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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject RE: Jira Workflow
Date Fri, 01 Jan 2016 15:05:01 GMT
Your observations are good ones. Cultural awareness is very important. 

The "trick" that I've found to work is to speak and act in a way that encourages participation.
Take the time to send a few sentences indicating that *EVERYONE* has a voice here and that
their voice is of equal weight to everyone elses.

Voting is not a mechanism that brings consensus. As others have said it creates divides. There
are winners and losers. Furthermore, if the only person who sees the inherent flaw in the
proposal is someone without a binding vote how can they make a difference in a vote in which
their vote doesn't count and even if it did it would be one against many.

Better is to make it clear that anyone with a concern should raise it. Then ensure that concern
is discussed and addressed to the satisfaction of the whole community.

The way to make this happen is not to create rules about how decisions are made. It's to create
a culture of sharing and respect. A culture in which listening and doing is more valuable
than talking and defining. It's about accepting "good enough" is an excellent contribution
while incremental improvements that take us from "good enough" to "even better" are equally

You are absolutely correct to worry that this is more difficult in some cultures than in others.
You should continue to do so. Call for specific input from the community as a whole. Ensure
you leave space for people to contribute how *they* choose to do so. Basically actions within
the community speak much loader than words in a policy or process document.

With that in mind, does anyone here have a feeling for what the right balance is between process
and policy for this community?


-----Original Message-----
From: Myrle Krantz [] 
Sent: Friday, January 1, 2016 2:48 PM
Subject: Re: Jira Workflow

I'm actually most concerned about this aspect of making this an Apache project.

I can't find a fully politically correct way to say this, so to the extent that I'm replacing
individuals with stereotypes, I apologize.  I do know that people vary from their cultural
norms.  I don't know my fellow contributors very well. I'm asking this in full recognition
of my ignorance, hoping that people who know more will correct me.

Some of our contributors come from cultures with a low power distance and some come from cultures
with a high power distance (US: 40/100, Germany:
35/100, Netherlands: 38/100, India 77/100)+.

The Apache approach seems to assume that all participants view themselves as equal, or at
least have a realistic view of how their personal merit allows them to contribute to a discussion.
 But it is possible that those contributors who come from a high-power-distance culture, might
allow themselves to be cut out of a discussion by a gradient of power.  Indeed, I haven't
seen many objections coming from our Indian colleagues to what we've been suggesting. Even
though they are more likely to have a customer-contact informed opinion.

From my American perspective, I believe we need to find a way to encourage more active participation
in these cases.  At the same time based on my reading, I'm not sure that colleagues who come
from a high-power-distance culture even want a level playing field.  I'm pretty sure it is
not possible to impose a level-playing field if it's unwanted.

So the questions are:

* Is this even true? Are our Indian colleagues (or anyone else) withholding important reservations?
(My source could just be wrong.)
  * Is this really going to be a problem?
    * Is there a way to solve this? Or at least ameliorate it?

Happy New Year from Germany,
Myrle Krantz

+ Source "Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind" Geert 
+ Hofstede
and Gert Jan Hofstede pages 43-44

*Myrle Krantz*
Solutions Architect
RɅĐɅЯ, The Mifos Initiative | Skype:

On Fri, Jan 1, 2016 at 2:11 PM, Ross Gardler <>

> +1 - no leaders around here, just people doing the work. An ASF 
> +project is
> "led" by whoever is active, that means lots of leaders at any one time.
> Those "leaders" are always answerable to the community as a whole.
> This might often seem like it is "nit-picking", it's just a language 
> thing in most cases, especially when those doing the work have the 
> full (silent) support of the community as a whole. However, if there 
> is ever a time that the people doing the work appear to be heading in 
> the wrong direction the flat structure of an Apache project becomes 
> extremely important. For this reason language is very important.
> Ross
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Greg Stein []
> Sent: Friday, January 1, 2016 3:45 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Jira Workflow
> On Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 9:17 PM, Terence Monteiro < 
>> wrote:
> >...
> > the discretion of our
> > (El Capitan) Markus and the consent of our benevolent champion Ross 
> > and fellow Mentors, start the year in earnest. What say?
> >
> We are all peers. No Capitan, no Champion, no Mentors.
> Speaking for myself, I won't be a *participant* in the community, but 
> will pop in as a guide. Decisions are best made by all of you. I can 
> help with describing mechanisms and process (or how to avoid that!).
> Happy New Years!
> -g
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