On this month’s call, we invited the Organizational Mycology team to facilitate an Oblique Thinking Hour activity for CSCCE community members. Beth Duckles and Dan Sholler led us through a series of prompts, culminating in breakout conversations where participants looked at community manager challenges from a range of surprising perspectives.
Oblique Thinking Hours
So, you might be wondering: “What is an Oblique Thinking Hour?” These sessions are an experimental way of facilitating a group as they work through a problem or challenge. Instead of attacking the problem head on, they come at it “obliquely,” building an appreciation for what everyone brings to the table before trying to find a solution.
Our January call focused on project management tools and how they can streamline collaborations and improve efficiency. This post includes a summary of the call, as well as video clips of presentations from Lou Woodley (CSCCE; describing the tool Trello), Alycia Crall (the Carpentries; describing Asana), Anne Heberger Marino (Lean-To Collaborations, describing Mural), Ellen Dow (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, describing Todoist).
For our first call of 2022 we’re focusing on project management. It’s a common time of year to be thinking about big picture planning and strategy development, both individually and for your organization or team. And, there are a number of online tools out there that can help you map out your month, quarter, and/or year and keep track of tasks as you go.
In response to several requests, this month’s call will include a general introduction to some of the rationale behind project management as well as active demos of four different platforms that can help you with your project management; Trello, Asana, Mural, and Todoist. We’ll share how we keep on top of things here at CSCCE, as well as hear from three members of the CSCCE community of practice who use one or more of these platforms in their own community management work. There’ll also be an opportunity to try at least one of the tools in breakouts to help guide your own work.
Almost one year on from the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to check in with members of the CSCCE community and find out how they have adapted to working remotely. To that end, this month’s call featured presentations, polls, and breakout rooms to encourage resource sharing and conversation, acknowledging that there is no one way to work productively at home, nor is any one resource a panacea.
This blog post summarizes the call, including video archives of both presentations, and includes a resource list curated from our collaborative notes doc and the Zoom chat. Next month, we’re focusing on virtual and hybrid workshops and conferences, so if you are interested in presenting please let us know by emailing email@example.com.
In this month’s call we’re focusing on working remotely, a situation that most scientific community managers have found themselves in since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll hear from two working-from-home veterans about how they structure their day, what tools or strategies they use to stay connected with their communities, and how they manage the lack of separation between work and life (especially childcare and homeschooling).
We’ll also hold space for you to connect with members of the community in breakout rooms, to talk about relevant topics, and maybe even find virtual coworking colleagues.
In the first of our series of posts by members of the CEFP2019 cohort, Naomi Penfold walks us through her strategy for prioritizing her workflow and staying focused.
You look at your week ahead, and see a calendar jam-packed with meetings and not enough time to respond to community requests or even start to deal with your inbox. Some of these interruptions will be exciting opportunities, but will they help you stay focused on your current goals for the community? Will you ever be able to leave your desk and go home? Despite our best efforts to stay organised and in control, I suspect we all end up feeling overwhelmed at times, especially when community management requires you to be there for people and be reactive in the moment as well as keep the ball rolling with long-term projects and general community programming.
If this resonates, you’re not alone: 32% community managers reported ‘prioritizing number of tasks to do’ as the greatest challenge in their role in CSCCE’s survey in 2016. Clearly something has to give, but who do you prioritise and why? How do you know which tasks are most likely to contribute to your overall mission? How can you say no and avoid becoming overwhelmed? In this post, I describe a method I’m trying to outline, use, and evaluate a community-based strategy. This method has helped me to say no and stay focused before, and now I’m trying to combine it with what we are learning about community strategy through the Community Engagement Fellowship Program.
In December, we wrapped up the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows was made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. We’ll be recruiting for Cohort Two later this year for a start date of January 2019.
Meanwhile, we’re continuing to share reflections from the 2017 Fellows on the blog. In today’s post Allen Pope shares an experiment in which he tries to solve his challenges with multi-tasking. You can catch up on all posts by the Fellows here.
I started my new job running the secretariat of the International Arctic Science Committee at the beginning of 2017. In the past year, there has been a lot for me to learn, a lot for me to get up to speed on, and a lot for me to do! After wrapping up our large annual Arctic science meeting, I realized that I was spending too much time responding to emails and getting small tasks done and not enough time working on longer-term projects and thinking forwards. That might be okay for a little bit, but it isn’t sustainable in the long run.
In our series of posts about results of the State of Scientific Community Management survey we’ve looked into what types of organizations are home to scientific communities, examined their communication channels and ways of planning activities, and analyzed scientific community managers’ backgrounds, skill sets, and how their positions are funded.
In our final blog post about survey results, we return to the topic of community managers’ skill sets, focusing on their top challenges and the areas where they want more training.
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