Re: Istio Steering Committee

Matt Farina

If a steering committee is recommended then the reasons for it need to be well documented and articulated. There are a lot of assumptions and they are not shared. That is ripe for miscommunications.

Governance is often a reflection of the people involved, the culture they have, and needs they run into. If I were looking at different projects at different points in their lifecycles with different target audiences, I would likely recommend different governance structures that suit them. The goal is to make them and their users successful.

A recommendation for one particular form of governance then gets quite prescriptive. If someone doesn't follow it because it doesn't suit their culture and needs, how will people look at them?

I would hope that the people who make any recommendations around forms of governance have a lot of experience working with them and within them. That gives the people standing among developers to even suggest the items. Those who don't have heavy experience with community governance handing forms of governance to those on projects will likely not be met well by developers.

I would suggest starting with cultural elements that we would like to see present in any form of governance. If these are part of a steering committee than we would need to articulate them in detail so we can teach people about them. Those cultural elements can likely be suggested to many forms of governance.

I'm also reminded that something like 99% of those who use a project never contribute or say anything. If a vocal element in the 1% gets to push their direction than it may have an impact on the 99% that we often don't think about. I've been taught to give everyone a chance to voice their opinions and not let a small loud subset dictate things. Letting vocal end users have an out-sized voice could easily do that. That's why I think it's healthy for project leaders to go out to users and talk with them. This way you can learn from many users... many of which are not vocal in the day to day.

- Matt Farina

On Tue, Sep 1, 2020, at 5:12 PM, alexis richardson wrote:
Correct, I think that model is overly prescriptive to recommend for every project. 

I'm proposing a pattern that can be instantiated in more than one way, depending on what the project team think it needs.  Your model below could be one way.

On Tue, 1 Sep 2020, 21:58 Matt Wilson, <msw@...> wrote:
On Tue, Sep  1, 2020 at 01:33 PM, alexis richardson wrote:
> Well, the nomenclature isn't completely new.  But I think the practices
> include novel parts eg end users having a say in overall direction.

End users having a say in overall direction isn't novel. To me, the
communities and ecosystems that are the most resilient and sustainable
mindfully include everyone in the evolution of the software, and of
the working structure of the community / ecosystem around it.

Perhaps you are suggesting is that end-users having a *binding vote*
in a fixed-Seat governing body, where formal voting happens most often
by convening the holders of those seats at an appointed time, at
which having 60% of the Seats shall constitute a quorum?

I don't think that's the kind of Steering Committee you are
proposing. But that kind of Steering Committee exists in the world,
with spotlights shining on it.


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