Charter Guidelines

Even if you think everyone in your group is on the same page, it’s still a really good idea to have a discussion about expectations, ways of working, and even pet peeves. Think of a charter as an excuse to have a healthy discussion.

Your group must submit a charter via CCLE by 11:55 p.m. on Friday, October 27. Your answers don’t have to be long; a few sentences will suffice. The important thing is just to have an open conversation about these matters as a group. If you’d like, you can use this template to fill out your charter.

  1. Choose three words to describe the spirit in which your group will work together. Tattoo them on your arm. (Just kidding about the last part.)
  2. How will you communicate with each other (e.g., text messaging, email, Google group, Trello, etc.)?
  3. Where will you store your files (e.g., Dropbox, Google Drive, server, etc.)?
  4. When you work on a document collaboratively, how will you ensure that you don’t overwrite each other’s changes?
  5. How often will you meet outside of class? Where will you meet? Do you need a regular meeting time? If you’ll schedule meetings as necessary, what days and times are generally good for people?
  6. When are people planning to be out of town or especially busy? How can you work around this?
  7. Assign the following roles to project member(s). Please note that no single team member is responsible for any of these roles; rather, the specialist coordinates activity related to this work and assigns tasks to team members. If your team has more than six members, multiple people may be assigned to one role. If your group has fewer than six members, please combine two roles.
    1. Project Manager: Pays close attention to schedule and milestones. Alerts the team to possible roadblocks or time-crunches. Ensures that communication among team members is efficient and harmonious. Keeps track of all project documentation. Takes notes at meetings. Communicates team needs (for example, additional training on a tool) to the professor and TA. Communicates with subject-matter expert. Submits milestones on time via CCLE.
    2. Web Specialist: Oversees the design and structure of the site. Purchases server space for the project. Oversees the installation of the content-management system and any required plug-ins. Works with the CMS (or HTML files) to ensure that the site performs to the team’s specifications. Installs any required updates to the CMS.
    3. Data Specialist: Oversees the cleaning, refining, and augmenting of the group’s dataset. Teaches other team members how to use OpenRefine. Ensures the data is standardized, usable, and well-formatted.
    4. Mapping Specialist: Oversees the project’s maps. Geolocates data. Learns how to use (and teaches teammates how to use) the appropriate tools. Fine-tunes map display. Adds maps to site.
    5. Data Visualization Specialist: Oversees the project’s data visualizations. Ensures that data is in the right format. Learns how to use (and teaches teammates how to use) the appropriate tools. Fine-tunes data visualizations and adds them to site.
    6. Content Specialist: Oversees the authoring of the site’s main narrative and ensures that the data visualizations and maps integrate neatly with the written content. Writes section headers and captions. Obtains necessary images and embeds them in the site. Oversees the creation of the “About” page.
  8. Do all decisions need to be unanimous, or is “majority-rules” OK?
  9. How will you prevent meetings from going off-track?
  10. If someone doesn’t do what they said they would by the agreed-upon time, how will the team handle the situation?
  11. What are group members’ pet peeves from previous collaborations? How will you avoid these?
  12. What will happen to the project when you’re done with it? Will you maintain it, or let it expire?

One thing to remember: if someone’s not coming through with something they said they’d do, it’s not the project manager’s role to discipline them; just take note of the problem and talk with them and the rest of the team to figure out how to reallocate the work. If you need your TA to be aware of a problem, you can let them know, but do try your best to work it out together first. Always stay calm; we’ll listen and believe you about a problem, so you never need to get angry at anyone. Let us do the stern talking.

And just for fun (but it’s kind of educational, too!), here’s a CIA manual on how to sabotage an organization. Try not to do this!