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Working groups and guilds 101

Working groups and guilds are self-organized groups that improve practices, host discussions, and explore ideas in TTS. These volunteer groups decide how and where to focus their efforts and conversations. Anyone may participate in any working group or guild.

The TTS Policy and Procedure for Internal Project Review exempts working groups and guilds from review, but client work generally takes priority over guild or working group projects.

Key concepts

Working groups are self-organized. They spin up or down depending on our organizational needs.

Guilds are more permanent than working groups and are sponsored by the TTS Chief of Staff. Working groups may propose themselves for guild status. Every guild has one or more leaders chosen by competition and either regular open meetings or an open Slack channel where questions are welcome.

18F has a playbook with instructions on how to organize a working group or guild, how to maintain team cohesion, and how to produce artifacts. All groups have a Slack channel. Working-group related channels have a wg- in front of their name; guilds have a g- before the name. Feel free to jump into and out of any of the working group or guild channels to participate or ask questions. The 18F Working Groups & Guilds Calendar houses all formal meeting times for working groups and guilds.

The open Slack channel for guild leaders & other practice leaders who wish to join is #guild-practice-leads

Existing groups

Accessibility We help 18F develop good, accessible products from the start of production in order to provide an excellent user experience for everyone.
Agile We improve the quality and speed of service delivery through process improvement by encouraging the use of iterative methods in the research, planning, and development of solutions we implement.
Analytics Our mission is to integrate website analytics into all 18F projects.
Capacity Planning We work to iterate and improve our operations to better apply our resources.
Code of Conduct We maintain the TTS Code of Conduct and are committed to enforcing it and helping resolve issues.
Code Reviews We create shared expectations around code reviews to consistently improve code quality and to hone our skills as developers.
Compliance We create tooling, resources, and emotional support for people to get through compliance processes.
Content We promote concise, elegant, user-centered writing. We plan for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.
Core Values We create a shared understanding of values that drive our work and continuously iterate on how our practices reflect those values.
Cybersec We discuss security news and team policies.
Data Services We talk about and help each other with our data projects.
Devops Our mission is to ensure great devops for our projects.
Diversity We help make 18F a great place to work for people of all backgrounds.
Documentation We work to improve the comprehensiveness, quality, and tooling of documentation at 18F.
Ethics Exploring how our work might impact or impose risks on our users, our clients, and the public more generally.
Front End We improve 18F front end code quality through camaraderie and guidelines.
Homepage#g-frontend Waffle Board
GovCareer We support teammates who are interested in a further career in public service in the federal government, whether at GSA or another agency.
Onboarding We work on methods to improve the onboarding process at 18F.
Open Source We help 18F improve how 18F implements its open source policy and team practices, especially the policy of maximizing community involvement and reuse of 18F projects.
Privacy We discuss privacy both in broad terms as well as how it applies to our specific projects.
Project Review We interview 18F project teams so that our processes can improve.
Testing We aim to ensure the long-term success of 18F development projects by cultivating the best automated testing tools, practices, and training materials.
Design Research We envision a world where government agencies use design research to shape their decision making processes.
Working Groups We're dedicated to creating an environment in which working groups and guilds can thrive and have a meaningful impact on 18F deliverables and operations.
Workshops We work on having great workshops, whether internally or with other agencies.

Guild leadership competition

Guilds are led by 1-3 TTS staff members who spend a few hours a week on practice leadership. Individual guilds can set leadership terms, with the most common being 1 year. Guild leadership is recognized by a staff member’s supervisor as a responsibility and they should be reviewed on their performance. However, it is an informal role. There are no administrative supervisory duties attached and there is no GS-level or previous leadership requirement.

We hold lightweight competitions for these informal leadership roles. Here is an outline of the process:

  1. Guilds decide who is eligible for leadership spots - previous participation, mid-level or expert experience in the discipline etc are reasonable qualifications but not required.
  2. The guild asks for nominations via email and Slack posting. Guilds can choose to allow self-nomination only, or accept nominations by other people with confirmation of interest by the nominee. Nominees should have the verbal approval of their supervisor. Written nominations totalling no more than 400 words are recommended; guilds choose nomination questions.
  3. A panel of 1-3 people made up of guild members and/or leadership from other guilds conducts brief (no more than 30 minute) interviews of candidates and makes a selection.
  4. The current guild leader announces the new leader, who takes up the position immediately.