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Update: 1 Feb 2012
The BetterGEDCOM ad hoc committee, "Developing the Organization," issued a press release today signaling the founding of the Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO). Members of the committee have been reporting about the organizational progress during BetterGEDCOM weekly Developers Meeting. You can read more about FHISO on the BetterGEDCOM home page and at the FHISO website, http://fhiso.org
We have set up a BetterGEDCOM wiki discussion, "Let's talk about FHISO
Ad Hoc Committee
A BetterGEDCOM ad hoc committee is working to develop this project using a Google Group and Google Docs. If you'd like to participate in the work of the ad hoc committee, please contact Andy_Hatchett or GeneJ using Wikispaces e-mail.
Background, Related Wiki pages
During the 19 Sept 2011 Developers Meeting
, Gordon Clarke discussed the potential to develop a community-owned organization that would become the focus of technology standardization for the international genealogical community. From the meeting notes, "When there is a formal organization, then there can be formal discussion." Mr. Clarke offered/subsequently provided various materials (instructions and links) that serve as guides for formalizing such an organization--these materials follow below the horizontal rule, below. Organized as eight instruction points ("Eight Points"), the materials reflect the need to formalize a common strategic purpose/mission, goals and objectives, governance/decision making and procedures, among others.
Since these materials were posted, various members have worked independently to advance "Developing the Organization." In the 24 Oct 2011 Developers Meeting
, an ad hoc committee (herein, "the committee") was created to collaborate about "Developing the Organization" (occasionally, "DTO"). Specifically, this committee will work to expedite an initial proposal for further comment by the BetterGEDCOM membership. While most of the collaboration will take place off-wiki, two information pages are being added to the wiki today (30 Oct 2011). Both of these wiki pages may be edited by members by clicking the tab "Edit" in the upper right hand corner of the linked page.
1) Summary of BetterGEDCOM wiki topical pages and discussions--"DTO Wiki Links
2) Summary of where we are relative to the Eight Points from Clarke's instructions--"DTO Starting Summary
A third new wiki page was added 31 October 2011--DTO Forward Looking
. This page is intended to be a starting point for the ad hoc committee. Additional information about the committee is available on the DTO Forward Looking wiki page.
How to Develop an Organizational Charter
An organizational charter is a document that details the objectives, structure and workings of an organization. Any company, group or team can benefit by having one. While it is usually written at the creation of a new organization, it can also be helpful for existing ones. An effective charter will help guide the organization and ensure that its members understand its purpose and stay on track to accomplish it. The following steps will help you write an effective charter, and should be adapted for your organization's specific needs.
How to Developer a Charter Template Instructions:People in business, non-profit organizations, and managing projects utilize the structure of a charter to convey key objectives about their initiatives to interested parties. The typical content of a charter includes information about the purpose, how the mission will be achieved, financial position, organizational structure and the cost or benefit anticipated. A well-written charter can help organizations organize these items, validate them against expectations, condense them into marketable highlights and serve as a trigger for acceptance, financing and marketing activities.
- Create a name for the organization and use it as the first section of the charter. Ideally, the name will represent the purpose of the organization.
- The second section of the charter should be the statement of purpose. It is critical to understand and keep in mind the strategic importance of the organization. Write out the major objectives of the organization in a succinct paragraph.
- In the third section, write down the key criteria for success of the organization. What specifically will need to happen in order for the organization to be considered a success?
- In section four, write out the organizational structure. Who are the key members of the organization, and what are their roles and responsibilities? These roles will vary from organization to organization, but some examples include the organization's sponsor, board of directors, finance manager, head writer, marketing director and office manager.
- The fifth section should outline the applicable background information, including an explanation of the factors leading to the creation of the organization. What other organizations, people, environmental influences, market trends, consumer needs, etc., are and will be influential in the creation and duration of the organization?
- In the sixth section, detail the scope of the organization's activities. What will the organization do, make, sell, sing, etc.? Also, it is important to specify what is out of scope for the organization. This will help keep the organization appropriately focused in the years ahead.
- In section seven, write out the processes by which the organization will conduct business. For example, how will the organization implement decisions, changes and partnerships? How will the organization communicate, internally and externally, and what templates, guidelines and quality-control methods will be used? This section will need to be very clear, and should be carefully reviewed and approved by all key stakeholders to ensure the appropriate information is included and accurate.
- The final section should discuss finances. How much money will be required to begin work as an organization, and how is it being funded? What income will be required, and how will revenues be invested and/or distributed
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- Gather a variety of existing charters. Planning documents for business ventures are different from those of non-profits or projects. Review the contents of each to determine the common denominator (body of knowledge) and use this as your basis for the template.
- Develop categories for these common areas. Many charters have similar content, such as executive summary, purpose, product or service description, target population (market), strategy (approach), and organizational structure (participants). Determine which categories are appropriate for a single (or general) charter and which can be applied to specialized charter templates.
- Create an outline of suggested content. Templates should provide guidance for the user, not tell the story. Develop a set of questions the each section should address. Alternate the road map, starting with a description of each segment, or section, followed by a list of questions that should be answered in greater detail.
- Evaluate the template by conducting a test. Provide the template to potential users and experienced charter writers. Gather their feedback and incorporate the suggestions into the template.
- Create a section for frequently asked questions that are likely to come from novice writers. Prevention and being proactive can help minimize the opportunity for misunderstanding.
- Provide links to sample completed charters. Good examples will help build confidence and understanding among potential users and strengthen the validity and reliability of your instrument.
Sample Charter 1
Sample Charter 2
OpenGen Charter - Final Draft (PDF)
When an organization develops standards which may be used openly, it is common to have formal rules published regarding the process. This may include:
- Who is allowed to vote and have input on new or revised standards
- What is the formal step-by-step process
- How are bias and commercial interests handled
- How are negative votes or ballots handled
- What type of consensus is required
Although it can be a tedious and lengthy process, formal standard setting is essential to developing new technologies.
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