I thought it was about time that I gave an update on how our group project was going. As you may have read in a previous post (Wardsend Cemetery Project), we are working with the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery to raise the cemetery’s profile. We’ve since decided on a plan and split up the tasks , which will be the subject of a later post I suspect. It is how we’ve structured the group that I want to focus on in this post.
The reality is that in a group of strong characters choosing one person to be the “project leader” was more likely to end with personality clashes than a satisfactory outcome. Instead, each task has been allocated a SPOC who will be the lead on that part of the project.
Using the term ‘SPOC’ is, for me, a loaded term. Used in businesses, it is often the person at the end of a telephone who is called when something (or everything) goes wrong. In my last job, they were the equivalent of the ‘IT Crowd’ but less annoying. Thus, using the word SPOC was a laughable but frustrating moment for me. It summed up a lot of what I had disliked about my previous job, where my answer frequently was “have you phoned SPOC?”, while being unable to deny the sense of allocating ‘SPOC’s.
The reality is that having a SPOC is our equivalent to a task leader or subject matter expert. Only we’re all equal partners (so no leaders) and none of us are 100% experts on any of the areas we’re focusing on. So a SPOC provides each task with a person who is 100% committed to completing it and can feed back on it to the group while accepting that none of us are fully equipped to do this project on our own. Though this is a very different purpose to the SPOC I was used to, which was largely a subject matter expert for IT, it has suited our group in terms of a more democratic approach to a group project.