Chi Hack Night: 2022-2023 OKRs Review

Published on Jul 15, 2023 by Sean Watland, President

Picture of our Board of Directions from our board retreat

Since 2021, the Board of Directors have planned yearly goals to ensure that we are focusing our efforts around things that make Chi Hack Night successful. For the second year, we continued using an OKR framework to plan our goals.

If you are curious to learn more about OKRs and how they work, here’s an article that shares more about how they work.

OKRs (short for Objective & Key Results) help us know:

  1. What are our important focus areas - the Objectives
  2. How do we know we’ve succeeded - the Key Results

For our second round of OKRs, we settled on 4 Objectives as a Board.

  1. Run the event
  2. Sustain the event
  3. Promote the event
  4. Ensure attendees get value from the event

Before we get into our results, I want to acknowledge how proud I am of the Board for all of their work towards these OKRs and commitment to seeing Chi Hack Night grow. For a Board made up of all volunteers, we achieved quite a lot! With all of our successes, it is also important to acknowledge areas where we were stretched and learnings we had along the way. For as much as we achieved, we still fell short of our plan in a few areas.

To help make sense of official results below, here are some highlights & learnings I’d like to share from this past year:

Where we succeeded

  1. Running the Event - Our Event Ops did an excellent job of booking excellent presenters from a wide range of interests and backgrounds.

  2. Spreading out Operational Responsibility - It’s no secret that Derek Eder (our President Emeritus) had a big role in many of the operational needs for Chi Hack Night for many years - from booking speakers, hosting, and the most important task of ordering tacos, Derek contributed in every area. While we are incredibly grateful for those contributions, it was not the most organizationally sustainable. Yet, with a few of our KRs, I’m thrilled to say we have made significant strides to spread these out.

  3. Editing our Bylaws around Membership - With our membership roll up in numbers but actively engaged membership numbers down, we were getting to a tough spot where our organization could potentially struggle to meet the minimum number of members needed needed to make official changes to our organization - like voting in new Board of Directors for example. Yikes! Thankfully, our Membership & Volunteers committee created a new membership renewal process that we successfully voted on during the our last Member Meeting to help with this impending problem.

Where we made progress

  1. Engaging Non-Board Member Volunteers - Until around March 2023, every single volunteer need had been filled by a Board Member. Recently, we’ve seen a handful of new and returning non-board member volunteers contribute by hosting a few presentations or by serving as greeters for our in person events. This is a great new trend and it is important that we find ways to continue engaging our non-board member volunteers.

  2. Brand New Attendee Experience - We had a few KRs planned around improving the experience of folks who are attending Chi Hack Night for the first time. For example, we changed Civic Tech 101 to Welcome to Chi Hack Night to make that content more consistent and focused around Chi Hack Night. While we’ve been hosting this more often, we have not been hosting it consistently.

  3. Membership Application & Renewal Process - While we definitely made improvements to the renewal process for Chi Hack Night as an organization, none of the Board feels that we made strides to make the requirements and application process better for current & prospective members. Spoiler alert: this will be a focus during the upcoming months.

Where we could grow

  1. Promoting the event - We made some strides towards understanding what metrics matter for us in promoting our event. However, we were not able to come up with strategy on how we should promote the event. That being said, I’m proud of the learnings that came from this process as that will better set us up for changes in the coming year.

  2. Learning Groups - We had very few hack nights where someone was hosting a learning group - meaning the goal of the group is to learn a new skill (like Python, Javascript, digital security, etc) rather than building out an application or website. These are great opportunities for beginners - so this still feels like an important area to grow.

In short, we achieved and learned quite a bit over the past year. I’m proud of our Board of Directors and our dedicated community who help make Chi Hack Night better every week.

Stay tuned for our upcoming round of OKRs which will be announced in a couple weeks!

2022-2023 OKR Results

from 7/1/22 - 6/30/23

Objective 1 - Run the event

Produce a live, weekly civic engagement event that meaningfully includes diverse speakers and attendees

ACHIEVED Key Result 1.1: Run Chi Hack Night every week, excluding planned holiday weeks

ACHIEVED Key Result 1.2: Ensure each presenter represents at least one of Chi Hack Night’s values

ACHIEVED Key Result 1.3: Measure and track the diversity of the Chi Hack Night membership, presenters and co-hosts

PARTIALLY ACHIEVED Key Result 1.4: Ensure that at least 30% of presenters are persons of color and at least 50% of presenters fill out the demographic survey

NOT ACHIEVED Key Result 1.5: Ensure that at least 50% of co-hosts are from underrepresented groups in tech

PARTIALLY ACHIEVED Key Result 1.6: Measure the satisfaction of participants that attend our hybrid and online events to make them more inclusive and engaging

Objective 2 - Sustain the event

Build & maintain a sustainable infrastructure for weekly operations engaging volunteers and expanding our organization’s capacity

ACHIEVED Key Result 2.1: Each quarter, each volunteer role has been performed by at least two different people

PARTIALLY ACHIEVED Key Result 2.2: Recruit and onboard one new non-board co-host, greeter, “Welcome to CHN” host for operational functions at Chi Hack Night per quarter

PARTIALLY ACHIEVED Key Result 2.3: Create a clear Membership application and renewal process that accounts for our remote environment

Objective 3 - Promote the event

Promote and share Chi Hack Night presentations, events, and projects to a wider audience

PARTIALLY ACHIEVED Key Result 3.1: Create metrics for how successfully we are promoting the event

NOT ACHIEVED Key Result 3.2: Draft a strategy for growing the attendance of our events

Objective 4 - Ensure attendees get value from the event

Offer valuable opportunities for attendees to learn about and get involved in our civic tech community

PARTIALLY ACHIEVED Key Result 4.1: Host “Welcome to Chi Hack Night” session each week to engage new attendees and help make it routine so more people can run it

NOT ACHIEVED Key Result 4.2: Each quarter, ensure a learning breakout group is hosted on digital skills (development, implementation, data, cryptography), civic literacy (how government works and how to participate), or media literacy (data journalism, visualization)

PARTIALLY ACHIEVED Key Result 4.3: Twice a year, facilitate a community feedback session with members of our community and share the results back in a blog post

About the author

Sean Watland, President

Sean Watland, President
Chi Hack Night President