Maintain regular communication (project managers)
Sending out regular communication to your group can help them stay interested and updated about your project. Lack of communication is one of the biggest reasons volunteers lose interest and fade away. Remember that project members are remotely located, with busy lives of their own. Unless you maintain regular contact with them, the JIRA items you assign may be forgotten.
Review JIRA assignments regularly
Plan to review JIRA assignments regularly, perhaps daily. To view all of the assignments you've made in JIRA:
- Go tech.lds.org/jira and navigate to your project.
- In the left sidebar, click Issues.
- The Unresolved by Assignee section shows all the assignments you've made. Click one of the issues to view the details of the assignment.
- Rather than contacting the volunteer directly about the progress of the item, use the comments section below the item to communicate. The volunteer will receive an e-mail with the comment and can respond via e-mail or through JIRA. If the volunteer responds through e-mail, the response is appended as a comment to the JIRA item.
By using JIRA rather than e-mail, you can keep track of your discussions and updates about the project. The more you use JIRA as a communication tool, the easier it will be to keep track of dozens of assignments.
Send out informative e-mails to the group
While JIRA works well for communicating with individual volunteers about their assignments, you should also send out regular e-mails to the group. When you set up your project in JIRA, you probably also set up a Google Group name. Several times a week, send out a general e-mail message to the group giving them a status update and letting them know about current needs. The general e-mail helps people feel that they're in the loop. It helps them know the project is still active, that other team members are working and moving forward, and that you are making progress as a whole toward the project's purpose.
In addition to using Google Groups to communicate with your team, you can also use Internet Relay Chat (IRC). IRC has two main advantages over other chat technologies.
- Group discussion. Any number of people can join a channel at any given time. The more, the merrier.
- Asynchronous discussion. If anyone misses the conversation, they can catch up by reading the logs. All conversation is automatically logged.
LDSTech hosts an IRC channel. For more information, see IRC.
If you've never used IRC, we recommend you get comfortable with it. Help your team get comfortable with it. Despite its age and unpopularity, it lives on and provides meaningful usage.
Hold regular meetings
Regular meetings go a long way to help your team stay focused, stay excited and meet deadlines. You should meet with your team at least once a week. We highly recommend holding your meeting on IRC. Your entire meeting will be automatically logged and everyone will be able to participate equally, no matter their location.
Follow up with assigned tasks
After volunteers complete their assigned tasks, make sure you use their work, or at least let them know why you're not using it. One of the frustrations volunteers experience is having their contributions ignored, discarded, or otherwise unused.
Granted, volunteers come with all kinds of backgrounds and skillsets. What a volunteer contributes may not actually be up to Church standards, but that's okay. Make a note of the volunteer's technical abilities and perhaps reassign the volunteer tasks that are more suitable for his or her skillset.