Running IRC Team Events
Every team can benefit by running regular IRC events. These events provide a vitality for the team, an ability to share information and a means to get to know other team members. To work though, these events need to be properly organised and run, and this guide is here to help you do that.
To run an event you need to do four things:
- Book it
- Advertise it
- Run it
- Document it
Each of these steps is fairly straightforward, and once you have been through it once, it is easily repeatable. It is recommended that you have regular events, but this regularity is dependent on your team - for some teams regular may mean bi-monthly, but some it may mean fortnightly.
Deciding on what kind of session
Before you can hit the four steps to get your meeting arranged, you first need to decide what kind of meeting you want and where it should be held:
Team Meeting - if you want to have a meeting to discuss the direction of the team or a future roadmap, you should hold it in your team's IRC channel or #ubuntu-meeting.
Training Session - to run a tuition session, you will need a volunteer who wants to run the session, and it should take place in #ubuntu-classroom.
IMPORTANT: Whichever channel you decide to hold a meeting in, the meeting should be logged so it can be put online for those who could not attend it.
Step 1: Book it
You need to first decide who will run your session and when it will happen. When deciding on a time, try to pick a time and date that is doable for everyone, and remember you are likely to have a worldwide audience. When listing the time UTC is the preferred timezone.
Now you need to book the IRC channel:
For team meetings - if you want to hold your meeting in #ubuntu-meeting see this page to book it. Otherwise, hold the meeting in your team IRC channel at a time that does not conflict with any other team events.
For training/tutorial sessions - tutorial and training sessions should be held in #ubuntu-classroom. To book the room, edit this wiki page and add your session at the relevant time and date in the table.
With the channel booked you should create a wiki page on your team's wiki homepage with details of the session. This is an example of such a page. Feel free to copy its structure for your own page.
IMPORTANT: Every session should have an agenda, ensure yours does too! An agenda is essential for keeping a session focused.
Step 2: Advertise it
No-one will come to your session if you don't advertise it, so you should make a point of spreading the word in the following ways, with plenty of notice:
- Post to your team's mailing list about the meeting
- Add it to the topic of your team's IRC channel
If it is a one-off or notable session, submit a story to http://fridge.ubuntu.com/
- Blog about it
For each of the above, remember to specify the topic of the meeting, the location on IRC channel, and the time (with timezone) and date. You may also want to indicate who is running the session.
Step 3: Run it
Running the session involves two core skills:
- Running the session, be it discussing issues or delivering training/tuition
- Dealing with questions
If you are running a training session, you may want to prepare your session first so you can cut and paste content into the channel. This is a particularly useful technique, and can save on rampant finger pain when typing quickly in a session.
Dealing with questions depends on what kind of session you have:
For team meetings - just accept questions in the channel and answer them as they appear
For training/tutorial sessions - these sessions are more structured around a tuition session and you should ask your audience to post questions into #ubuntu-classroom-chat and prefix them with QUESTION (e.g. <DaveJ> QUESTION: How can I do foo?) - this makes it easy for the session leader to pick out the questions from the general chatter. Each question should be then cut and pasted into the main #ubuntu-classroom channel where it can be answered
Step 4: Document it
Make sure your session is logged and added to a wiki page on your team wiki homepage. You may also wanted to have a summary of the discussion, but be sure that the summary remains objective and does not adjust the tone or conclusion of the discussion.
You should also announce the meeting log to your mailing list so others are aware it is there.