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From Kimbro Staken <ksta...@dbxmlgroup.com>
Subject Re: Volunteers needed: Reboot of the XML 'PMC'.
Date Thu, 01 Mar 2001 21:06:41 GMT
I think you're on the right track with this. As I've been observing you
clearly have two different levels of problems to address. First the
management problems that were outlined in the orignal email from Dirk
and second the operational problems as raised by members of the various
projects. It seems you have a conflict between the roles of the PMC and
the type of people who are interested and capable of filling those
roles. Maybe this is why in the past the PMC has been ineffective.
Having the PMC tasked with both strategic management and tactical
operations is a lot to ask and those are roles typically fulfilled by
different types of people. I'm going to use a few naughty words here but
I think you need to treat the organization as a business. It isn't a
traditional business as your goal is not to make money but it is a
business just the same as any non-profit is a business. To this end you
need to insure that your management role is doing many of the things
that managers in traditional businesses are doing. This includes setting
direction, resolving disputes and yes even marketing(brrr. I can feel
the chill) :-). Ultimately you need to decide why does the PMC exist at
all. Does it exist to guide the Apache XML organization on a path of
growth and prosperity or does it exist to solve cross project technical
problems? Having it attempt to directly tackle both will make it
ineffective.

In the case of "Temporary Working Groups" the role of the PMC might be
to guide their formation, provide oversight and insure momentum is
maintained during the effort and then disolve the effort when the
working group has determined the problem is solved.

Right now you're placing people who are primarilly developers into a
role of stategic management. This will work for small organizations but
as you grow it will become more of a problem. It seems the ASF overall
has succeeded in making this transition, now might be the time for the
XML group to do the same.

To achieve this I suggest that you keep your PMC small, 3-4 people vs.
the 3-9 originally called for. Task the PMC with high level strategic
and administrative tasks and the authority to delegate operational
issues to temp groups. By delegating operational issues you remove the
need to have members from all sub projects on the PMC. You need to think
about the situation as you add additional projects. If all current
projects have representation all future projects will also expect
representation with the likely end result that your PMC will be so large
that it will once again be inneffective. Most of your business is done
out in the open anyway so this shouldn't really be a problem as everyone
will see what is going on and will still have input. You should also
accept that your PMC is serving two masters. First the development
community within the Apache XML project and second the target market at
which you are aiming the technology under development. Most of the
discussion I've seen so far has focused on the first master and ignores
the second. I think you need to keep both in mind to continue growth of
the organization.

This is just my 2 pennies. Keep in mind, I'm looking at the Apache XML
project as a consumer of the technology that you are developing not as a
person developing that technology. From that perspective I'm seeing
struggling on strategic direction and management, which is why I
volunteered to help out. Because of my work on dbXML my programming
mental bandwidth is used up so I can't contribute on a code level but I
think I can contribute on other levels. Especially if you guys really
want to add an XML database. If I can help I'd love to do so but if you
consider me unqualified because of lack of code contributions it's all
good to me too. :-) BTW, just so you know I really do work on projects
you can take a look at the list archives for dbXML
http://www.geocrawler.com/archives/3/4793/2001/ and XML:DB
http://archive.xmldb.org/xmldb/threads.html.

James Melton wrote:
> 
> It seems from reading the existing bylaws that there is nothing to
> prevent the PMC from doing as you suggested. Rather than actually
> changing the bylaws, perhaps another category under "Roles and
> Responsibilities" (http://xml.apache.org/roles.html) could include
> "Temporary Working Groups":
> 
> "Temporary Working Groups are created by the PMC to resolve issues that
> require more attention than the PMC can provide directly. Typically
> these are issues that affect multiple subprojects. Members are drawn
> from the Open Source community and are appointed by the PMC. The Working
> Group acts in place of the PMC to resolve an issue, and upon resolution
> the group dissolves."
> 
> Jim.
> 
> Fotis Jannidis wrote:
> >
> > From:                   Dirk-Willem van Gulik <dirkx@covalent.net>
> >
> > > Care to write it down in such a way as it would appear ? I.e. see
> > > the web site for what is there now (xml.apache.org/misson.html
> > > et.al.) and see what you would come up with - possibly with > '
> > > footnotes' where needed to explain what is really meant.
> >
> > What I had in mind would be an addition on the page
> > http://xml.apache.org/management.html section "Roles".
> >
> > >>>
> > The PMC is responsible for the strategic direction and success of
> > the xml.apache.org Project. This governing body is expected
> > to ensure the project's welfare and guide its overall direction. The
> > PMC may not necessarily participate in the day-to-day coding but
> > is involved in the overall development plans, the alleviation of any
> > bottlenecks, the resolution of conflicts, and the overall technical
> > success of the project.
> > <<<
> >
> > NEW:
> > In order to handle problems concerning more than one sub project
> > the PMC can create working groups with volunteers from all
> > Apache projects. [Footnote / Addition:  These working
> > groups are task oriented and dissolved as soon as the
> > problem is solved or some agreement has been found.]
> >
> > Fotis
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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> 
> --
> 
> ____________________________________________________________
> James Melton                 CyLogix
> 609.750.5190                 609.750.5100
> james.melton@cylogix.com     www.cylogix.com
> 
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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-- 
Kimbro Staken
Chief Technology Officer
dbXML Group L.L.C
http://www.dbxmlgroup.com

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