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Internal leadership on project teams

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Community Project Handbook


Nearly all of LDSTech community projects have a combination of employees and community volunteers acting as project leaders. At present, every successful project has at least one employee functioning as the project leader. Some projects have volunteers acting as additional project leaders as well. These additional project leaders usually take direction from the employee project lead.

Although it's not a requirement for employees to be project leaders, it makes strategic sense for a variety of reasons:

Projects originate from internal departments. LDSTech is designed to provide support for ICS technology projects. As such, the projects almost always originate from ICS at the request of a sponsoring department. This is necessary to provide funding, approval, and guidance for the project. Projects do not originate from the community without an internal sponsoring department. In other words, a community member with an idea for a project can't immediately leverage LDSTech community resources for the project without first getting internal sponsorship for the idea.

Employees stay on the project long-term. Employees provide a regular and consistent effort through the life of the project. Although some volunteers are committed for the long-term, the general trend is for shorter commitments. As such, employees provide more stability to the project. They are responsible to see it through to the end. Many projects are now leveraging Church service missionaries to provide more longevity and stability to projects. However, Church service missionaries usually need direction and guidance from employee project leaders.

Employees have access to internal resources. Employees have direct access to stakeholders, internal resources, and other assets behind the firewall. Even the most energetic volunteers won't be able to find key information about the various departments and groups they need in order to get things done. Setting up servers, scheduling infrastructure support, connecting databases, and other technical processes that take place behind the firewall require the knowledge and contacts of an employee. Many internal departments may not engage with outsiders for security risks. Additionally, navigating the org chart to find contact information for the various roles and other information requires firewall access, which is only available to employees.

Employees submit content through Correlation. Finally, employees are needed to route applications and other article content through Intellectual Property, Correlation, Member Data Privacy, and other departments prior to release. The submission processes requires leaders not only to have access behind the firewall to submit the content, but also some familiarity with protocols surrounding these processes. It is unlikely that a volunteer could figure this process out without guidance and direction from an internal employee.

Despite the need for employees to function as project leaders, employees that try to do everything themselves without involving community volunteers to assist them with project leadership also face challenges. Besides organizing the basic resources of a project, there's a tremendous need to reach out to volunteers, to interact with them, to provide guidance and direction, follow-up, praise, instruction, and other communication. Projects that have leveraged volunteers -- either from the general community or through Church service missionaries -- have had much more success with their projects.