Seasons Timeline

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Overview

The Seasons Timeline is an interactive spreadsheet that helps us discuss, visualize and assess where we are in relation to our quarterly goals and priorities. This interactive timeline is closely tied to the Working Circles and their corresponding Trello boards and assigns clear and concrete responsibilities to the members of the collective. Inspired by the methodology used at Asana but tweaked to our particular circumstances, the Seasons Timeline allows us to have clarity of plan and to turn our goals into something tangible.

Our calendar is structured into four quarters called "seasons". At the beginning of each season's cycle, we integrate new ideas and processes, set up our goals, rank them in order of priority and designate who will be stewarding each of the working circle and processes during the following three months.

Seasons screenshot.png

Structure

  • The colored fields in column A correspond to the different working circles.
  • Every working circle breaks down into an assortment of "processes" that are displayed in column B.
  • The target tasks to be completed within each process are listed on column C. The target tasks are ordered from up to down in terms of their priority.
  • Column D is destined to stewardship. The partnered-up co-stewards of every process are backed up by the steward of the whole working circle.
  • Column E reflects the status of the task with a simple “traffic lights” (green-yellow-red) color coding scheme that is further explained below.
  • And finally, column F is reserved for any annotations relevant to the procedure.

Of course, the spreadsheet serves as a general glimpse of the overall progress of the collective, but does not provide an in-depth description of the goals or any instructions about how to meet them. For a more detailed description of the tasks, click on the links on the processes column to visit the respective Trello card or name-like Loomio thread.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Processes stewardship: members are partnered up to share the responsibility, support each other and work together towards the consecution of the determined goals. As it has been mentioned above, their responsibilities consist in checking their working circles on a weekly basis and organize their schedule in order to manage their time and duties efficiently.
  • Working Circles stewardship: the responsibilities of the steward of each working circle is assisting the processes stewards and making sure everything works as it should.

Workflow Tools

Ensuring a healthy and steady progress within a process implies checking the pertinent Trello boards and cards regularly. Keeping an eye on any new activity that might occur on its Loomio thread or Slack channel is also recommended. Although Trello cards and boards are supposed to be up-to-date, this process is not automatic and somebody has to be the first to replicate the information.

Timeline Rhythms

The timeline is meant to be visited by each member at least once a week. Each member is expected to:

  • Check the Timeline and evaluate their own progress in those processes in which they provide stewardship.
  • Drop by their working circles' Trello boards and have a look around, doing housekeeping whenever it is necessary (update due dates and make sure everything is on the right track). To make things easier, we suggest using the filter search to see those cards in which a user is tagged in.
  • Do their own organization for the week.

The timeline is then reviewed and discussed by the team every two weeks, during the Biweekly Sprint, where we make a general assessment of our progress in relation to our projected goals.

Finally, in each Quarterly Retrospective, we create a new Season tab and set the goals for the quarter that ensues.

Seasons

We decided to name the quarterly periods as "seasons" since the beginning and the end of each quarter is marked by the solstices and equinoxes, which conveys the concept of rotating periods and honors natural transition.

  • Winter (December 21st - March 21st)
  • Spring (March 21st - June 21st)
  • Summer (June 21st - September 21st)
  • Autumn (September 21st - December 21st)

Special Weeks: Greasing and Polishing

Towards the middle of each season -one month and a half into the quarter- we step into the Grease Week, where we focus on internal improvements.

Two weeks after the Grease Week, the Polish Week ensues, with the focus laid on the consecution of small and external achievements.

Progress Status and Color Coding

The Seasons Timeline employs a classic “traffic lights” (green-yellow-red) color coding scheme to express the progress status of the ongoing tasks.

Green: steady and uncluttered progress.

Yellow: there is some sort of hindrance (low or irregular engagement, obstacles, pending issues or delays) and much room for improvement.

Red: stagnant progress; lack of engagement, disagreement or confusion, the issue needs to be discussed and fixed.