested in the success of the initative. The interests may be transient, and these leads can play this role for a 3-4 month period at a stretch. Leads ensure that there is a good schedule for the initiative and help with identifying and coaching future leads.
  • Participants: Folks who are beneficiaries from the initiative.

Desirable qualities:

  • Ownership: This is your community, and this is your group. You are empowered to take decisions that relates to the operation of you initiatives. SDE Skills org prescribes a few loose guidelines that are in place to promote consistency between initiatives, and enable faster discovery. Take the initiative, join with 2-3 peers and get going! Ask the organizers if you need any support for logistics. Ownership and Commitment is Key!

  • Coaching: SDE Skills is built on the principles of helping each other learn. For any successful initiative, it is imperative that each member is made self-sufficient. Focus on mentoring and coaching as much as you can.

  • Trust and respect: Another founding principle of SDE Skills. We are a diverse group of individuals with an inclusive culture. We trust and respect each other.