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We, the NeuroData Family (NDF), each agree to all of the below commitments. These agreements are designed to facilitate succeeding at our mission while in alignment with our values. They are in a continual process of refinement; in life, work, and science, we experiment, learn, and grow.

  1. Agreements for all
    1. all in
    2. respect
    3. honesty and safety
    4. daily presence
    5. weekly sub-group meeting
    6. weekly lunches
    7. quarterly checkins
    8. semi-annual retreats
    9. annual reviews
  2. Aspirational Agreements
    1. daily standup
    2. impeccable agreements
  3. Agreements for some
    1. annual funding application (for senior trainnees)
    2. jovo

Agreements for All

All In

We agree that family and health take priority, but after that, our research does. We are deeply committed to each other and our team, and have finite resources, so focusing our energy on our research goals is a key to our success.


We agree to make everyone feel welcome, regardless of the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual state. Specifically, we follow the JHU Code of Conduct at all times.

Honesty and Safety

We agree to speak with one another honestly, while at the same time maintaining psychological safety (to avoid crises) for all team members at all times.

Daily Presence

We agree to be around the lab many working hours each day (which we define for convenience at 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday, irrespective of JHU academic schedule). Our experience dictates that in person communication and happenstance meetings dramatically increase our productivity. At the same time, many of us need some time to think or write in quiet, often in isolation. Therefore, we have found that a balance of the two is optimal for everyone (so far). The particular distribution of time alone vs. with the team is idiosyncratic per person. To respect the individual with the goals of the team we each agree to spend several business hours each day on campus unless JHU is closed or otherwise agreed upon. If you aren't going to be around any given day, we agree to tell team and mark NeuroData calendar so the rest of the team knows. Your most valuable resource while on this team is the team itself.

Weekly Sub-Group Meetings

  • Every week, each sub-group agrees to meet in person for 1-3 hours, with ~hourly breaks. The goals are:
    • document past week's progress towards quarterly or annual goals
    • get feedback/mentorship from brilliant team of collaborators
    • make plan for next week
  • The intention is that everybody that attends a given sub-group meeting is a co-author on all manuscripts that result. That means each person provides valuable/substantive feedback/effort/progress towards the goals.
  • To facilitate achieving & documenting these goals, we each agree to the following for each meeting:
    • Work 30-40 hrs on these goals, leaving time for other interesting stuff as it comes up.
    • Arrive on time
    • Generate 1-10 slides (deposited in the appropriate subgroup's folder here) including the following info:
      • Title slide with name & date
      • Bulleted list of last week's plan
      • Bulleted list of last week's accomplishments
      • For each accomplished task, a research artefact documenting progress (a screencap, proof, figure, etc.)
      • Proposed list of commitments for the following week
    • Listen and provide constructive feedback to your teammates as appropriate
  • Each sub-group has a lead, the lead will be a senior team member, who is committed to (as appropriate):
    1. helping each teammate scope and complete the work,
    2. making sure slides are ready and on time (feel free to delegate this one).

Weekly Lunches

So we all get a more broad view of team activities, we agree to have 1 hour for informal talks, Q&A, and lunch most weeks that school is open. We agree to practice before getting in front of 10-20 people, because every minute you speak you have implicitly asked many other people to devote to you, so please be respectful of other people's time.

Quarterly Checkins

To facilitate more long-term/career guidance, mutually providing radically candid feedback, check alignment between personal and team goals in terms of quarterly, annual, and career goals, and re-align as appropriate, we agree to have quarterly check-ins. In these meetings will we re-assess quarterly goals in light of progress and preferences. They are documented in asana in the "school" project.

Semi-Annual Retreats

To build community and deeper inter-personal connections, and to have fun, we agree to having semi-annual retreats, typically during the week before classes start each semester (that means 1 beach retreat, and 1 ski retreat probably). The retreats will include a celebration of past successes, as well as a discussion of collective goals for the subsequent year.

Annual Reviews

We agree to annual reviews, to document goals and assess trajectory, by filling out the following questionnaire annually, and then scheduling a meeting with leadership to discuss.

Aspirational Agreements

Impeccable Agreements

On this team, we agree that all our agreements to be impeccable. When we make an agreement, it will have the following properties:

  1. Document somewhere (e.g., asana accessible to all stakeholders, including exactly the definition of done, by whom, by when, possibly why
  2. Discuss aiming for a full-body yes:
    • All parties to the agreement must be free to say no (though not without consequences).
    • Full body yes is the goal, admittedly, the bar is high.
  3. Revise as soon as you realize you cannot meet all aspects of the original agreement.
    • You can renegotiate the scope, the form, or by when.
    • For example, in our academic goals, we revise after we meet, to reflect our new expectations.
  4. Take 100% responsibility for your part.
    • If for whatever reason an agreement is not met, only take 100% responsibility.
    • Do not take responsibility for other people’s actions.
    • Make sure nobody else is on your critical path for any agreements that you make.

Agreements for Some

Daily Standups

To (1) keep us accountable to our daily goals, (2) improve our ability to assess how much energy different tasks take, (3) prioritize on the basis of our longer term goals, rather than fleeting distractions such as emails, (4) keep the team in the loop, so we can build upon one another's work, and (5) keep each other in alignment with our own goals and values, as well as the team's some of us agree to participate in daily standups on most days. We typically state the degree to which we completed our previous commitment, and state our new commitment of the day. We usually do them in slack at #standup slack channel.

Annual Funding Application

All senior trainees (research faculty, postdocs, and senior graduate students) agree to be involved in at least one funding application to get practice and money. Make sure you have a target solicitation >2 months in advance.

Jovo Agreements

  1. funding everybody to work on stuff within the union of "stuff he cares about most" and "stuff you are in your zone of genius doing",
  2. prioritizing your personal and professional success over everything else in my life after my family & career
  3. providing the best mentorship i can
  4. sharpening my saw regularly