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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Fwd: Teams and Leads - where leadership lives (sermonette warning)
Date Fri, 17 Jun 2011 22:19:47 GMT
I thought I'd share this excellent "Sermonette" posted by Dennis
Hamilton on the new incubator projects dev mailing
list. I think it's a great post illustrating some very appropriate and
useful observations from a newcomer to The Apache Way.

I know I found it educational, I hope you appreciate it too.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dennis E. Hamilton <>
Date: 16 June 2011 19:27
Subject: RE: Teams and Leads - where leadership lives (sermonette warning)

I think we should take Greg literally on this.

There has been more discussion, and I see us coming together.  And
there is work for us to do in fostering leadership and having a
successful and fulfilling project.

 - Dennis


I know, in my case, this will take some awkward and uncomfortable
transformation of how I see myself in the context of coordinated
activities.  I'm already seeing, on the PPMC, that it takes something
to learn to function by consensus inspired by shared commitment rather
than other, often-personal considerations.  I say that it is mutual
commitment that carries the day every time.  (Everyone is here because
they want to be, whether or not it turns out to be what we were

Also, a crucial feature, and I see it reflected in subsequent
discussion on this thread, is that participants take *ownership* of
the project.  (I don't mean possession or having it be property.  I am
not sure how ownership translates here.  It is the term I know for
this.)  It is our project.  That's also uncomfortable for some
(certainly for me), because it means making ourselves responsible for
the outcome and doing so willingly.  It is a feature of teamwork that
all of the team own the team results as their own.

And for all of this, we must trust each other to govern ourselves and
trust the process to work rather than give in to whatever fears we
might have about how things might go.  (That is something this has in
common with democracy.)  Team-mates do that, families do that.
Sometimes communities and nations manage to do that.

It is also uncomfortable that we have no common history to rely on.
Misunderstandings will occur often. We do not know each other very
well, if at all, and are learning how to collaborate as a new
organization involving a different mix of players than may have
existed in the past.  We will doubtless shed some blood and tears
together before we learn that it can all work out and is working out
(whether or not to our liking).  It is the (unarticulated) mutual
commitment that carries us through, just as it happens when there is
friction in successful families.

I also notice something else in my exposure to the "Apache Way" in
this short time.  There is considerable attention on how we train
ourselves and work to foster leadership in others.  It is as if, no
matter who comes and goes, there can always be a sufficient group of
participants having both the commitment and the preparation to carry
on the project *and* continue the cultivation and development of more
participants.  It is that the project succeed, no matter who the
participants are.  And participants have a satisfying and fulfilling
experience so long as being here aligns with their commitments.


I've been in training exercises and leadership programs of one variety
or another in the 50+ year course of my career and
personal-development efforts.  One characteristic that I have seen
demonstrated is this: leadership arises and moves among the
participants of a group effort as the activity progresses and as
discussions proceed.  It is not about "leader" but leadership and that
it is not fixed in individuals but in a response to a perceived
opportunity, attention on some issue, at-hand experience, and so on.
We all nurture leadership in how we sustain the movement of the effort

I think those who have worked in volunteer software teams and other
volunteer activities have seen this work (and have seen it not work
when there were "leader" issues).  It also works in organizations
where teams have their own informal way of working and solving
problems below the attention level of management.  It might happen
without being noticed apart from the team-mates having developed a
noticeable satisfaction in working together.  (Recall, in your own
experience, that it often did not start out that way.)

When I become too attached to my self-perceived role in something, I
often remind myself of this (though I have doubtless forgotten the
accurate quote): "The spirit cares that there be flying, not who the
flyer is."  On a Yoga DVD that I exercise with on occasion, there is
this phrase that always makes me smile: "willful intent without
attachment to the results."

[OK.  I promise to resist posting sermons.  This seemed important,
because of the importance that we all contribute leadership without
having leader as some fixed role.  Maybe it doesn't need to be said.]

-----Original Message-----
From: Christian Grobmeier []
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 01:42
Subject: Re: Teams and Leads (was: Proposed short term goals)

> I read, there is no single vision on how PMCs should run a project and
> the communities they host. So I think the community can
> create or better bring in its own customary constitution even it's
> hosted by Apache.
> is a little bit different from other Apache projects.
> That makes sense to gover it in a different way.

I agree that OOo might need some other things as other projects. I
also agree with the freedom a PMC has inside the ASF.

But before rules are established: the ASF is a meritocracy.

[ ... ]

I think there is need to name "workforces" like "translators". They
are - imho - pretty similar to components in commons. A workforce does
its work on a specific mailinglist. So, translators should have their
own mailinglist were they are not bothered with technical details.

What Greg wanted to express (or what I think he wanted to express) is,
that every committer in every "workforce" can vote and raise his voice
in the matters of the other workforce. This not really likely to
happen but might. For example, a dev guy can vote against a decision
in the translator workforce. On the other hand, every PMC working
mainly on the "translator" list might veto against a technical

Ross Gardler <>
Programme Leader (Open Development)

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