Chairing a Working Group

Finding yourself as a working group chair means you've got technical capabilities in the area the working group is focusing on, and you're passionate about the outcomes produced by the said working group.

Below are items I hold of importance, for chairing and leading a working group:

  • Reach out to participants after they volunteer to identify times that work for them, to organize on
  • Come prepared
    • Come with starting topics for conversations
    • Come with documentation to support conversations
  • Be ready to lead discussions
    • As often happens, discussions can take tangents down roads less traveled
    • Be ready to steer the discussion and working group participants back to the subject at hand
  • Build documentation/POCs ahead of meetings
    • We've all been in a project at work and/or school where we don't see anything accomplished due to lacking a solid starting position
    • A great place to start as a chair is to bring a partially constructed artifact to the first conversation, to help get the group rolling
    • This can be a sample diagram, a picture, a bullet point list of topics to cover that can be shared, etc.
  • This can often be the difference between 30 minutes of casual conversations and 30 minutes yielding a draft document that can be utilized/consumed.