Board Task Tracking

Page to collect ideas for how the foundation board should track tasks. This is an outcome from discussions at the 2015 board GUADEC meeting.


  • Provide pertinent agendas for board meetings.
  • Ensure that important ongoing issues receive sufficient attention, and aren't forgotten.
  • Allow foundation members to follow what the board is up to (in order to stay engaged and provide scrutiny).
  • Allow some issues to remain private to the board.
  • Record who is responsible for action items.
  • Ensure that important action items are carried out.
  • Tooling shouldn't constitute a barrier to adoption by board members.
  • Don't require too much work (particularly from the secretary).

How it currently works

Prior to each meeting, the chair:

  • Draws up an agenda on the UpcomingAgenda wiki page.

  • Mails the board mailing list with the agenda, and asks for additions. These are provided as reply on the mailing list.
  • The secretary then mails the agenda to foundation-list.

During the meeting:

  • The secretary copies the agenda over to the board meeting etherpad, retaining the action item list from last time.
  • The agenda is used as the skeleton for the minutes.
  • Action items are marked in the agenda.
  • Some issues are marked as private.

After the meeting:

  • Individual board members are expected to make a note of any new action items they have, in order to carry them out.
  • The action items from the minutes are copied to the full list of outstanding action items (this is kept at the bottom of the agenda, on the etherpad and later in the static minutes).
  • The minutes (including the action item list) are copied over to the private board area of the wiki.
  • The minutes are reviewed by the board.
  • The public parts of the minutes are then posted to a public wiki page, and sent to foundation-list.
  • The private parts of the minutes are left on the private wiki page.
  • At some point, the UpcomingAgenda page is cleared out, in preparation for the next meeting.

  • Board members can mark action items as completed in the etherpad at any time.


Issues with the current approach

  • Confusion over where and how the agenda for each meeting is assembled:
    • Is the mailing list or the UpcomingAgenda page the canonical reference for the next agenda?

    • Who can edit the UpcomingAgenda page?

    • Can board members suggest agenda items prior to the chair's initiation of the agenda process? If so, how?
    • Related - who's responsibility is it to reset the UpcomingAgenda page after each meeting? Use of this page needs to be documented!

  • Since the board doesn't actively review outstanding action items, there aren't any formal checks to make sure that issues are taken care of.
  • Action items are carried over from previous meetings, but agenda topics aren't - they can be forgotten about.
  • There are a lot of moving parts: the UpcomingAgenda page, the etherpad, the mailing list, two wiki pages for minutes from the last meeting.


Ideas for how to organize task tracking differently.

Rolling agenda

Prior to each meeting, the chair copies the minutes from the previous meeting wiki page, removes resolved agenda items, reorders it to reflect current priorities, and adds any new agenda items. He/she then mails it to the board for comment.

During the meeting:

  • The secretary copies the agenda from the chair's email into the etherpad.
  • When an agenda item is discussed, a subentry is added for the meeting date. Comments and action items are added below this.
  • For each agenda item, previous action items are reviewed and further steps discussed.
  • Agenda items can be marked as resolved, or can be marked to be discussed at a particular date in the future.

After the meeting:

  • The entire contents of the etherpad is copied to a page in the private wiki area, for archival purposes. (The etherpad is cleared during this process, in order to prevent confusion.)
  • A version of the agenda with private topics stripped is posted on the public area of the wiki and sent to foundation-list. These are accompanied with an explanation: "These minutes will form the basis of the agenda for next meeting, on X."

Example agenda structure

Agenda item

  • Meeting date
    • Discussion point
    • Discussion point
    • ACTION: action item
  • Meeting date
    • Action item status update
    • Discussion point

Agenda item (PRIVATE)

  • Meeting date
    • Discussion point
    • ACTION: action item

Outstanding issues

  • How to record completed action items between meetings? (Is this desirable?)

Notable features

Significant features of this process:

  • Agenda items persist until they are resolved, providing a reminder and ensuring they don't drop off the radar. It also provides a reminder to check on the progress of associated action items.
  • No more UpcomingAgenda wiki page, and no more use of the Etherpad between meetings. Fewer documents simplifies the process and reduces the potential for confusion.

  • No more sending out of agendas to foundation-list - since meetings are now weekly, and agendas are rolling. This could change if meetings go back to every two weeks.


AllanDay/BoardTaskTracking (last edited 2015-11-24 11:55:49 by AllanDay)