One of the most interesting things to do when starting an organization, company, project or even an small idea is to start planning for it and defining an strategy about it.
It is one of the most interesting things but also one of the most important ones. For this, one of the things one can do is to do a kickoff. A kickoff can be defined as a gathering of people to discuss an strategy for creating or doing something. As CAD, as an organization that works to preserve the privacy of the people, was just starting in Quito, Ecuador, we decided to do one to plan all the activities we were going to do, and to decide which projects and clients to collaborate with. And when we did it, it was amazing!
So, one of the questions that can get asked when talking about a kickoff is why is it important to do it. One of the reasons of why it is important when starting something new is so everyone (for example, new employees) gets in the same page around what the mission, vision and general ideas the organization has. It is also the place to talk about the quality standars of the organization, and the potential projects and clients that it will have. Clarity is given by the project leaders if there exists any ambiguity in the process implementations. This last idea is extremely important when starting an organization as CAD, because, as an organization that creates and works on free software development, certain practices should be defined: the methodology, the programming languages to be used, the scope of projects, the best-practices, etc. In the case of CAD, for example, we prioritize the use of an agile methodology (with an emphasis on pair-programming, feedback and open-communication culture), we manly work -but not exclusively- with the C and Golang programming languages, and we collaborate with projects and people who strive to protect the privacy of everyone.
The kickoff held by CAD lasted one week. On it, we talked about several things: the history of CAD, the different cultural values, the impact on the work we do in society, the importance of privacy and security as a human right, etc. We also decided upon some things as the aforementioned methodology and the projects to collaborate with. It was, for example, decided that we were going to continue on the work we do with OTR version 4; with our own chat client, CoyIM; and collaborating with projects outside (like with the Tails project). It was a very nice kickoff for all of the discussions held; but also because of all the people involved in CAD. We had the participation of not only people from Ecuador but from Sweden (from Ola Bini, our technical principal) and from Germany (from Andy Müller-Maguhn, who works as an infrastructure architect for CAD). Having people with a diverse cultural background made the discussions around privacy and security much more alluring, as different concepts have different interpretations depending on the context.
We encourage every new organization to do similar kickoff, as the dicussions that happen are amazing and it sets up the ground for excellent cultural values. If you want to learn more about CAD, the project we do and what we strive for, read the links down here:
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