SOP in responding to event organizers


Communication gaps between reps and event organizers are causing expectation mismatch.

Example (from real life):

  • Event organizer emails rep asking for sponsorship +/- swags
  • Rep replies asking the event organizer to file a devrel budget form and asks whether swag request need to be raised.
  • Event organizer files the devrel budget form
  • Weeks elapse
  • Devrel budget rejected
  • Swag request wasn’t filed because event organizer didn’t respond specifically about that
  • Event organizer feels bad that neither sponsorship, nor swags were available

Possible solution

  • Have SOP on how to communicate with event organizers

  • Have Reps follow the SOP

  • Have an event organizers handbook for how to get sponsorship/swags from Mozilla with prominent warning that there is no guarantee

There are cases where Reps surely doesn’t provide budget and DevRel is the way to go. I’m interested to hear more about this case to better understand the issue.

I don’t think this can be fixed with a Reps SOP. As far as I can read from these few lines, the Rep offered to file a swag request but didn’t get the answer. Reps are here to help, not to keep track of every single event somebody else organizes. I’m sure this specific instance would have been solved by answering the question so the Rep knows to file a swag request and has all the info for it.

Sure, there could be other instances of issues, but given the broad problem statement, I would require more info on the actual problems before digging in and actually trying to help to find solutions.

What other information would you like?

I’ve only removed identifying information and summarized an actual email exchange. Communication gaps are routine things that happen when events are being organized. A lot of that can be fixed by convertimg repeated conversations into documents.

In this particular case, the organizer doesn’t know the nitty gritty of how reps program works. As far as their perception of the reps program is, once a rep accepts the collaboration swags and budget are automatically delivered.

This same expectation mismatch has occurred in multiple events in the past.

There is no communication that budget and swag aren’t automatically granted - neither from reps, nor from anywhere else.

The problem I would try to solve is how to build better/right expectations.

To be very very honest, asking for more details as if in an infinite loop for whatever problem is being reported is nauseating and repelling.

That’s a very interesting statement you make. Are you suggesting that reps will never follow up and never hold any responsibility as a “community coordinator”?

Here is another example. (This is second hand and therefore I can’t vouch for the event actually happening).

  • Event organizer contacts rep for budget and swags
  • Rep says go ahead and promises budget, swags
  • Budget gets rejected, swag gets delayed/rejected
  • Event organizer hates Mozilla.

@kelimuttu can clarify this, but Reps are not sponsoring external events not organized by mozilla (staff or volunteers), we can provide budget for Reps/mozilla presence there.

You don’t need to respond if you don’t want to. However I honestly have no intention whatsoever to apply solutions without knowing the full problem first. These are two very different approaches of problem solving, one being patching up symptoms and the other being fixing the root cause. Let’s fix the root causes instead of just patching symptoms all over (the root cause won’t stop screeping up, I promise).

Given the above, I’ll still give you an answer for this one: as far as I remember there was talk around surfacing budget and swag requests better using the Community Portal. I don’t know the current status of this.

No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that if a Reps asks if a Swag Request needs to be filed and doesn’t get an answer to that there is no expectation from my side to track this further. Reps also are not required to track all events that are happening. Anyone can organize an event, there does not need to be any Reps involvement. Once budget or swag is involved and approved, the Rep is responsible to keep track how the resources are spent according to our SOPs and is accountable to the Reps Leadership body to make sure of that.

Please tell me. What information should I give you additionally for you to better understand the problem. I shall try my best to give you that information.

That’s exactly what I am also interested in. One way of fixing up the root cause is restructuring the entire program. But that idea definitely doesn’t have a lot of fans here. That’s why I’m coming up with smaller actionable items. This is part of the larger feedback I’ve been giving over the past couple of weeks.

It was @nukeador who mentioned that Mozillians will have access to these in a later version of the portal. There is no ETA promised.

But, it would also be nice to have documents/wiki pages that list out what kind of budget is available for event organizers and what kind of budget is not available. Event organizers sometimes reach out to non-reps as well. What should the answer be if someone sends an email with subject “Sponsorship request for ***** hackathon”?

You seem to want to solve root causes. But you’re stuck in problem patching mode.

Look at the bigger picture here. Event organizers cannot file swag request on their own. They have to rely on reps. Even to get updates on that swag request they have to go through reps. This is creating a situation where the ability for the rep to communicate clearly and completely is absolutely critical for the event organizer to be aware of any update.

In the first example, the event organizer didn’t have any way to know that no activity regarding swags is happening. Their expectation was that some activity would have been happening. But, if you try to look at the root cause, the root cause here is that swag requests go inside a black box which one can see/operate only through reps.

Take the second example. Here the rep was actively giving misinformation to the event organizer about swags (and budget). What is the root cause? Again, the entire process is opaque to the event organizer except for whatever communication the rep makes.

Do I make sense?

Thanks. This is way more helpful than the original post.

Hi @asdofindia,

I would like to clarify on this one. I think the 2 cases you mentioned here are cases where Reps are not acting in accordance with our budget guidelines. We clearly state there that even if they’re following the guideline, requests are Not being approved by default. That is one fundamental fact that every rep who got access to resources have to be very clear when they were approached by other Mozillian to help with their budget request.

Also, I would like to emphasize that DevRel budget is out of context in this conversation since they have their own process on sponsorship. Everyone can file a sponsorship request there, so organizers don’t need to go through a Rep to ask for sponsorship from DevRel. Please check out this wiki if you’re interested to know more about that.

Now, let me address your recommendations as well.

Have SOP on how to communicate with event organizers

As much as I would like if communications can be made in a more structured way, this is something that I think we wouldn’t be able to control. One thing that every rep should acknowledge on this case is the thing that I already mentioned before, which is to emphasize that budget/swag requests are not approved by default. So whether they’re asking support from Reps or DevRel, there’s always a possibility that their request would be rejected.

Have Reps follow the SOP

Of course, this is the ideal situation in a perfect world. We can create whatever rule we want, but, contributors are just humans. That’s why we have the review process to ensure that people are following the guideline and to also make sure that we use our finite budget in accordance with Mozilla’s goal of the year.

Have an event organizers handbook for how to get sponsorship/swags from Mozilla with prominent warning that there is no guarantee

In case you don’t know, right now we don’t give resources access to every rep in the program. To be able to request resources, you have to be trained as a Resources Rep to make sure that you understand the procedure. Everyone can take the online training. However, the official application for Resources Rep is only open a few times if we see more demands from the regions.

I hope my answer helps to clarify some of the issues described here. (:

I’ve raised a problem that is happening right now. Whether you choose to fix that and how you fix that is up to you. My suggestions are just suggestions. But the problems are real problems.