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Roberts Rules

Roberts Rules

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Published by George W Anderson
Examine the oldest and best solution for running a meeting.
Examine the oldest and best solution for running a meeting.

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Published by: George W Anderson on May 29, 2011
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12/14/2012

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Sign up for the Newsletter Go to Back Issues
 
Octob2010
Feature Article
A 19th Century Process called: Robert’sRules of Order
by George Anderson
 
“Professional Meetings are a continuingsource of frustration both to theparticipants and to those counting on theoutcomes.”
While a lot of people have writtenguidelines on proper conduct of meetings,Robert’s Rules of Order (RRO) isunquestionably the most successful de factostandard ever published on this subject andalthough an American institution since1878, has been imitated and adoptedinternationally to a surprising degree. Thisstandard covers three important areas:1. The intent and objective of parliamentary derived rules2. Instructions and responsibilities forthe conduct of meetings3. An ordered and comprehensiveprocess for conducting business in ameeting.As is the case with any process oriented standard, an identifiable cottage industryof resistance to Robert has emerged using the same type of arguments thatsystems engineers frequently hear in opposition to many other processimprovement efforts or methods. This thought alone should be enough reason forus to review Robert’s basic ideas and try to understand why RRO has become sosuccessful in spite of his detractors.Robert was seeking ways to manage meetings. He examined the parliamentarylaw and procedure that was practiced in large governing bodies and especiallythat provided to the United States Congress by Thomas Jefferson. According toone source, these laws were designed to protect:[1]
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Our Chapter now has a pres Check it out and join our grwe can together discuss theSystems Engineering news aevents.
Mark your Calendar
Date
:
17 November 2010Presentation
:
Panel: Cyber 
Speakers
: Various
Date
:
17 December 2010Holiday Dinner and AwardCeremony
 
Location
: ??
The Chesapeake Chapter islooking for volunteers to spour upcoming meetings! Plecontact our Programs DirectDonald York,if you would liopportunity to speak or canrecommend someone.Our Chapter now has a pres 
 
1. The right of the majority to decide2. The right of the minority to be heard3. The rights of individual members4. The rights of absenteesAdditionally, parliamentary procedure embraces the requirement to protect andcarefully balance the rights of the organization, subgroups and individualmembers.Roberts cut through the complexities of parliamentary law by restating it all injust ten declarations.These are:1. The rights of the organization supersede the rights of individual members.2. All members are equal and their rights are equal.3. A quorum must be present to do business.4. The majority rules.5. Silence is consent6. A 2/3 vote rule to limit or take away rights of members or changesomething that has already been decided.7. One question at a time and one speaker at a time.8. Debatable motions must receive full debate9. Once a question is decided, it is not in order to bring up the same motion orone essentially like it at the same meeting.10. Personal remarks in debate are always out of order.The meeting members must execute defined duties to follow the ten laws. RROdevelops the following duties:1. All meeting participants must obey the rules.2. Presiding officer (chairman)-a. Maintains orderb. Starts on time and has agendac. Is organizedd. Teaches when requirede. Controls the floorf. To accomplish the above, the president must be impartial, composed,precise, focused, and temperate.The participants ‘ duties are to be prepared for the meeting and speak only whenrecognized by the presiding officer and normally address only to the issues indebate.The actual conduct of the meeting follows a process that involves ordered debateand voting. Terminology and procedure are followed to prevent a lapse in theenforcement of the ten basic rules. In large organizations with many factions, therules take on a complexity that is necessary to prevent confusion and miscarriageof the meeting purpose. Robert recognized that these rules needed to be tailoredto each organization and thus could be considered as an early practitioner of Systems Engineering techniques.What then, is our relationship to RRO beyond the professional interest in makingrules about rules? The relationship is that virtually every non-profit organization(NPO) in the US, including INCOSE, mandates RRO in its charter or bylaws as the
 Check it out and join our grwe can together discuss theSystems Engineering news aevents.
Events in the Area:NASA's Goddard SFlight Center
Date
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November 2, 2010, 1Presentation
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Common SenEngineering and the BP and Big Branch Oil Spills
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:Beverly A. Sauer, Ph.D.
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IEEE Baltimore Se
Event: Baltimore Section -Signal Processing Society
 
Date: Oct 19, 2010, 5:30PLocation:
National ElectroniMuseum -- Pioneer Hall
Presentation
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Constant AmZero Autocorrelation SequeWaveform Design
Speaker
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Date:October 14-15, 2010
This is a fact-finding and reagenda-building workshop oincreasingly important topicenergy efficiency in commuand networking.
Location:
Inn and ConferenCenter; University Of Maryla
 
process for conducting meetings.Does this mean that every meeting echoes with motions and formalities? No, of course not. What it does mean is that the rules are followed when any of the tenprinciples comes under risk of compromise. Usually, the chairman is the first tonote an issue and impose the RRO process on the meeting.It stands to reason that one cannot impose formality where there is no familiaritywith RRO among the membership. For this reason, a parliamentarian is oftenincluded in the duties for the meeting so as to instruct and judge issues of procedure for the proper flow of business. It is interesting to note that two of thethree parliamentarians who edited subsequent editions of RRO reside inBaltimore, MD while the third is from Washington, DC.The Chesapeake INCOSE BOD uses RRO and our members receive a briefing thatincludes the fundamental rules and concepts so that they are able to participateand vote properly. [2]Minutes of each meeting are recorded and the recordsavailable to the membership. While we do not have a parliamentarian, one isavailable to support our meetings if divisive issues arise.The pressure to shelve Robert’s work is ongoing. Human nature is always seekingthe easiest path and it is not uncommon for an NPO board to discuss abandoningthe pesky and inconvenient process from the charter. Given Colonel Roberts 132years of successfully dominating the meeting room, its not likely that anymembership would be foolish enough to abandon it or that a better method forguiding an organization will be competing with his masterpiece soon.Please take a moment to examine Roberts in more detail starting with the RobertsRules of Order site. His legacy appears to be in good hands including those of hisown descendants. This is mandatory for any systems engineer who aspires to thestudy of process development or improvement methods. The “we don’t needprocess” crowd is endemic to corporate America and could in a light-hearted waybe related to the message in several currently running ads for ORKIN pest controlproducts.www.robertsrules.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Roberts-Rules-Order-Newly-Revised/dp/0738203076http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert's_Rules_of_Order[1] Roberts Rules in Plain English, Doris P. Zimmerman, Harper Collins Publishers,1997, pp 5-6.[2] Bylaw XII, section 7. Of the Chesapeake Constitution and Bylaws. “Robert’sRules of Order- Revised shall determine the conduct of business in all meeting of the CSPK, its governing body and committees, except when inconsistent with thisConstitution and Bylaws.
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 College Park, MD
Speakers
:Rajesh Gupta, UCSD; KaushiPurdue; Anant Sahai, UC BeVinod Sharma, Indian InstituScience; Anand SivasubramaPenn State; Mani Srivastava,and Roy Yates, Rutgers
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Averill M. LawAssociates
Event: Simulation ModelingSystem Design and AnalysisDate: November 15-19, 20
This course is designed for sanalysts, operations researcanalysts, engineers, militarplanners, computer scientistechnical managers who woto use simulation to designoptimize real-world systems
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