Sat Mar 14 20:08:29 EDT 2009
explore subsets of those issues for about an hour.
Following the team sessions we meet again as group to reflect on what
we had learned. A member of each team gave a short summary of what
that team learned in the team. Finally a break for lunch.
We repeated the process in the afternoon. This time drilling more
deeply into the issues which we identified in the morning.
The original teams from the morning sessions each explored and
identified three topics worthy of further discussion. That resulted
in 9 topics. We met again as a large group and collaboratively
identified the top seven topics we would like to work on throughout
For the afternoon team session, we then split into groups of three to
four people for the next two hours to produce action items related to
the topics identified in the morning. Next, we came together as a
large group and reflected on the afternoon as member of each team
share their results from the afternoon session.
As a final session we each reflected on SugarCamp by sharing three
good and three bad things about the weekend.
The goals of this SugarCamp methodology are three fold:
1. SugarCamp is a place where participants curious about Sugar come
to learn more about the project. By iterating through the topic
narrowing process they are immediately immersed in the consensus base
decision making process.
2. If Construction-ism is the best method for young learners, it is
good enough for us. My prediction is that if we continue this
methodology we will learn that there is value in having a few prepared
talk. So maybe instructional-ism has a place in learning.
3. It is perfectly scalable. Anyone familiar with the methodology
can hold their own regional SugarCamp. You don't need domain experts
to come and speak. You can invite a group of interested people to
come and learn about the local challenges facing Sugar in your region.
Areas to Improve:
Improve communication between SugarCamp attendees and the larger Sugar
Community. I take entire responsibility for the poor external
communication. I didn't think that as a groups we were capable
learning an entirely new meeting methodology while attempting to
engage the virtual community. (Low floor, High ceiling)
Increase the length of SugarCamp. It would be valuable to have one or
two prepared talks to start day one. They would provide a chance to
learn something entirely new. It would be valuable to iterate through
the process a few more times. Either by drilling deeper into a topic
or starting fresh with new broad topics. Drilling deeper would be
especially useful for new participant as they walk through the entire
contribution process. Teachers might create sample lesson plans.
Marketers might write the upcoming press release. Developers might
hack a bit and submit a patch.
Create measures to insure that the knowledge learned is retained and
available for distribution.
More breaks. I did not anticipate the energy required by this process.
It was pretty exhausting.
More trained facilitators. This is not an easy process. Maybe that
is why deployments complain the construction-ism is difficult without
well trained teachers. It was fascinating to watch Caroline Meeks'
+1, Scott, work with the distribution team. Scott started with a very
limited knowledge of Sugar, yet was able to help the team do some
Strict enforcement of schedules and deadlines. Any passionate person
can come up with a list of 'things we should do', which 9 out 10 times
actually means 'things someone else should do.' The difference at
Sugar Labs is the ability to identify, prioritize, and accomplish
tasks with the limited resources available.
Keep your laptop closed during sessions. If you have spent several
hundred Euros traveling to a face to face event you might as well take
advantage of the time together. If your session is useless, either
try to improve it or vote with your feet by going to a different
session. There also appears to be a very strong correlation between
the enthusiasm with which a participant demands other's attention and
the amount of attention that participants pays to others while they
In the end, I was pretty happy with the process. Anecdotally, several
people have commented they while they felt they did not accomplish
much they learned a lot. The proof will be if SugarCamp participants
move down the participation funnel and issues that were discussed are
fix within the next several weeks.
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