Transparent Work in Swarm

Jakob and Stephen

Transparent Work in Swarm

This document explores different alternatives, how Swarm can become more transparent, auditable and thus professional.

Status Quo:

Currently Swarm are using Google Sheets to record our ATH and Saturday Session pipeline and GitHub to track weekly core activities.

There is no consistency in tracking our time and resources.

Problem Statement:

Although the different projects that Swarm is pursuing are represented in the Github it is not clear who does what and when.

Therefore Swarm cannot give reliable answers about :

  • Who has done what (tasks)

  • When something was done (completion dates).

We need to give these answers to:

  • Our community - to be transparent - so people can see who is responsible for specific actions on a specific day. Fairly attributed contribution.

  • Funded Cohort Reporting - If we track by date then it becomes easier to report our milestones and deliverables.

  • Our Clients - IOG and future Clients - Clients will expect tasks completed or timesheets. Swarm as a consultancy will need to know internally our resource tracking.

  • Auditors

Benefits of Tracking:

  • Tracking gives us a good insight on what we do

  • Tracking saves us time for future reporting which will become necessary (cohort, IOG, auditors and clients etc.)

  • In order to become a sustainable entity it is a necessary condition that we can show a record of what has been done, by whom and when. To answer Clients queries about deliverables and to pay ourselves equitably.

The problem statement and following explanations show that it is absolutely necessary to track our activities according to the demands layed out. But it remains open, HOW we are proceeding and at which granularity level. Therefore we lay out 3 alternatives with respective pros and cons in the following.

The granularity level

What tasks people are working on ( to do/ in progress/ done).

On what day.

Alternative 1 - Weekly tracking

Pro: Less time consuming daily. Useful for cohort reporting.

Con: Great reduction of tracked input, less granular, more general. Harder to integrate on GitHub

Alternative 2 - Daily tracking

Pro: Granular overview - more of a project management view.

Cons: Time consuming depending on what tools are used

Alternative 3 - Task tracking

Pro: Task oriented is aligned with a person’s activity

Con: No way to check progress in a timeline

Alternative 4 - Time tracking

Pro: Clear metric that quantifies an input

Con: Hard to track smaller tasks and

Alternative 5 - Achievement tracking (Cohort Reporting)

What has been achieved in the last two weeks (milestones)

What were the pain points / delays?

In which direction are you going?

Action : Stephen to check Funded Cohort reporting requirements and terminology and look at merging into a tracking system.

How does funded cohort reporting fit with our current tracking ?

Funded cohort reporting is currently bi-weekly and based on public achievements.

Action : Stephen / Jakob - to raise at next Monday core swarm and discuss beforehand. To reflect on this in the next few weeks.


Google docs - cons - a lot of docs created, not sustainable

Google sheets - cons - a lot of docs created, not sustainable

GitHub Issue - cons - not easy, convenient to update consistently - additional cognitive effort required to organise within GitHub’ system.


Use of GitHub

Felix - Is adding his daily task to the comments of Daily Core Swarm Activities (

Pros - Daily tasks are being recorded - contributions recognised on a daily basis

Cons - Lumped together with the daily Issue

Jakob - Does not start with GitHub structure in my workflow - so when I get to recording stuff on GitHub it is retrospective - so I need to catch up with what to record. So it becomes easy to ignore - not a priority.

The way we work

Being conscious of the way we work

Affectively driven conversations - emotional priorities

Tracking because it does engage personal preference it gets sidelined

How our meetings work

Pre - Meeting

Jakob checks the group - good and necessary to share personal experiences, to bond , people feeling comfortable and if people need to say something on their mind.

Jakob checks Agenda Items on the day.

Message people - this prone to affective priorities

Look at items on GitHub - GitHub is not complete.

The priority that labelled on GitHub are inconsistent

Jakob needs to assign a priority to fill the gaps.

In - Meeting

Sometimes not following through an Agenda

But we keep the general structure

No formal ending - we now tend to wrap up - not absolute.

Time spent discussing item

Preparation of people assigned tasks to report on progress varies.

No consensus on the reporting responsibilities of the person assigned the task..

This leads to a variety of lengths of conversations about different items which can extend the meeting.

Sometimes things come up spontaneously

Sometimes it makes no sense to prepare

Meeting record (note on meeting Issue)

Is valuable - represents commitment and appoint of reference