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From Jan Lehnardt <>
Subject Focus
Date Tue, 06 Nov 2012 15:47:40 GMT
Hey all,

I’m trying something new here. Please send any feedback you might have.

DISCLAIMER: I won’t keep anyone working on or discussing anything. All I want is find a
way to make us all more productive.

* * *

With that out of the way:

Let’s Focus!

My hypothesis is this:

  This group, dev@, has a limited amount of time and attention to move CouchDB forward. We
have so many important things to do that it is very hard for us to say “no” to any one
thing that is brought up. Historically, whenever there is a surge of activity, we (myself
definitely included) tend to bring up more issues than we can work on at a time and as a result
we end up doing less than we could.

My proposal to solve this:

 Say “no”.

More specifically, we need to learn to say “no” to things that, while they are definitely
important, are not important enough “right now” and should be deferred to a later time.

For example, currently I think our most important topics are:

 - Get CORS and docs into shape that we can merge them to master/1.3.x
 - Ship 1.3.0
 - Help the Futon.Next folks out as much as we can to build & deliver Futon.Next.

At the same time, there are many more discussions going on that are distracting us from the
points above done.
(This includes my Plugins Proposal, I am clearly guilty of this.)

Note that the list above is a strong “in my opinion”, your shortlist is likely to differ
and that’s great. We as a group need to figure out together what the things are that we
care about *and* that we can care about at any one time.

This includes things we discuss on dev@, in the weekly meetings, patches we request reviews
& comments on.

I strongly believe that when we can agree on a short list of things we care about, and get
them done, and *then* move on to the next few things, we’ll get more accomplished than we
do right now.

* * *

It would be illusionary to imagine a fully sequential workflow, so I won’t pretend we should
try to achieve that, we’ll always have things going on at the same time, some by different
group members, some by the same people. I also don’t suggest to add a layer of classical
project management. Some discussions are broader (BigCouch merge, source reorg) and need more
time, others should be resolved quickly. And to reiterate the disclaimer, I won’t keep anyone
from working on or discussing anything at any time.

All I suggest is that we, as a group, are a little more mindful about the things we can handle
at any one point. This will change depending on how much time each of us can spend in a given
week or month. I hope over time the list of things we can do at a time grows, as we add more
members to the dev team (hello Futon.Next folks! :)

* * *

In practical terms, I’ll be asking the questions “is this relevant right now?” and “should
this be on our short list of things to care about?” a lot more often, and I hope, given
you agree with the broad strokes above, can do the same.

Thanks for your time and attention!


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