Purpose and Scope

This document outlines the process and roles for forming and recruiting people to SPN working groups. It also defines how working group coordinators are appointed. Details on how to build and execute the recruitment plan are suggested in the Recruitment Plan Template.

SPN working groups are recruited from within and outside of SPN membership and engage in a variety of information-gathering, information-sharing, and advocacy efforts that further the practice of software preservation and emulation. Anyone can join a SPN working group or be a working group coordinator, but only Sustaining and Supporting members receive full benefits of SPN membership. For a breakdown of these benefits, see the latest member and non-member benefits documentation. For more information about the ecosystem of SPN groups, see SPN Structure and Process.

At the beginning of each calendar year, the working group must review and update their scope and action plan and then hold elections for new coordinator(s) or request to sunset their working group. There are no permanent SPN working groups.

Roles in this Document

  1. The Working Group Proposers  are at least 2 people leading a working group formation process. They are typically charged with drafting a working group charge and action plan, and pending approval one WGP is tasked as the Recruitment Coordinator (RC) to lead the recruitment process. For existing working groups executing recruitment, the RC can be any member of the working group. Agreements for recruiting plans may vary, but the RC is typically responsible for preparing the recruitment plan, sending recruitment emails, and following up with interested volunteers.
  2. The Working Group Coordinator(s) are 1-2 representatives of the working group tasked with ensuring the WG meets regularly and makes progress toward its goals. They are responsible for submitting a sunset request to the Steering Committee when a group decision is made to sunset. Full working group coordinator responsibilities can be found in the Working Group Member and Coordinator Responsibilities policy.
  3. The SPN Community Coordinator (CC) is SPN’s community facilitator. Agreements for formation and recruiting plans may vary, but the CC is typically responsible for acting as a liaison between the WGPs and the Steering Committee, administering the WG formation ballot(s), consulting on and signing off on the Recruitment Plan, triaging any tasks that go to other SPN backbone staff, and making sure everyone interested in joining SPN finds a way to engage.
  4. The Administrative Coordinator (AC) is SPN’s administrative coordinator. Agreements for formation and recruiting plans may vary, but the AC is typically responsible for scheduling any meetings that these activities require and managing administrative onboarding for new members.

Working Group Instantiation

The WGP may use the SPN Working Group Scope and Action Plan Template as a basis for submitting their working group formation proposal.

Proposed new working group charges and action plans must be submitted by the WGP in coordination with the CC to the Steering Committee for a vote. The Steering Committee has two weeks from the document’s submission to review and hold a vote to either: approve and move forward with the proposed working group’s recruitment; send the drafted working group charge and action plan back to the WGP with suggested changes or comments; or reject the proposed working group outright, along with provided guidance or feedback regarding its decision. If the drafted charge and action plan are sent back to the WGP for edits, the WGP will have no longer than two weeks to re-draft and submit the charge and action plan with proposed changes directly back to the Steering Committee for another round of voting.

After this initial approval from the Steering Committee to instantiate, the working group is required to maintain the agreed upon scope for one year. After that, the timeline and exact outputs of the action plan may be adjusted by the working group at any time, but the scope should always provide a clear mission for the working group’s work and the action plan should include any planned deliverables for the calendar (January-December) year.

Working Group Evaluation and Sunsetting

The working group, with facilitation and strategic planning support from the CC, will re-evaluate and update the scope and action plan each January, with a finalized plan for the calendar year in place by early February. If a working group determines that sunsetting is the best path forward, they will put together a report and proposal. The CC will administer a vote on the proposal to Steering with the option to approve or deny the sunset request.

If the Steering Committee denies a sunset request, they then assume the responsibility of identifying an RC from within Steering, recruiting a new set of volunteers, and establishing orientation and Working Group Coordinators for the new iteration of the working group, with support from the CC.

Recruiting Working Group Members

The Recruitment Coordinator, Community Coordinator, and Administrative Coordinator work together to administer most of the recruitment process.

First the recruiting working group appoints a Recruiting Coordinator. The RC then works with the recruiting working group to fill out the Recruitment Plan. Once complete, the RC sends the plan to the CC and the AC. The CC reviews the plan and triages additional tasks based on the working group’s recruitment plan within a week.

The CC also reviews the communication templates and signs off on the plan as a whole. Then recruitment launches with the roles and timeline agreed upon in the Recruitment Plan.

When recruitment closes, the working group must evaluate – and the RC must respond – to all interested candidates with a result within two weeks. SPN commits to communicating with all interested volunteers whether they join the recruiting working group or not.

For successful recruits, the RC’s follow-up email should involve the Community Coordinator and Administrative Coordinator, and should request additional information required for onboarding (see Recruitment Plan for a template).

The RC must share contact and application information with the CC for any candidates the working group cannot accommodate. The CC takes responsibility for finding a place for interested volunteers to contribute when recruiting working groups become full.

The entire process takes about eight weeks from preparation to completion. See the Recruitment Plan Template for a detailed timeline and suggested delineation of roles and responsibilities.

Evaluation of Candidates

Working groups select new members based on how closely candidates’ statement of interest corresponds to the working group scope and action plan. Organizational stakeholders should receive prioritization over non-members during the evaluation process, but other criteria can be determined by the working group. Evaluation plans must be articulated prior to recruitment in the Recruitment Plan and approved by the CC.

Recruiting Working Group Coordinators

Working group coordinators are recruited during the first month of the new year. Working groups are required to vote on new coordinator(s) by January 31 and are encouraged to elect co-coordinators. Existing coordinators should reach out to working group members who have shown a capacity for leadership and organization, and invite them to run for a coordinator in the working group election.

Recruitment Plan Template

Preferred citation:

SPN Policies & Procedures Committee. (2020, September 17). SPN Working Group Formation and Recruitment Procedure. Software Preservation Network. https://www.softwarepreservationnetwork.org/spn-working-group-formation-and-recruitment-procedure/