[hackerspaces] Dealing with micromanagement of hackers

Torrie Fischer tdfischer at hackerbots.net
Thu Feb 27 05:53:10 CET 2014

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014 13:08:08 Bert Hartmann wrote:
> Hey Torrie,
> I don't know anything about your space, so this is all pure speculation on
> my part, but if you don't have enough consensus to pass a budget, perhaps
> you do need to open up the discussion to more people until they're
> comfortable with the result? If you do have consensus, then it shouldn't be
> an issue, and just approve the budget and move forward.

The budget isn't part of the issue. The issue is that the member is wanting to 
continuously form committees to evaluate every significant piece of our 
infrastructure budget. An overall budget committee is good, but not a budget 
committee, external hosted infrastructure committee, IT committee, floorplan 
committee, kitchen building committee, business development committee, 
outreach committee, and most other ideas.

We've got 20 members. Its a bit overkill and micromanagement.

> I know in New Jersey the law requires our non-profit to have an annual
> meeting with all the members about this time of year, where we
> traditionally pass a budget for the year, among other things. Perhaps a
> similar type of meeting for your group is healthy, so that no matter what
> process develops the budget (1 man and a spreadsheet or 20 people in 20
> meetings) there's a hard and fast deadline everyone's working towards so it
> doesn't get out of control and you end up with a workable result to present
> the rest of the group (who will presumably keep on hacking despite it).
> Incidentally, to answer your last question: I've seen the role of the board
> as handling all the bureaucratic stuff (rent, government filings, cleaning
> the bathroom, budget negotiations) so that the hacking may go on unimpeded
> for everyone else. Some of it's unavoidable, the trick is just to minimize
> the impact to the organization at large and the members in specific.
> my 2 cents,
> Bert
> On Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 11:08 AM, Torrie Fischer
> <tdfischer at hackerbots.net>wrote:
> > Hi, discuss@!
> > 
> > Lately at my hackerspace, we've had a member who is very interested in
> > micromanaging the space. I'm currently both treasurer and AWS sysadmin for
> > synhak.org, where I proposed a budget to use some grant money we received
> > to
> > secure 3 year funding of our infrastructure.
> > 
> > Time and time again, this member in question wants to form a committee or
> > some
> > equally stifling bureaucratic structure to analyze any change to the space
> > under the guise of "investigating all the options".
> > 
> > Micromanagement like this is totally against our culture, but it seems
> > that
> > there are one or two others who go along with it because it "makes sense".
> > 
> > Whats the best way to kill bureaucratic micromanagement and protect the
> > hacker
> > ethos at a space?
> > _______________________________________________
> > Discuss mailing list
> > Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

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