[tor-dev] Help me guague how full your plate is via regular check-in conversations

Roger Dingledine arma at mit.edu
Wed Oct 30 08:14:18 UTC 2013

On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 11:30:24AM -0700, Tom Lowenthal wrote:
> When applying for grants, planning future work, and otherwise thinking
> about what capacity we have leftover to do things in the future, it's
> really useful to know who's doing what and how much of it. I get some
> of this information from our sponsor/project-specific meetings, but it
> doesn't seem to be the full picture, so I'd like to trot out that old
> chestnut of regular one-on-one chats.

Hi Tom,

Thanks for taking this on.

> This means that I'd like to spend between thirty and sixty minutes
> talking with each of you, once every week or two. I'd like to
> calibrate the frequency so that we can get calls down to 30 minutes
> each, with room to kvetch and have a conversation that's a little more
> than just rattling off deliverable status and time assignments.

Sounds good. But since you snuck the word 'calls' in there, let me suggest
that you be flexible with each person about how they most efficiently
interact. Some people will prefer phone calls, others scheduled irc
meetings, and maybe others will work best with unscheduled irc meetings --
i.e. if they're on irc a lot it might be best just to catch them when
they have a free moment and get an update, rather than spending time
and effort on cordoning off some specific piece of the future.

There's a clear tradeoff here between "makes things more complicated for
Tom" and "makes things more complicated for everybody else". I guess the
trick will be finding the right balance so you can keep up with everybody
while minimizing your impact on their ability to get work done. But I
want to emphasize that while some people want managers ("tell me what
to do next"), others want coordinators ("here's what I've been doing,
please let other people know as needed") and there are probably more
than just these two categories too. Try not to cut off the parts of
people that don't fit in the cookie-cutter mold. :)

Or to make the questions more concrete, a) I assume you would prefer a
more realtime interaction, rather than say email; but b) how do these
meetings relate to, augment, or replace monthly tor-reports mails,
which I remember you once declared an interest in obsoleting?


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