Working with Bocoup to Clarify OpenRefine Mission, Vision, and Values

Following my conversation last year with OpenRefine contributors, the Advisory Committee, and other open-source project leaders, I realized that the OpenRefine mission and vision are not clearly defined.

While we all contribute to OpenRefine for various personal reasons, we lack an explicit common ground to guide the project's long-term decisions. A shared vision will help us to

  • Attract and onboard new contributors and position OpenRefine with partners by helping them understand the project direction;
  • Improve communication within the community by establishing a shared set of values and expectations;
  • Evaluate how new ideas align with our roadmap.

As stated in my post, Reflecting on 2023 and Looking Ahead to 2024 as OpenRefine Project Manager, we have been looking for a strategic consultant to facilitate the process. The Advisory Committee reached out to seven strategic consultants and made the decision to work with Bocoup.

As part of its mission, Bocoup will work toward obtaining community consensus regarding OpenRefine's Mission, Vision, and Values. We are not looking for comprehensive strategic planning exercises. Our expectation is that Bocoup will engage with our diverse contributors and user base to build a consensus that represents our different communities.

Bocoup is a justice-focused consulting firm that partners with tech companies, web standards bodies, online communities, and nonprofits. They started in 2009 with a focus on open-source ethics and have since partnered on a range of organizational strategy, engineering, and design projects that seek to advance equity and inclusion on the web. As part of their Advising service, Bocoup works with teams and organizations to imagine, define, or iterate on core principles, structures, and processes that impact organizational/product health and effectiveness.

I am attaching the Bocoup Statement of Work and work plan for the next three months.

Statement of Work- OpenRefine + Bocoup Community-Driven Mission, Vision, and Values-Setting Project - March 2024.pdf (438.0 KB)

1 Like

I met with the team at Bocoup last week to discuss their review of the existing materials (which is what is publicly available on the forum, GitHub, and website).

They also shared their timeline for the rest of the project, which is outlined below. We will provide another update by the end of next week once the engagement mechanism is identified.

Calendar week
starting on
Project week Task (high-level)
April 1 0 Kickoff meeting
April 8 1 Gather & review existing materials
April 15 [Bocoup closed]
April 22 2 Continue to review existing materials
Interview with @Martin
April 29 3 Identify gaps in the existing research
Identify engagement mechanism for supplementary research
Begin planning scheduling supplementary research
May 6 4 Conduct supplementary research, pending research needs
May 13 5 Conduct supplementary research, pending research needs
May 20 6 Conduct supplementary research, pending research needs
May 27 7 Conduct supplementary research, pending research needs
June 3 8 Synthesize research findings
Discuss learnings with OpenRefine’s project manager
June 10 9 Identify engagement mechanism for input on draft materials
Draft Vision, Mission and Values
June 17 10 Share draft Vision, Mission, and Values
Conduct 2-3 rounds of facilitated input gathering
June 24 11 Continue conducting facilitated input gathering
July 1 12 Continue conducting facilitated input gathering
July 8 [Bocoup closed]
July 15 13 Update materials based on feedback received
July 22 14 Deliver final materials
Conduct handoff meeting

What ELSE will be in the Final Materials delivered?

  1. Vision, Mission, and Values
  2. ???
  3. ???

@thadguidry they are focusing on the Mission, Vision and Value solely.
As outline in the SOW attached in my initial message their final deliverables are

  • Deliver final materials, including community-driven Vision, Mission, and Values Statements, and high-level next steps for socializing them
  • Conduct handoff meeting, including final feedback gathering on the experience

:+1: Gotcha.

Vision is going to be the hardest to get community consensus upon. Henceforth, it will likely encourage it to be overly broad. However, it should really strike a balance and always set a future-forward tone forever.

My previous unshared thoughts when I was thinking of setting up the non-profit foundation was something along the lines of this:

VISION: Giving the world easier data organization and information sharing through intuitive software and tools