Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Status report

For the second week in a row I've created a status report for the Montserrat trip. There will likely be such a document right up until we leave. With six operators scattered across the country from Massachusetts to California, the causal "let's get together for coffee and talk about it" approach isn't going to work. Truth be told, that approach probably wouldn't work anyway!
If you've got a group (that is, two or more) collaborating on a project such as a DXpedition, it is best to error on the side of thoroughness: make lists, have a schedule, set goals (including intermediate goals), make assignments, and have clear lines of authority. I'm trying to help organize this project with this approach and, so far at least, I believe it is working well.
We have created a Yahoo! group that is private to just the 6 of us to exchange this information and I must say that having an online collaboration area is very convenient. It is difficult to imagine how people did this in the days before the internet! Here's a glimpse of what I have in the status report:

* General status
* Actions this week
* Open issues (hot)
* Open issues
* Closed issues
* Discussion

Right now the hot issues are getting our licensing paperwork into the Montserrat authorities, joining the Montserrat Amateur Radio Society, and figuring out how we're going to get from Antigua to Montserrat (plane? boat?). There are many more things to worry about and once we think of things that need to be handled, it goes on the list. If we are disciplined about this we will be able to split up the work, get everything done, and have a very relaxing and successful DXpedition. We are already splitting up tasks nicely and as the saying goes, "Many hands make light work."
There are other items right behind the hot ones that also need to be handled, but we'll get to them in good time. I'll talk about two of them tomorrow: the model release form and general agreement. There are some things that should not be done "on a handshake".
Finally, I am developing a manual for the DXpedition. This might sound over the top, but it is common for serious DXpeditioning efforts to have such a document and it can be invaluable during and after the event. Think about all the things that need to be decided and handed: how will you QSL? Who will update your web site? How will on-line logs be handled? Will you participate in on-line QSLing? Who buys the QSL cards? These are all excellent questions and represent just one thin aspect of the mechanics of your project!
Some of this work will be specific to this trip, of course, but other work should be reusable. That gives me a head-start on my next big adventure!


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