When we spun up this team more than 6 weeks ago, we were acting in response to an urgent need – activating citizen software engineers to help the Governor’s office and the State of Colorado respond quickly to technical needs in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. At first, it wasn’t clear how long we were committing to this work, and at what scale. It felt like a sprint. Now, we know we’re settling into a marathon.
It’s worthwhile to recognize that what we’re involved in may go on for a very long time. As an organization, we want to foster a community that supports contribution and respects balance. Included below are some of my core values, which are shared by the vast majority of the team here at CSE. I can say with confidence that while most of these core values will be familiar to Rally veterans, my intention is for them to be inclusive to the whole of our emergent community. Take a moment and read them carefully, and please reach out with any thoughts you may have.
Balance Our Lives:
Work together to balance all aspects of our lives – personal, work, community. We own our choices and respect others’ decisions. We all need to take care of ourselves, our families, our community, our organization, and the planet for the long term.
Deliver something small quickly, and then build on it. Learn, then adapt what you do to make it better. Learn more. Collaborate with your team. Share responsibility for common goals. If you don’t know the “Agile Framework” – that’s OK. Just jump in and be willing to learn.
Cultivate Trust and Respect:
Treat people with respect. Build trusting relationships by making and meeting your commitments. Embrace differences, so great insights come to light. Trust is nurtured through a feedback-rich environment – so seek to give and receive feedback openly.
Create Your Own Reality:
Do what you love. Love what you do. Pursue opportunities that ignite your passion and that make sense. Improve your job and your community. Initiate. When it’s time for you to pull back or lean in – do it (and communicate your intentions actively).
Build an Environment of Appreciation:
While staying close to home and focusing on being safe, there are not many “big wins”, mostly little wins along our marathon course. We appreciate all work in helping our team and the State of Colorado to learn fast. Please share appreciations regularly with your co-volunteers and find ways to celebrate the little wins.
I hope all of you, especially the new volunteers, will take to heart our core values. And, that you will strive to make an impact on our communities and be leaders in shaping the new normal that we all so desperately need. Being ready to step into a project when the time is right is an act of volunteering and is a win – whether you end up on a project or do not. Most people will serve small tours of duty and they will only see the small wins or even small detours as we learn.
For those of you that have been working with us for some time, we recognize that we all hit our limits – especially during a marathon. I encourage you to lean into our core values when this happens. There is a lot of great work that has been done already, and a lot more to come. Thank you all for joining us in what I believe is incredibly important and powerful work.
Citizen Software Engineers (CSE)
Innovation Response Volunteers, Inc. (IRV)