Operations Cookbook Initiative

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Operations roundtable

How do we democratize the knowledge that big institutions build? We need to open source the non-technological aspects of infrastructure to make it resilient, redundant, etc.

Policies, procedures, HR, finance, office management, facilities.

We intend to start to create a repository of methods that work.

The core group (Josh Black, Ken Montenegro, Lisa Jervis) created a survey to get some data from organizations.

Unreasonable expectations exist on non-profits. Sometimes a large corporation has grant requirements that aren’t reasonable for small groups.

Intros: Participants identified interests in policies, documentation, intersection with tech, legal/financial infrastructure, volunteer operations. Finding radical bookkeepers/lawyers/technologists/tax accountants.

Explanation of the project: Facilitators want to build an open source “Operations Cookbook” for small (~20 or fewer staff) for social justice.

Also: This labor is often invisible. We want to make the labor less invisible.

There’s a radical operations Facebooks group – called something like “RadOps”. Build a community of practice. There’s also a Bay Area group called “Admin Folks”.

Categories of operations: Continuing community support. Support on canary statements, HR (inc. compliance, fairness to people, hiring practices, job descriptions), finance, office management, procurement, formation/starting up/phase changes, logistics, information management (i.e. filing, retention policies, document management), technology, internal communications, change management, business continuity/disaster planning, volunteer management, operations with distributed teams, travel/visa logistics, finance roles/responsbilities, internal SLAs/workflows, table of organization, permission management (ho has access to what data), conflict resolution/grievance policy, harassment/non-discrimination/code of conduct policies, governance (esp. radical governance), participatory movement building and a movement-building approach.

We need to have modular documents.

HR is not just HR administration; it’s the heart of the organizational culture. We discussed back and forth what’s meant by HR. Is it “culture”, “talent management”, “policies and employee manuals”, etc.

How do we bake in radical decision-making? Let’s make sure these recipes aren’t a model for making traditional non-profits?

Region-specific resources would be helpful. Also pointers to external resources.

We need a glossary of definitions.

Let’s go through the mainstream resources (e.g. articles in SHRM, Society for Human Resources Management) and see where social justice organizations aren’t being served (I.e. critical resource review)


Photos available here: https://imgur.com/a/WYOdQ