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From Sharan Foga <>
Subject Re: What's the plan? What are we here for?
Date Tue, 06 Dec 2016 10:51:29 GMT
Hi Rich

Excellent post and I totally agree.

Developing strategies and roadmaps isn't only for the ASF projects that 
produce a software product. Without a high level strategy or knowing 
(and communicating) exactly what we want to achieve we are just drifting 
and generally trying out new things as they come to mind. (For example 
I've always thought of community development as external facing, growing 
communities etc but we you've highlighted that we have a lot of work 
that we could do internally too where perhaps it matters the most).

We have got to where we are by the work of the people wanting to start 
or do something which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I think 
that a strategy could really focus the community.


On 05/12/16 18:54, Rich Bowen wrote:
> As has been discussed elsewhere, we don't have a clear idea of what
> we're here for. I believe we need to fix that.
> Why This Matters
> 1) So that we know how to ask for help
> This matters because people *flock* to us saying "I want to help", and
> in pretty much every case our response is "Great! Help! We love you!"
> This is great, but utterly unhelpful.
> Once we have a clear idea of what goals we are working towards, we will
> have a better idea of how to tell people to help us.
> When people come to volunteer to help, we need to know what to tell them
> that they can do, and those things need to come out of an understanding
> of what we're trying to accomplish.
> At the moment, we're doing a number of things. Most of them, we have no
> idea whether they help. I assert that this is primarily because "help"
> is undefined. Help with *what*?
> 2) So that we know whether we're doing it
> Once we define what it is that we are trying to accomplish, we will be
> better able to measure the things that we are doing, to determine in
> some objective way whether they are moving us towards those goals.
> I realize that "community development" is an endless road. But we should
> at least know which direction we're walking on that road.
> 3) Because we owe the board a report every quarter
> We're supposed to report to the board every quarter telling them how we
> are doing on achieving the goals that they created us to pursue. Except
> that we don't know what those goals are.
> So, we engage in various efforts which may or may not do anything. Some,
> like GSoC, are noble, and clearly benefit one audience (the students
> that participate), and *might* benefit projects. Sounds like it does,
> based on the most recent responses on $otherthread. Awesome. But do they
> advance "community development". Hard to say before we define that.
> So, What's The Plan
> As a full-time community manager, I have a definition of community
> development that appears on my annual performance review. I think it's
> fine for us, as a PMC in the most important open source organization on
> the planet, to have a similar level of rigor.
> Here's some of the things that fall under this header, and which I
> believe should be part of our definition as the ComDev PMC - things that
> we should work towards, and measure every effort against.
> * Increase community diversity. Identify projects that are monocultures
> (or near to them) and help them actively pursue broader community diversity.
> * Develop tools (documentation, training materials, and software tools)
> that projects can use to promote themselves and attract new
> participants. (Participants is a very broad term here, and does not
> refer only to code jockeys.)
> * Educate projects on the Apache Way, so that they can more richly
> experience the organization that they have attached themselves to.
> Identify projects that appear to be operating outside of the Apache Way,
> and gently, kindly, lead them back to the light.
> * Strengthen the bonds between projects and the larger Foundation.
> Defining this is a whole other thread, but means several things to me.
> Identify projects that are satellites and build ties back to the
> "family", in terms of participating in events, participating in
> governance discussions, having adequate membership representation on the
> PMC, and so on.
> * It's not about marketing, but we should be working very closely with
> marketing (press@) to promote what our projects are doing, and promote
> the idea of the ASF as a place where innovation happens, thus drawing in
> an engaged and excited participant community.
> * Internal promotion and cheerleading. Marketing is outward facing.
> Community development is somewhat inward facing. Many of our projects
> have no idea what other projects are doing, and don't care. Doing a
> degree of internal cheerleading, along with the education, is critical
> for building exprit de corps.
> Ok, I think there's more, but that alone should keep us busy for 5 or 10
> years, and give these volunteers that keep showing up a clearer idea of
> what things they can work on.

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