HTO and DISA planning activities

Last Monday, two workshops aimed at framing and planning future work activities were conducted within the HTO group. The first one concerned different aspects of the work environment within the HTO group and the second activity aimed specifically at planning the DISA project.

During the HTO workshop, we used the affinity diagram technique to map out aspects of the work environment that we liked and aspects where we felt improvements were needed. We started out by writing down our thoughts about good and not so good aspects on post-its for a few minutes whereafter we gathered by a whiteboard on which we arranged our positive remarks in columns with related notes. After all notes had been added to the whiteboard each column was labeled to make it clear which areas worked well. Among the identified positive aspects were; good support and organization, good athmosphere and good ability to communicate to the public. When we were done with the positive side we did the same for the negative aspects that needed some degree of improvement. Among the negative aspects we found; somewhat unclear boundaries between pojects, hard to get an overview of what everyone is doing and sometimes too much information in the HTO slack channels.

Later on the same day we had the workshop for planning the DISA project. Diane, Ida and I planned the workshop and invited the other DISA members to the two hour activity. Everyone started out by writing down 2-3 studies they would like to perform within the scope of the project (some of these studies had already started). This was to make sure that every participant got the chance to express what they wanted from the project.  Those who could not attend sent their ideas to one of the participating colleagues before the workshop. After about 15 minutes everyone presented their ideas shortly and put their notes on the whiteboard. Again, the affinity diagram technique was used to cluster ideas from different participants into categories. On the picture above Diane has just started the process of assigning a label to each of the categories. On the poster to the left of the post-its the main parts of the DISA project are mapped out. The next step was to match the proposed studies to the different parts of DISA shown on the poster. This exercise resulted in a study being added – this was needed in order to make sure that the last year of the project was sufficiently covered.

The second hour of the workshop was devoted to placing the proposed and already ongoing studies on a timeline, drawn on another whiteboard, which contained relevant deadlines (like conference submission dates, special issue deadlines and dates when individual project members’ contracts with the University went out). After we had placed the studies we were conducting, or wanted to conduct, during the first year on the timeline we added information about who should lead the different studies. The end result of this workshop activity was the timeline which clearly showed all the important dates, studies and responsibilities.