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Just for a historic perspective. When we did this discussion the last time, we identified that there are fundamentally two divergent goals that we have to balance:
Projects Goal #1) Bring multiple, potentially competing parties together in a neutral space so they can collaborate and innovate in open source without worrying about ownership. This goal means that the bar for Sandbox should be as low as possible to facilitate
as much collaboration and innovation as possible.
Projects Goal #2) Get the CNCF 'label' for their project from a marketing perspective to spur interest, growth and (potentially) venture capital. This goal means that the bar for Sandbox should be rigorous so that we don't dilute CNCF brand/resources for random
No matter how many lowest levels you add (4 instead of 3, 5 instead of 4, etc) none of this will go away. At the lowest level you always have to balance these two different, divergent goals.
Where we landed was that to try to make the Sandbox bar pretty low, but also try to make (and enforce) the usage of the CNCF logo/imprimatur for Sandbox projects.
At the time, we suggested crafting a separate 'sandbox' logo that looked like it was drawn with crayons (and perhaps even had toddlers in a sandbox) so that people really understood that there was no CNCF endorsement implied by being in Sandbox.
Afaik, this never happened, but I think the important lesson is that adding additional levels will not solve the problem, it just moves it.
And also, the problem is fundamentally unsolveable. All you can hope for is achieving some sort of balance (and adjusting from time to time based on experience to retain this balance)
From: cncf-toc@... <cncf-toc@...> on behalf of alexis richardson via lists.cncf.io <alexis=weave.works@...>
Sent: Thursday, May 5, 2022 9:26 AM
To: Liz Rice <liz@...>
Cc: Alexis Richardson via cncf-toc <cncf-toc@...>; Bob Killen <killen.bob@...>; Richard Hartmann <richih@...>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [cncf-toc] Sandbox process needs to evolve to support cross industry collaboation
Remember, the point of cncf is not to create ways for committees to sit in judgment over projects. It is to make great projects that enable end user success. That is all.
On Thu, 5 May 2022, 17:19 Liz Rice, <liz@...
Four levels would increase the total work required to assess a project through their life cycle. There might be good reasons to do it, but I don't see that it would solve the initial problem raised on this thread: speeding up the response to
the first application at the earliest stage.
The original point of Sandbox was to enable a neutral place for experimentation, for projects that wouldn't meet incubation criteria. A project only needs neutrality if and when there's more than one organisation keen to get involved; that's why I'm suggesting
that could be the criteria for Sandbox inclusion. I'm further suggesting those organizations should be CNCF members so that they have "skin in the game"
(Of course the TOC might decide there are other reasons to support early stage projects that don't need neutrality - I'm just reminding the original intent.)
On Thu, May 5, 2022 at 4:02 PM alexis richardson <alexis@...> wrote:
Stringent implies work, judgement, and value. It seems that scaling wall has been hit already..
I agree on quite a few points :) Replying in line with some thoughts
> We tried SIGs (now TAGs) doing due diligence for projects. The level
> of scrutiny, and the closeness to the guidance material available, was
> different across TAGs. In effect, this meant inconsistent processes
> which is arguably unfair. And in cases of disagreements, TOC is pulled
> in automatically anyway.
The TOC is the approval body and should be involved in DD, but I do think delegating portions of it to the TAGs is still a good idea and could play a large role in scaling the process. If there have been issues with varying levels of scrutiny in the past,
this could be a mentorship and/or documentation opportunity. Think "ride-alongs" for reviewing DD, calling out what to look for, etc. I also don't necessarily want to volunteer them, but TAG Contributor Strategy would be an excellent resource to pull in to
review areas of governance and community health.
> What TAGs could provide is an initial proving ground, though: Projects
> could give a presentation and go through questions and feedback in a
> more limited scope, allowing them to polish their submittal.
+1 to involving them early, an initial consult would likely help with firming up applications before applying to Sandbox.
> While I know that the current sandbox process is designed to be very
> low barrier, I am still not convinced that this is an obviously
> desirable design goal. It is true that a neutral playing field is good
> and helps some projects grow. It is also true that "CNCF project"
> holds immense marketing value and many efforts are ephemeral, in
> particular if largely driven by perf & marketing.
> Back when sandbox criteria were relaxed, I was of the opinion that
> they should remain more stringent.
I have held the same opinion - I thought they should, to a degree, remain more stringent. While Sandbox does not have any formal marketing support from the CNCF, that doesn't mean companies or other groups can't market them as a "CNCF Project." Smaller
or independent projects that might not have those sorts of resources will have a harder time climbing the ladder.
> I have come to wonder if four
> levels wouldn't be more appropriate: An initial runway on which
> projects can be put; but also pruned more aggressively if they do not
> show growth/adoption/the usual. E.g. once submitted they have three?
> six? twelve? months to show certain progress or are removed outright.
I was literally talking with a co-worker about this thought yesterday as a potential idea :)
I don't know if it's the answer, but I do really like the idea of a timebox with explicit criteria for exiting. It should not require a deep dive into the project to determine if they are ready to move up to sandbox. I'd also like to see restrictions on
the branding/marketing of "CNCF Project" at this level. A potential alternative might be "Cloud Native Inception Project" or something along those lines.
> Another would be to rework the process & documentation; e.g.
> Incubation had distinct requirement docs which TAGs copied together
> and deduplicated back during the DD trials.
+1 to firming up requirements/docs. While I think there needs to be some room for TOC discretion, I think being more explicit with requirements will help reduce the toil involved with the DD process.
I have a slew more thoughts, but this subject might be a good discussion during a TOC meeting :)
On Thu, May 5, 2022 at 7:38 AM Richard Hartmann <richih@...
Replying top-level as my thoughts jump across the thread.
I didn't run the numbers, yet I believe that the pace of submissions
has picked up. That alone can increase backlog.
We tried SIGs (now TAGs) doing due diligence for projects. The level
of scrutiny, and the closeness to the guidance material available, was
different across TAGs. In effect, this meant inconsistent processes
which is arguably unfair. And in cases of disagreements, TOC is pulled
in automatically anyway.
A clear delegation from TOC might be possible, yet project advancement
is one of the main tasks of TOC and arguably what votees expect TOC to
do. In any case, it does change any of the underlying desires.
What TAGs could provide is an initial proving ground, though: Projects
could give a presentation and go through questions and feedback in a
more limited scope, allowing them to polish their submittal.
While I know that the current sandbox process is designed to be very
low barrier, I am still not convinced that this is an obviously
desirable design goal. It is true that a neutral playing field is good
and helps some projects grow. It is also true that "CNCF project"
holds immense marketing value and many efforts are ephemeral, in
particular if largely driven by perf & marketing.
Back when sandbox criteria were relaxed, I was of the opinion that
they should remain more stringent. I have come to wonder if four
levels wouldn't be more appropriate: An initial runway on which
projects can be put; but also pruned more aggressively if they do not
show growth/adoption/the usual. E.g. once submitted they have three?
six? twelve? months to show certain progress or are removed outright.
Medium term, this might also allow for a smaller jump towards
Incubating, which is currently significant.
Orthogonally, I believe we can manage expectations better. One
possible approach would be to create dashboards and reports of the
underlying data to help manage expectations and keep ourselves honest.
What are the average and median times a project takes from stage X to
stage Y? How has this changed over time?
Another would be to rework the process & documentation; e.g.
Incubation had distinct requirement docs which TAGs copied together
and deduplicated back during the DD trials.
Having seen things from both sides now, and since CNCF started, I can
understand both the frustrations about some timelines better and also
understand how a few dedicated people are trying to do their best with
the time they have. On all sides.