Pretty much everyone in our modern world needs technology to get their work done, including in the nonprofit space. As problem-solving technologists in this sector, we see a lot of requests for proposals (RFPs) from organisations looking for support with a technology project. The majority we see both fall short of addressing project needs and don’t tap into the power of sharing and collaborating. We want to dive into why that is and what we can do about it.
I recently designed a report for a very cool organization called Little Sis (think opposite of Big Brother). They're self-described as "a grassroots watchdog network connecting the dots between the world's most powerful people and organizations". Basically, they follow the money and build interactive maps to show you who's got influence over whom.
This particular report was about the connections between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, President Trump, and fossil fuel interests. The folks at Little Sis had a small budget of $1000 and a short deadline of just about 4 work days.
One of our existing clients, Cathy O’Neil of ORCAA, asked us for some design help a couple months back. She does algorithmic auditing. Meaning: she checks the algorithms companies are building/using for bias. Sometimes algorithms create unfairness without intention. ORCAA wants to fix that and help groups write more unbiased algorithms. They control so much of our lives, after all. You can find algorithms used in teacher pay, the banking system, criminal justice statistics, and more. Even the media we see can be determined by algorithms.
Lessons in slowing down
Another way to organize
In the autumn of 2016, just before the US presidential election, Drew and I traveled to Standing Rock with a collective intention to lend a hand to the organizers in the pipeline resistance. What we brought was able bodies, willingness to work hard, and a few days of our time towards campsite chores. But what I took away was an entirely new perspective on what activism can look like. For me it was a paradigm shift.
It’s probably stating the obvious, but I really like to support folks who are working for a cleaner, healthier, fossil fuel-free future. Colorado Rising is a local grassroots group doing exactly that. They’re working at getting a new issue on the ballot for the 2018 election that would change the regulations for oil and gas development.
A while back we launched the website for Smart Start New Hampshire, a statewide initiative to help families in the Granite State get access to early childhood development opportunities. They were recommended to us by Hilary Nachem, someone I’ve known — and had the chance to collaborate with a few times — over the last few years.
The request was straightforward: a simple WordPress site that the team could edit easily, a nice brand to match their lovely logo which had been done prior to our collaboration, and a way for people in New Hampshire to search for (and contact) their local legislators. The shining gem of the project was the Legislator Lookup plugin we developed.
A lot of folks want to talk about project management with us. And we get it. Project management systems are, at best, imperfect. And there are so many! How can a group ever know for sure that they’re using the best tools and practices for their group?
We use (and have used) a lot of different tools and systems and frameworks. It depends on the project, who’s the project manager (PM), what the client already uses, what people care about, and so on. The truth of the matter is that no one project management system has been our favorite. They’re all *imperfect.
This post is a basic run-down of some of these tools. You can pick and choose what works best for you. Then let us know how you do project management! We’re always looking for new and creative solutions to common human problems.
Here’s the setup: You’re a good little developer and you’re building your latest WordPress Theme using git to track your changes. You’ve got a local environment, where you develop and test edits to your theme file but you don’t have a good way to push those changes to the server. Yesterday, I was doing my development using git but relying on FTP to send updated files to the server. Today, I simply use
git push. Here’s how: Read more
I recently got back from Portland, OR where I had attended DazzleCon and I figured it was worth some sharing and reflection.
The story of Zebras
A brief history, as I understand it
It was almost two years ago that a couple women got together and wrote a critical analysis of the underlying issues with startup culture called Sex & Startups. It poked at toxic masculinity and exaltation of the dollar above everything else (all hail the ROI!) among other things. It’s juicy and it’s spot-on.
Good Good Work has a problem.
Our social justice oriented co-op is currently made up entirely of white contributors. We’re not alone in this; it’s no secret that technology companies often have this problem.
I’d been busily chugging along with work until a couple weeks back, when someone brought up a conversation about emoji skin tone usage in our contributor Slack channel. It prompted a much larger conversation about race, identity, and diversity. Needless to say, that then prompted me to write this post, publicly acknowledging the problem.
My intention here is to be transparent, honest, vulnerable, to admit that I’m not necessarily doing it right, that I may continue to not do it right as I learn and grow, and to open the space to many more voices.
My hope is to make Good Good Work a better place to work and to make myself a better person to work/be in relationship with.
You can track along with me (and Good Good Work) here. I’ll be writing updates on my/our progress as I/we begin to address this issue head-on.
Relationships are built on mutually understood agreements. More often than not, these agreements are based on mutually implicit understandings of common terms. Employee, best friend, peer, co-worker, manager, president, CFO, etc. all have implicit meanings which we assume are commonly understood. In my experience, we can often trace problems in relationships back to misalignment in these implicit understandings. Our expectations of another person do not align with what they believe is expected of them when our agreement is only as deep as a single word like “client” or “consultant.” At the end of the day each of us has our own unique understanding of these words.
At Good Good Work we strive to make the implicit explicit. We also strive to be transparent. To that end, I’m going to dig a little deeper into how we engage with clients. Read more
When Katie and I set off to create Good Good Work, before we even had a name, we were looking for legal advice. We wanted to start a social enterprise that was prefigurative, legally sound, and reflected our radical values. Katie and Jason had been moving in similar circles in Colorado for a while (most specifically, platform cooperativism) and his name kept popping up. It didn’t take us long to realize that we’d be great collaborators.
We decided to work with him to design our business, you know, the one that eventually evolved into the Good Good Work Co-op. Our relationship was built on mutual aid and in-kind trade. As he set up our business we began working on his website, which we all felt didn’t express his professionalism, skill, and leading edge practice. Read more
This past weekend I went to The People’s Disruption: Platform Co-ops for Global Challenges what follows is a download of my notes from the weekend. There were loads of great speakers and the organizers did a great job of centering voices that normally aren’t visible. I went to the first Platform Co-op conference in 2015 and the growth and maturing of the community and movement is inspiring. Get ready for a non-linear dump of links and information! First off, you can view archived livestream of the whole event here. Read more
When you’re part of a co-op you’re part of a movement.
A cooperative is a business operated and democratically controlled by its membership of Owners to meet their common needs and aspirations. For the states in the US that do have a separate legal entity for worker cooperatives, there are some additional requirements that make our companies different than your standard c-corp or s-corp. One of those requirements is adhering to the seven cooperative principles that guide this resurgent worker cooperative movement.
Six of these principles were drafted by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) in 1966, based on guidelines written by the founders of the modern cooperative movement in England in 1844. In 1995, the ICA restated, expanded and adopted the 1966 principles to guide cooperative organizations into the 21st Century.
The fine folks at Good Good Work strive to embody these principles in our work with clients and one another. Here they are… Read more