WordPress is built, maintained, and supported in a highly open and collaborative environment. That open collaboration can make leaders think absolute consensus is required to make any decisions. Consensus is a valuable goal when everyone working toward a decision shares the same resources, information, and values. However, in large organizations sometimes decisions that do not please the majority will have to be made, due to legal requirements, logistical concerns, and other factors.

Lessons

Decision-making Best Practices: Raising Issues to Resolve

Before discussions start about the best solutions for problems, the first thing to do is clarify the problem that is trying to be solved. The best place to start is in a team’s weekly chat in Slack, before the discussion is written into a post and published on the team blog. Some Questions to Answer: […]

Decision-making Best Practices: Discussing Issues on Team Blogs

An important part of working in an open source project is remembering that volunteers participate from around the world. In order to let everyone join the discussion (and therefore take part in decisions) it’s recommended to have a discussion post on your team’s blog. When possible, avoid making decisions in small private conversations or in […]

Decision-making Best Practices: After the Discussions

Who can help implement things If the decision you?ve reached is something your team can implement independently, congratulations! You?ve got all the resources you need! If the decision requires help from another team or teams, then the next step is to reach out and find out where your project fits into the other team?s priority […]

Decision-making Best Practices: Running policy/process experiments

If a proposed policy or process is controversial, risky, or otherwise polarizing, consider running an experiment — try out the new approach for a certain period (usually 6 months to a year, though for longer-term activities, a 2-year trial period might be needed) and then analyze whether the change had the desired effect.  If you […]

Decision-making Best Practices: Project Lead Approvals

The WordPress project is led by Matt Mullenweg, one of the project co-founders. From time to time, large strategic decisions have to be made and those should always include Matt. There are a few other areas where he asks for the right of first refusal on approvals (namely changes to wordpress.org, infrastructure updates, and some […]