General Manager Job Description

From DPWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

< Distributed Proofreaders Foundation Table of Contents

Distributed Proofreaders Foundation (DPF)

Adopted by the DPF Board at the June 8, 2013, meeting

Discussion of this job description took place here.

Note: This document describes the job performed by the General Manager. It does not describe how the other Trustees and the General Manager interact.

For more information please see:


The Distributed Proofreaders General Manager (GM) position is one of great responsibility to the site volunteers and the Board for the smooth operation of the DP site, including the physical operation (keeping the system running, backed up, secure, etc.) and the less tangible but equally important aspects such as the atmosphere of the site and the forums that helps ensure the well-being, morale, and productivity of our volunteers. The GM will need to balance multiple, possibly conflicting, points of view and differing priorities while doing this. The GM must also recognize that although the position carries great responsibility, there is little actual power to accomplish most of the productive work since it is all done through the goodwill of volunteers.

The GM will be called upon to answer questions, establish roles, enforce policies, recruit helpers and make decisions--big and small--in all areas of DP activity. Juggling multiple requests, problems and tasks simultaneously is the typical workday. Problem solving, delegation and sensible prioritization are highly desirable skills.

To accomplish that work, and the more detailed description of duties described herein, the GM must communicate in a clear, knowledgeable and polite manner with DP volunteers and Trustees as well as outside contacts.

General knowledge of the DP workflow and activities, and the ability to effectively work with volunteers, are necessary. Practical experience in a variety of DP roles is beneficial. A basic understanding of software development, server management, databases and other server-related tasks that are necessary to carry out DP's mission of eBook production is highly desirable. Technical aptitude is strongly recommended in order to effectively manage these areas.


The GM's duties shall include, but are not limited to, the following (listed in approximate order of frequency):

  • Manage day-to-day activities directly related to producing eBooks from public domain works. This includes the visible activities of the DP website ( as well as less visible but critical activities such as operations, maintenance, backup, and software development for the servers that enable those activities, as well as the test servers and any other servers and services used for administrative and promotional purposes.
  • Direct and coordinate resources (volunteer and technologies) relating to: the production and distribution of eBooks; resolution of volunteer, production or operation issues; development and installation of new features.
  • Interact with the community, staff and Board regularly; announce initiatives; address concerns; make decisions on problems, plan and implement solutions where necessary; answer questions on protocols and procedures.
  • Manage inflow and storage of materials; oversee compliance with U.S. copyright laws and Terms of Use for source material.
  • Plan and coordinate activities such as milestone, founding day and Special Day celebrations; support challenge initiatives and other activities that encourage community participation.
  • Manage non-production assets such as spare equipment, the development test site, DP blog, voting service account, etc.; ensure compliance with acceptable-use and privacy policies, Creative Commons licenses, copyright laws; be mindful of activities and revenues that may impact the organization's nonprofit or tax-exempt status.
  • Review statistics, activity and trouble reports, and other performance data to assess productivity and progress toward goals and to identify areas needing adjustment and improvement.
  • Provide periodic reports (monthly, annually; occasionally special, supplemental or interim) to the community and Board that reflect the overall health of the organization including numbers regarding the volunteer population, production numbers and problems, new features under development, issues with the site or community, progress with publicity, new appointments to management roles, etc.
  • Attend Board meetings (regular, annual, committee and special) and participate in discussions via a variety of venues (telephone conferences, email, forums, etc.).
  • Encourage exchange of ideas with the administrators of other sites related to DP by their activities or by their use of the dproofreaders code-base, relay information regarding site code vulnerabilities and other potential threats of concern to all; liaise with Project Gutenberg, online image source providers, libraries, etc., when an authoritative exchange is indicated; consider requests from outside contacts regarding use of facilities for group activities or special interest projects, allocate resources and coordinate them accordingly.
  • Determine staffing requirements; create or remove positions as necessary; interview, promote and train new staff members, or oversee their training; assign specific duties; reassign or dismiss staff members as appropriate.
  • Ensure that alternate person(s) are designated and available to address critical tasks and responsibilities should urgent situations arise; document and periodically review procedures for handling and recovering from emergencies.
  • Establish, implement and periodically review policies, goals, and procedures, conferring with the community, staff, and other Trustees as necessary.
  • Periodically review site documentation, training and mentoring materials for desired practices, needs and gaps; prioritize creation of new material and updates to existing material; engage the community, formal or informal groups, staff, and/or developers, as appropriate, in completing the objectives.
  • Assist the Board with election of new Trustees: Ensure the voters list is securely handled; manage the ballot system and address associated problems; manage Board requests for use of site resources (News items, announcements, etc.).
  • Supervise and oversee: acquisition, installation and replacement of hardware; deployment of system and software upgrades.

The GM is responsible for determining the manner in which these duties are carried out. Prior approval is required from the Board before making major policy or workflow changes, but other changes may be made without prior approval. For changes of medium-impact the Board should be advised in advance of the change and allowed the opportunity to provide input and/or to adjust their long-range planning if necessary. All visible changes to policy or workflow, even low impact ones, should be reported both to the community and to the Board.

To comment or request edits to this page, please contact the DPF Secretary (LCantoni) or another DPF Board member, or make your suggestions on this page: DPFoundation talk:Distributed Proofreaders Foundation.