Week 1 Project Update

Outline:

  • Overview
  • Approaching a Problem to Solve
  • Next Steps
    • Proposing a Solution
    • Initial Challenges
  • Project Team Roles
  • Internal Team Roles
  • Internal Team Structures
  • Project Management
  • Conclusion

Overview

A lot has happened in our first week. We've:

  • Seen new 17 team members join
  • Had encouraging calls with potential partners
  • Initiated initial fundraising conversations
  • Begun building an internal team
  • Setup our first local meetup group: STRC — Brighton

I had the pleasure of giving a conference talk about STRC in Brighton: https://www.periscope.tv/w/1ynJOQRWmpvKR (my talk starts at 9:27)

Approaching a Problem to Solve

On Wednesday October 28th, I sat in on a conference call with Refugees Welcome Sweden and learned about the obstacles they are facing in matching refugees with shared flats.

I learned that there have been 250,000 landlords submit requests to house refugees. The current process at Refugees Welcome Sweden involves a lot of manual labor. In two weeks of operation, they have yet to place a single refugee in a home.

This is not to look down upon our friends over in Sweden, but merely to say that the problems they face are very complex and we have an opportunity to help them.

In speaking with network logistics expert Marty Kearns, I realized that we have a huge potential to leverage the manpower of volunteer team members to help organizations like Refugees Welcome amplify their mission.

Next Steps

I am working to set up a meeting with Fredric Landqvist (Founder of Refugees Welcome Sweden), Jonas Kakoschke (Founder of Refugees Welcome Germany), and the STRC core team for Week 2.

Proposing a Solution

Based upon the information I've gathered from Refugees Welcome, I am working on a proposal to create a unified system architecture that will allow Refugees Welcome to radically increase their ability to place refugees into shared flats across Europe.

Initial Challenges

Some initial challenges have been identified and I'd like to document them here:

Create a standard data model

We need to create a standard data model for:

  • Landlords
  • Tenants

create a central database

We need to create a central database so that all the Refugees Welcome Landlords and Tenants exist in one place.

Create standard roles and processes

We need to create a standard process so that all Refugees Welcome staff and volunteers are intimately familiar with their role, and the process assigned to that role. We need to make sure that the system supports the processes—not inhibit them.

Legal hurdles and implications

There have been a few questions raised regarding the legality of creating a central EU database for all Refugees Welcome Landlords and Tenants. This is only one concern.

There are other concerns of liability: What happens if a Landlord can only house a Tenant for a small amount of time? Where will the Tenant go after that time?

What happens if a personal harm occurs to either a Landlord or a Tenant as a result of their cohabitation?

Security

Refugees Welcome Sweden expressed great concern regarding the security of their data gathering, storage and management. The sensitive personal information of Tenants and Landlords need to be professionally secured.

Logistics

If we are going to build a global team of volunteers to amplify the design and development of a standard system to match refugees with shared flats, we are going to need expert logistics and coordination resources.


Project Team Roles

If the Refugees Welcome project moves forward, STRC needs to fulfill the following roles:

  • Operations Coordinator
  • Project Manager (Scrum Master)
  • Lead Technical Architect
  • Lead Developer / Engineer
  • Lead UX
  • Lead UI

Community Team Roles

In order to create an effective global community of volunteers, STRC needs to fulfill the following roles:

  • Community Manager
  • Team Recruitment / Assessment
  • Team Onboarding
  • Problem / Need Researchers

Internal Team Structures

In speaking with Marty Kearns about volunteer logistics and coordination, we've determined a need to design a better internal structure that includes standard:

  • Volunteer interview / approval process
  • Volunteer onboarding process / materials
  • Community structure / guidelines
  • Volunteer contribution guidelines

Project Management

Two trello boards are currently active for project management purposes:

We have a Google Drive folder that contains documents and spreadsheets for the project:


Conclusion

It has been an amazing first week. STRC has grown into something that has garnered attention from people around the world. I am working on this full-time (indefinitely); I am looking to raise funds to support the growth and development of this mission:

To create a community of digital workers collaborating to help solve the refugee crisis—one small problem at a time...