Just Don't Lick the Cookie: an open discussion about organizational dysfunction

Accepted Session
Long Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 from 10:00 – 11:45am in B202/203


When someone claims a task and then doesn't do anything with it, we call that "licking the cookie." Nobody in their right mind would pick up and eat the licked cookie or finish the project. In this session well talk about common forms of organizational dysfunction, and then facilitate a group discussion about working around, over, under or through organizational dysfunctions you've encountered.


Organizational dysfunction can be incredibly confusing and frustrating or predicable and sometimes even funny. We hope to show you the lighter side of working with passionate people who do not, from your perspective, always act rationally.

In the first 15 minutes of this talk, we’ll identify and name common forms of organizational dysfunction. Licking the cookie, yakshaving, and bikeshedding are all classic examples of behaviors that can lead to group dysfunction, but with a little bit of theory, we hope you can help us add new examples to our list. The second portion of this presentation will be an open discussion about your own experiences. We’ll brainstorm as a group how you can get what you need done, without playing into or feeding dysfunction in your own organizations.

At best, we hope you’ll leave this presentation being a force for collaboration, support, communication and creativity in your community. At worst, you’ll discover that your situation is truly hopeless.

Speaking experience

We have not given this talk before.

Sumana gave the keynote at OS Bridge 2013. She has also presented at Foo Camp, "Open Source Bridge 2011":http://opensourcebridge.org/sessions/609, and "Open Source Bridge 2010":http://opensourcebridge.org/2010/wiki/The_Second_Step:_HOWTO_encourage_open_source_work_at_for-profits, "Wikimania":http://wikimania2011.wikimedia.org/wiki/Submissions/How_to_get_what_you_want_from_MediaWiki_developers, keynoted "PICC":http://www.picconf.org, led or organized several Wikimedia hackathons, taught several courses at UC Berkeley, and performed at Bay Area stand-up comedy venues, including "Google":http://vimeo.com/31400322.

Kellie gave the keynote at CiviCON San Francisco in 2012. She has also led seminars on organizational dysfunction for professional fundraisers, spoken on fundraising campaign design, and hosted workshops for users of CiviCRM.