Guidelines to help you work effectively

We are mostly volunteers here. This is because we are motivated to fulfill our mission, as a labor of love. We recognize the value of our goals, and the work required to accomplish them. We acknowledge that improvements in external funding will be a lagging indicator of our success, and that we cannot wait for it to make inroads on our mission. Since we have to fit a lot of work into part-time activities, it’s even more important to manage time effectively. Following these guidelines should help.

With the above in mind, all personnel – board members, officers, formal volunteers, and project contributors – must deeply commit to teamwork so that we can be productive, and stay on track, despite headwinds.

These guidelines are general advice, but specifics may differ from project to project. If in doubt, please consult your manager.


Your manager and teammates rely on knowing your availability – it helps them divide up tasks, including down-stream tasks that directly rely on your work. Overly-ambitious time estimates are directly harmful to teammates on your project. Therefore:

  • Please provide realistic baseline estimates of availability to your manager and team. We don’t expect volunteers to be here every day. Just be honest!
    • Provide an estimation of hours-per-week.
    • In addition, when possible, mention 1-2 days per week when you will often be available. This wouldn’t have to be at the same time each occurrence, and wouldn’t have to be a contiguous block of hours.
  • Provide notice of absence, or changes in availability, to your manager and team.
    • This applies whether the change of availability is temporary or permanent.
    • If you’re going on vacation for a week, or need to put more of your time on school or work for a week, month, or year, please let your manager know.
  • Please remember your manager and teammates will strive to uphold the same to you – and you can trust and encourage them to do so.

Communications with teammates

Your manager and teammates rely on being able to regularly communicate with you. Delayed communications, especially communications that ask for your input, or for your availability for meeting times, can severely hamper project progress.

  • Keep your team and manager up to date!
    • As you accomplish your tasks, mention those accomplishments to your team and manager.
    • If you hit a brick wall, tell your team and manager – they can help get you past.
    • If you need something, such as a procurement request or new type of resource, just talk to your manager and your team.
  • Please use group discussions on Discord or Telegram for regular communications with your teammates.
    • Board members are requested to check at least one of the following, 3 days per week:
      • Discord → FoFM Server → LEADERSHIP → #officers-and-board
      • Telegram → FoFM board and officers
    • Project members of approved projects, such as SA-001, should check the following, 2 days per week:
      • For example: Discord → Freedom of Form Foundation Server → PROJECTS → #project-3d-anatomy.
    • We generally discourage some formats of communication – this reduces the chance of a message getting lost:
      • Private messages are generally discouraged for discussing projects with teammates. They are hard to organize, making it harder for you to find results or conclusions of interest, and can also exclude other teammates who might be able to contribute.
      • Communications on email, Twitter, Facebook, other systems, or even trouble-tickets on GitHub, are also discouraged for regular project communication.
      • Occasional use of these methods, such as 1-on-1 meetings to discuss fine details, are certainly fine. This can even be helpful, e.g., hiding some details that the team doesn’t need to know, about implementation on a path to fulfilling goals the team already discussed. Just make sure to bring the team up to speed!

File, data, and source code management

We’re working on complicated stuff here. Our projects require teamwork, and the results are being built to last. Your teammates must be able to rely on finding your work when needed, both now, and in the future. Therefore:

  • Files related to projects should go into the appropriate Google Drive folder. For example, for the project SA-001, most files should be stored in Google Drive → FFF Projects → SA-001 3D anatomy project.
  • All project files should not be shared by Discord or Telegram. Such files can be easily lost, and are hard to back up.
    • Instead, you should consider saying something like “Please find the report I just made at Google Drive → FFF Projects → HA-004 Tail project → HA004-R-001-1.0”, or paste a link.
  • Principal files, such as Scopes, Reports, Purchase Orders, etc, should be named according to the standards posted by the Operations Manager, in Google Drive → FFF Projects → Project Document Nomenclature.
    • Compliance with the standard will help your teammates identify your work. It really helps everyone!
    • Please feel free to suggest changes to the naming standard – but comply with the existing standard until changes are agreed upon.
  • Data files, such as source video footage, 3D models, textures, etc, should be sorted into a folder according to standards posted by the Operations Manager, in Google Drive → FFF Projects → Project Document Nomenclature.
    • As long as data files are reasonably sorted into a folder, and given descriptive names, we don’t ask for more specific nomenclature at this time.
    • Relevant versioning of similar data files would still be advised, however, in a way that is intelligible to your direct teammates who use the files.
  • Source code only goes on GitHub, separated by project.
    • Do not upload traditional documentation files, such as “readme” documents, to the GitHub, during development.
    • This is because such documents would be highly redundant with the files in Google Drive.
    • “readme” and other documents may of course be included in the delivered code from a project, but they should not be used until then.
    • You may link to Google Drive folders or documents from the GitHub, including a draft of a future “readme” – it’s totally fine if it helps you!
    • The point of these guidelines is to help prevent redundancy during the development process.

Interacting professionally with teammates and your manager

Please review the section of the same name in our Code of Conduct – the guidelines apply here for Work Guidelines as well!