More Notes From The PASSWatch Project And Thoughts on Transparency

It’s been just over two months since I wrote the first post for PASSWatch. I’m trying hard to keep PASSWatch a “pure” source so I’m posting my  notes on it here (and will include the link in the weekly summary of course). I can boil the lessons learned down to this:

  • It’s not enough to aggregate links. Even the average 10-20 links per week is overload for most people with limited time. Aggregating is important, but even more important is to highlight the relative few posts focusing on governance, problems, or thought leadership.
  • Summarizing the minutes of the Board of Directors meeting is absolutely worth doing. It’s a way to get people engaged with issues relating to governance quickly and simply. I think the summary is more important than the analysis I provide, but the analysis is important, and I still feel like I don’t do that part justice. For example, recently there was a vote on $45,000 for lead generation and that resulted in a great comment – what is PASS selling and why? To succeed I need to write for the person new to PASS and/or new to paying attention to it’s operations and governance.
  • The time investment is doable so far. It takes about an hour to review the links and format the post once a week. It takes 15 minutes to several hours to write the summaries of the minutes depending on the number of topics discussed, whether I need to email someone with questions, and whether the analysis requires particular care to be balanced and focused. I can support another hour or so a week, so I’m spending time thinking on what I can best do with that hour.

The stuff I’m doing so far is useful, but it’s low hanging fruit. I wrote this in the the first post: I’d like to monitor and foster translucency about the organization (not just the PASS Board). Right now I’m in the fostering stage, attempting to show you and the PASS Board places where more transparency is needed. I believe that is worth doing. The mistake I’ve made in the past is allowing transparency to become code for “show us all the bad stuff so we can then beat you with it”. The challenge of transparency is that it means – at some point – shining a light into the dark corners that have been ignored and need attention. It doesn’t mean only exploring the dark corners! How do you get an organization to overcome the fear of transparency? Or if fear is the wrong word, commit to the extra time and effort that it requires? Convince the organization of the value? An interesting challenge isn’t it?