Community Builder’s Guide to the Galaxy

This guide help you navigate the crazy world of the Community Builders.


The Community Builders are growing intentional, authentic Gangplank communities; cultivating magnificence across the globe.


Live the Gangplank Manifesto
Follow the Core Commitments

Authentic communities must be moving towards a common purpose, sharing common values. The Gangplank Manifesto is the basis of our philosophy.

Magnificent communities are organic, connected, and built on a foundation of trust. Community members must be able to communicate effectively, clearly, and rationally. The Core Commitments provide a constitution for results-oriented behavior.


Ask For Help
Express presence via core check ins: Check ins indicate a desire to be present. An extended period of time without expressing presence is viewed as self selecting out. Community members can rejoin when they are ready to be present.
Discover and pursue your Personal Alignment.
Join the Community Builders’ Web of Commitment.



Being a globally distributed group, digital communication tools are necessary. We use 2 primary communication channels, each serving a distinct purpose.

Slack – Web-based chat, ideal for real-time discussion. Used to communicate presence (via CheckIn)

Email – asynchronous / offline communication that passively reaches the entire group.


Why do we Check In?

Whether the members of a team are dispersed across the world or crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in rows of cubicles, distance is always the central issue among collaborators. The remedy for distance is presence.

Of course, it is easier to spot distance-related difficulties in a geographically dispersed team, and people are more likely to attribute team problems to miles rather than minds; regardless of geography, the primary task with any team is that of surmounting distance. The distance that must be surmounted, though, is the psychological distance (or the “headgap”) between people rather than the amount of physical space between their bodies.

The aggregate headgap is the big cost of working in groups. This means that a psychologically close team that is physically remote is more desirable than the reverse. Team performance typically has less to do with the collaborators’ physical proximity than with psychological, emotional, and intellectual proximity—that is, the individuals’ degree of engagement with one another and with their work. In The Core-adopting team, efficiently facilitating team members’ presence is the function of the CheckIn pattern. Consistent adherence to this pattern creates a foundation for the team’s greatness.

— Jim and Michelle McCarthy, Software For Your Head

Why Do We Check Out?

Occasionally, an individual will take a break from the intense levels of productive engagement required by The Core. The CheckOut protocol makes such breaks possible and minimizes any disruption to the rest of the team.

— Jim and Michelle McCarthy, Software For Your Head

Recommended Reading

Community Builders’s Group
Community Builders 1 member

Gangplank Community Builders

Books we’ve read

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations
Software for Your Head: Core Protocols for Creating and Maintaining Shared Vision
The Cluetrain Manifesto
The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary
Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect

View this group on Goodreads »

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