New management structure, auditing and improved workflow

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Drastic changes for the better?

  • Yay

    Votes: 66 93.0%
  • Nay

    Votes: 5 7.0%

  • Total voters
    71
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q220

Eru Iluvatar
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#1
This is an article to give you an insight in what is happening behind the screens, and what I'm currently putting a lot of attention into. All of this is not yet written in stone and subject to change.

New Management Structure
One of the main problems in this project is the fact that decision making takes ages, and that most decisions pass through the Valars that each have their say, and needs the approval of the majority of these. Some decisions even need unanimous approval, and the moment when someone isn't online, or active, or someone doesn't agree, the process of decision taking can take up days, weeks, sometimes a decision is never taken. It also blocks much needed progress in some cases. The Valar rank also grew out of its confinements over time, getting more and more responsibilities, while it was unclear who was responsible for what, or who did what exactly.

Within the new upcoming structure, this will change back to how the Valar rank used to be in the earlier days. And that is one person responsible for a major aspect of the community/server.

  • An updated Ranks and Duties page, that contains the new structure at the level of Valar, with their department, their responsibilities, what I expect of them, and who is the person responsible for that department.
  • Valar will still have freedom in decision making and their creative process, and they remain the prime persons who get involved into, but community related matters and everything else not included in the new ranks and duties page, are decisions taken by Eru Iluvatar, unless they are implemented as a responsibility of a certain department.
Another thing that will change in the future is a form of Auditing. Auditing will be an activity done by someone to scout for problems within the project structure and workflow and make a report of these. While creating awareness of these problems they can be tackled and dealt with much sooner, before they become a major problem. Examples could be: Project site Y is taking longer than expected, because the main Project Manager has gone inactive, and there is no replacement PM assigned. Or the creation of Project site Z is stalling because we are still waiting for the new textures to be finished, or the resourcepack to be released.

Improved Workflow

I'm investigating the current workflow on the realization of projects, and am considering in revamping the ranks and permissions to give more freedom to finish projects, while eliminating as much downtime as possible that is caused by external factors (such as no project manager, unclear objectives, lousy planning and preperation prior to the public announcement of the project, ...)
 

vShen

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#4
So for Auditing, people will be chosen to investigate projects and efficiency in the community? Or will this be done by Staff members?
 

q220

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#5
I'm trying to not let someone who is in charge of let's say building, do audits for building, as with "tunnel vision" you tend not to see things that are more apparent to other people. Thus it will most likely be another entity or person who analyzes that.

Communication is key to performing an Audit, and due to its nature, it always ends up as a (written) report. I'm trying to press the importance of written communication and its advantages (sometimes disadvantages) and having to perform Audits that produce written reports are far more easier to locate problems and make sure everyone is aware of a certain issue.
 

vShen

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#6
I'm trying to not let someone who is in charge of let's say building, do audits for building, as with "tunnel vision" you tend not to see things that are more apparent to other people. Thus it will most likely be another entity or person who analyzes that.
And when they are finished investigating a project, do they report directly to you or a Valar?
 

q220

Eru Iluvatar
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#7
And when they are finished investigating a project, do they report directly to you or a Valar?
The point would be post that report in the staff discussions, where it can raise awareness and we can start looking into a solution.
 

findekano

Builds Diagonally
Mar 30, 2014
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#9
How confidential will the audits be, obviously there are advantages to both ways, but there is a difference between a forum post and a separate google docs etc. One other point is that a written report takes time, so possibly having verbal reports for small projects so that it occurs in the timeframe of the project, while larger get written reports could help, but depends on the scope of the auditors.
 

q220

Eru Iluvatar
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#10
It will be posted on the forums. We use Google Docs as well, but that tends to lead to access problems (people who should have access but don't, and people who don't have access that should). The forum groups, which correspond to the ingame ranks, are updated fairly regularly, and eliminates this problem.

And written communication is very important when it comes to handling a free-time project such as this, with people from different time-zones, and who aren't in the same physical location.
 

dags_

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#13
To play devil's advocate somewhat:

You highlighted administrative bureaucracy as getting in the way of the development of projects etc. How do you feel the introduction of further administrative measures would alleviate this?

Who would have to sort through these reports and decide what is worth forwarding to the staff forums?
What happens if this person is inactive or fails to fulfil their role - another audit maybe? :p
How will decisions be made once they reach the staff forums?
What if the staff forums discussions are split on a key (or any) decision?


Don't get me wrong, it was 'big change' that I was pushing for before eventually giving up and resigning. I'm just not sure that I see how the above proposals directly improve things.
 

The_AWOL

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#14
One of the main problems in this project is the fact that decision making takes ages
Tis just like the ents at entmoot. "take a long time to say anything, don't say something unless it's worth taking a long time to say."
 

q220

Eru Iluvatar
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#16
To play devil's advocate somewhat:

You highlighted administrative bureaucracy as getting in the way of the development of projects etc. How do you feel the introduction of further administrative measures would alleviate this?

Who would have to sort through these reports and decide what is worth forwarding to the staff forums?
What happens if this person is inactive or fails to fulfil their role - another audit maybe? :p
How will decisions be made once they reach the staff forums?
What if the staff forums discussions are split on a key (or any) decision?


Don't get me wrong, it was 'big change' that I was pushing for before eventually giving up and resigning. I'm just not sure that I see how the above proposals directly improve things.
I didn't say anywhere that administrative bureaucracy is getting in the way, I said that the current structure has flaws because the decision making takes place for a long time, or gets hindered because there is no unanimous agreement.

The measures I want to implement tackle these problems head on by assigning specific responsibilities to someone specific, instead of the vague ranks with no specific set of responsibilities. The Valar rank is the most prone to these problems, as everything right now is pretty much chaotic decision making and everyone wants their say even on subjects that do not concern them to be frank.

I also pointed out that Audits will not be run be the same person each time, and running an audit does not really take a long time. The point is to have a fresh (external) insight of someone, as that usually leads to great discoveries or the way to good ideas. The report the person would make is fairly standard, and everything they found gets published in that report, but that doesn't mean everything in it is utter truth, it is just the opinion of someone externally. In the end, the choice on what to do falls upon me or the person responsible for that aspect (build, lore and order, ...). Staff will be free to post their suggestions and findings in that auditing thread as well, but there will be no 'voting' or whatsoever on what to take as measure.

If there is one thing I want to reduce or remove, it is the current slow progress, or structures that simply can't lead to decisions.
 

dags_

Hardcore MCME-er
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#17
I said that the current structure has flaws because the decision making takes place for a long time, or gets hindered because there is no unanimous agreement.
I was summarising/paraphrasing. I feel the point in the question is still valid, regardless of whether you agree with the wording of the premise.

everything right now is pretty much chaotic decision making and everyone wants their say even on subjects that do not concern them to be frank.
This is quite vague, are you referring internally within the admin/moderator forums, or to discussions like this one also?

I also pointed out that Audits will not be run be the same person each time, and running an audit does not really take a long time. The point is to have a fresh (external) insight of someone, as that usually leads to great discoveries or the way to good ideas. The report the person would make is fairly standard, and everything they found gets published in that report, but that doesn't mean everything in it is utter truth, it is just the opinion of someone externally.
Yeah I got that. The points I made were regarding how those reports would be handled once they're submitted from this external party.

What I was eluding to here, is that having someone write a report - picking out the potential issues - gets you to the same point that someone simply raising it as concern would.
You'd still have to go through the processes of deciding whether it's a valid point, what the potential solutions might be, which of those solutions is the most suitable, and then how to go ahead and implement said solution. It's this latter part that you've said isn't working too well, isn't it?


Again, I'm not opposing or enforcing opinion on stuff here. Just raising some points/questions that I think would be worth considering - 'external insight', if you will.
 
Last edited:

Phylo650

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Mar 5, 2014
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#18
So what I got out of your posts was.....

"everything right now is pretty much chaotic decision making and everyone wants their say even on subjects that do not concern them to be frank."

and...

" I want to reduce or remove... the current slow progress, or structures that simply can't lead to decisions."

Sounds good, lets give it a try. If it doesn't work something else can be tried.

p.s. As I was reading your posts I couldn't help but think you were describing the U.S. government :p
 

BevsForBros

Manual Treebuilder
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#19
What I was eluding to here, is that having someone write a report - picking out the potential issues - gets you to the same point that someone simply raising it as concern would.
You'd still have to go through the processes of deciding whether it's a valid point, what the potential solutions might be, which of those solutions is the most suitable, and then how to go ahead and implement said solution. It's this latter part that you've said isn't working too well, isn't it?
I think when Q is referring to auditing, I would assume he means more on the lines of within the circle of staff. Sure members of the community can raise concerns, but they aren't always fully knowledgeable of who is leading projects, what needs to be done on the project, when it is taking too long, etc. Having a staff member, who knows when something is not flowing well in the workflow, specifically designated to looking out for and address problems will most definitely help things run smoother.

That's why Q wants to make Valar changes because it would directly flow into these auditing additions. Having someone designated to point out issues while also reformatting the Valar back to having specific tasks allows for less people to be involved in decision making. Instead of all the Valar trying to decide on something, then Credoo and Q could decide on a building issue, just as Iru and Q could also decide on Bounder related issues. Q addressed this in the main post:

...that most decisions pass through the Valars that each have their say, and needs the approval of the majority of these. Some decisions even need unanimous approval, and the moment when someone isn't online, or active, or someone doesn't agree, the process of decision taking can take up days, weeks, sometimes a decision is never taken.
Essentially I see this as specific focus on looking for issues + quicker decision making. Seems like a good solution to me.
 

q220

Eru Iluvatar
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#20
What I was eluding to here, is that having someone write a report - picking out the potential issues - gets you to the same point that someone simply raising it as concern would.
You'd still have to go through the processes of deciding whether it's a valid point, what the potential solutions might be, which of those solutions is the most suitable, and then how to go ahead and implement said solution. It's this latter part that you've said isn't working too well, isn't it?.
Not quite, as of now complaining boils down to 'old wives nagging' on teamspeak, while the issue itself as good as never gets posted on the forums, and thus I'm not aware of the issue, nor are some other admins. Great latest examples would be that pvp was enabled in the plotworld, that building there suddenly became impossible, or that the job plugin randomly kicks people. Complaining in a chat channel how it sucks doesn't help, but writing it down so we can assign it to the right person and raise his awareness to fix the matter does. The numbers? Apperantly the job plugin was broken for weeks, but nobody bothered contacting me that it had this issue, and thus I thought everything went just fine. Meggawatts deployed a fix, but then I wasn't aware that the plugin updated, and thus the plugin never got deployed on the live server. Then someone contacted me to point out these issues, I became aware of it, and deployed the update to the server itself. Basically it boils down to efficient communication. If that person didn't contact me, the plugin would never have been updated up to the point where I'm doing a major update the server again (which takes place every two months)
 
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