Project prioritization

This page describes the types of projects we have and the general principles of how we prioritize them. This doesn’t exactly say how things are prioritized (there are too many)

Types of projects

  • Size G (for “garage”): the smallest projects, handled within the daily garage. A few hours and not scheduled, they are handled as people come to garage. Entered in the garage diary, but not the rse-projects tracker.

  • Size S (“small”): <= 1-2 days.

  • Size M (“medium”): <= 1 month.

  • Size L (“large”): > 1 month. These are generally paid by the projects themselves.

RSE staff that are fully funded from a certain project out outside the system of this page, and work on the projects as decided by their funders.


G projects usually get priority, but that is because they are drop-in and not scheduled. Whoever is available will help (usually the same person but who knows). We help for a reasonable amount of time (depending on need and busyness) for each drop-in session. A session ends with the problem solved, a request to come back the next day, or an upgrade to an S-level project.

S projects are often used as fillers during downtime in other projects. We often have a general priority list, but the actual start time can be a bit uncertain.

M projects are sort of in the middle. They are scheduled when possible, but since they aren’t paid by the research groups the work might be more intermittent.

L projects, being paid by a particular group, usually get priority. However, often time there is downtime during these, which are used for other projects.

Some research groups provide “retainer” funding: long-term funding without a specific L-size project. Their funding is used for whatever S and M projects come up, and those S and M projects get a much higher priority (of course, depending on the urgency of the project itself).

There are two main steps in our prioritization:

  • General discussions during the weekly team meetings.

  • Each RSE’s evaluation of each project, based on their knowledge of the work, the time they have, and what the benefit will be.

Per-project prioritization factors:

  • Self-evaluation of usefulness and importance by the researchers

  • Benefit to open science and broader strategic impact

  • Long-term impact to research (for example, improved skills or use of tools)

  • Priority for units which provide funding

  • Diversity and balance, including diversity goals.