Organization for Apprentices

Slack channels

All of our communication happens over Slack. We use it to communicate with each other as well as with the rest of the community. Though Slack is a great tool for keeping us all on the same page there are a few things to keep in mind when using it:

  • Slack is not an instant messaging platform. When mentioning someone in a message the expectation is that they will see or react to the message within a working day. If something needs to be discussed urgently, using a working session to address that need is best.

  • Don’t silo your communication. It is easy to want to DM someone when the need arises. Though that may help you get unblocked, it keeps other team members out of the loop. Using team channels to communicate ensures everyone is on the same page and that those who are not can catch up asynchronously.

  • Keep discussions in one place. When responding to a message make sure to reply in a thread so that all relevant messages are central to one location. This ensures channels are easy to follow and that team members are not getting notifications they do not need to see.

Project workspaces

Your team workspace is where anything and everything related to your project will live. Apprentices will be invited to their team’s project workspace at the beginning of each project. Workspaces are broken down using a few high-level categories including each team within the project (i.e. Design, Strategy, Research, Writing, Development, etc) as well as common spaces to keep track of project progress (i.e. Weekly Updates, Team Hub, etc). Within these spaces the project team is free to determine what structure works most effectively.

Workspace Examples:

The Serious Type (Phase 2)

Earth Hero Mobile App

Tech Fleet web calendar

All project meetings and meeting links are made public via the Tech Fleet calendar. This is the first place any member of the team should look to understand what the day ahead of them looks like. It is also a good idea to copy calendar events to your personal calendar in order to keep track of them. Before adding events to the calendar, please make sure there is team consensus and a meeting agenda is in place.

Backlog task tickets

Notion boards are our go-to sprint planning tools here at Tech Fleet. These act as your team’s source of truth for the duration of the project. During sprint planning meetings, the team will discuss what needs to be achieved by the end of the next week (sprint) and break their goals down into action items that we call β€˜tickets’. Members of the team will take ownership of one or more of these tasks and ensure the necessary work is carried out during the sprint. If a ticket is completed on time, it is identified as β€˜complete’ or β€˜demo’ (in the case that its contents will be shared with the client). It is important that tickets are updated promptly in order to keep the team aligned on sprint goals and deliverables.

Meeting notes

There is no objectively "correct" way to make agendas or keep notes for a meeting. The best system is the one that you will use. Keep a central repository with your team that has a template for note-taking, notes archives, and a schedule of who is responsible for leading and taking notes for each meeting. Make sure that meeting agendas are available to all attendees at least a few hours before each meeting, so all can come prepared.

At a minimum, your meeting notes should always contain the following elements:

  • Meeting date, time, and topic

  • Key takeaways and decisions

  • Action items labeled with owner, due date, and any dependencies

Here are some suggestions that may help you organize notes and agendas, depending on team needs and dynamics:

  • Attach a running notes document to the meeting invite for recurring meetings so it can be accessed quickly and easily.

  • Put follow-ups and action items from the last meeting in the first line of the agenda so nothing falls through the cracks.

  • If meeting schedule is tight, establish time limits on certain topics to ensure all agenda items are addressed. Organize agenda items in order from highest to lowest priority.

  • For important meetings, especially those involving clients, send a summary email to attendees afterwards with the meeting takeaways and action items.

  • For long or important meetings, consider having multiple note-takers who take turns or take concurrent notes so nothing is missed.


Keeping your workspaces as organized as possible ensures that team members and those invited to those workspaces can access and acquire information as quickly and painlessly as possible. It also provides observers with a more cohesive idea of project status and current undertakings. Housekeeping can and will likely be tackled in ways specific to the team and their workspace structure but it is recommended that time be put aside on a weekly basis (at the least) for cleanup.

Weekly updates

Each project workspaces includes a Weekly Updates section by default. Weekly updates allow for observers and onlookers to easily understand the progress being made on a project and makes the hand-off process between phases much easier. Use this space to brief the community on big picture tasks, celebrate achievements, and provide links to resources (Figma files, Figjam boards, Google Docs, etc). A general outline that you can use is:

  • Overall Weekly Updates. Briefly outline the major updates for the week, whether they be team related, client related, or just celebrating an achievement. Keep things positive!

  • Team Updates. Each team (research, design, writing, etc) should provide a brief overview of what they’ve been up to during the sprint and point readers to resources they’ve used to complete their work.

  • Strategic Changes & Decisions (if any). If major strategy decisions have been made, it would be best to outline them here. This allows for readers to understand the context of sprint work moving forward.

Tips for good organization

You know yourself better than any of your team members know you. There is no perfect productivity system. Here are some tips that have worked for us- feel free to adopt the ones that resonate and ignore the ones that don't.

  • Keep an "inbox" for everything that clutters your head and interrupts your work - important tasks and dates to remember, ideas for other projects, reference information, anything bothering you, etc. A notebook, sticky note, whiteboard, or to do list application might work well for this. Once the clutter is out of the forefront of your mind and somewhere where you can organize and come back to it later, you will be able to focus better.

  • Taking a few minutes at the beginning of a project to set up folders, calendars, and goals will save you a lot of time later. It's easier to follow an existing system than try to retroactively tame chaos.

  • However you choose to record your tasks, have a prioritization system. You may be tempted to tackle smaller, lower-priority tasks during your flow time to "get things off your list," but upon reflection you will realize that you are best off focusing on your primary work when you are most refreshed and energetic.

  • If you struggle with productivity and organization, communicating your goals and systems with an accountability partner may help.

  • Learn to say no. You will produce better work if you can give your attention to the things that really matter, and are not constantly overloaded by more tasks than you can reasonably handle. This may force you to ask the question, "is this something that really needs to be done or just a wish-list item?"

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