Project Description

At GitHub, I was allowed to lead a couple of projects I had proposed for some time. After having been a part of many project implementations within the organization and seeing what worked and what didn’t, along with my previous experience leading projects, I executed a mainly a-sync form of communication utilizing GitHub Issues to track all of the work. The projects launched seamlessly and the communication approach was so well received that I was asked to document how it was done for other teams and future projects to follow suit.

The project followed a 4 step process:

    1. Documentation  – using a GitHub Issue, I documented the project requirements following a simple format of
      • Overview
      • Solution
      • Issue
      • Goals
      • Audience
      • Program Flow
      • Timeline
      • Milestones
      • ResourcesIn the case of a single project that is part of multiple projects, I drafted a Business Requirements Document that cited the Overview, Issue, Solution, and Business Requirements for all of the projects into one GitHub Issue with links to all of the projects and the timeline in which they were to be executed.
    2. Kick-off – with GitHub being remote, I scheduled a Zoom kick-off meeting with all parties involved in the project. In the case of the GitHub Compared project (which was a high priority set by the CEO), many VPs and C-levels were involved. They didn’t have the time to make decisions quickly, so I used that time to establish who would make decisions and had them agree that I would be the directly responsible Individual (DRI) making the ultimate decisions. For the less visible DevOps Pages, it was myself and a handful of people involved, so the decision-making process would go quicker since we wouldn’t be waiting on some of the busier individuals to make crucial decisions.
    3. A-Sync Communication – GitHub’s work culture revolves around using as little email as possible and utilizing Slack for all communications. I created one public Channel for each project so anyone could see all communications and weigh in at any point. I had a few one set rules with regards to communication with the projects, and that was that all communication happens in the public Channel. Sidebar conversations could lead to another thread that people could follow, but the conversation should be kept out of the channel to avoid any confusion. If someone messaged me privately, I simply asked them to please repeat that in the Channel, and we can address it there. There were times when an individual messaging me would say, “I don’t feel this communication is appropriate for the executives to see.” to which I responded, “Then we need to word it in a way that will make sense to them.” The communication avoided any sidebars or derailing of the projects and held all individuals accountable for their contributions.
    4. Weekly Updates – Every Friday I updated the project’s Issue with a summary of all communications and decisions made for the week, as well as a status of where the project was in the process of being completed. I grabbed a link to the comment in that Issue with the update and pasted it into the Slack Channel with a TL;DR bullet list of key communications, decisions made and where the project was in the process. Executives that were following then saw a quick update, and those who chose to dig deeper into what was going on could go to the more detailed part of the Issue.

The Result

Seamless project launches and well-received communication approach: The projects led by the user at GitHub were executed seamlessly, resulting in successful launches. The team highly praised and well-received the innovative asynchronous communication approach implemented using GitHub Issues. It streamlined project management and enhanced transparency and accountability across all stakeholders.

Additional Positive Results:

  • Enhanced decision-making efficiency through designated Directly Responsible Individual (DRI).
  • Fostered transparent communication culture via public Slack channels.
  • Facilitated effective project tracking with concise weekly updates.