[tc] [all] Please help verify the role of the TC

Zane Bitter zbitter at redhat.com
Thu Jan 17 07:41:49 UTC 2019

On 16/01/19 12:01 AM, Chris Dent wrote:
> On Mon, 14 Jan 2019, Fox, Kevin M wrote:
>> Been chewing on this thread for a while.... I think I should advocate 
>> the other direction.
> I'm not sure where to rejoin this thread, so picking here as it
> provides a reasonable entry point. First: thanks to everyone who has
> joined in, I honestly do feel that as annoying as these discussions
> can be, they often reveal something useful.
> Second, things went a bit sideways from the point I was trying to
> reach. I wasn't trying to say that PTLs are the obvious and
> experienced choice for TC leadership, nor that they were best placed
> to represent the community. I hope that my own behavior over the
> past few years has made it clear that I very definitely do not feel
> that way.
> However, as most respondents on this thread have pointed out, both
> TC members and PTLs are described as being over-tasked. What I'm
> trying to tease out or ask is: Are they over-tasked because they are
> working on too many things (or at least trying to sort through the
> too many things); a situation that results from _no unified
> technical leadership for the community_.
> My initial assertion was that the TC is insufficiently involved in
> defining and performing technical leadership.
> Then I implied that the TC cannot do anything like actionable and
> unified technical leadership because they have little to no real
> executive power and what power they do have (for example, trying to
> make openstack-wide goals) is in conflict (because of the limits of
> time and space) with the goals that PTLs (and others) are trying to
> enact.

Thanks for clarifying this, it's a really interesting question to consider.

> Thus: What if the TC and PTLs were the same thing? Would it become
> more obvious that there's too much in play to make progress in a
> unified direction (on the thing called OpenStack), leading us to
> choose less to do, and choose more consistency and actionable
> leadership? And would it enable some power to execute on that
> leadership.

I'm not sure we need to speculate, because as you know the TC and PTLs 
literally were the same thing prior to 2014-ish. My recollection is that 
there were pluses and minuses, but on the whole I don't think it had the 
effect you're suggesting it might.

On the plus side there was in a sense more diversity of opinion, because 
every project had an ex officio representative on the TC. Direct 
election tends to favour the most visible members of the community and, 
because the most visible folks often have similar roles, for a while 
that led to a big chunk of the TC all looking at OpenStack from only a 
couple of different directions.

That diversity was limited to existing projects though. That led to the 
TC effectively becoming a bottleneck for folks that were working on 
things it didn't need to stand in the way of, as already-overworked 
folks whose attention was by definition consumed with managing the 
details of their individual silos lacked the time to do deep 
investigation into the edges of the big picture. The project structure 
reform came about in large part to resolve this, which removed the 
bottleneck but didn't make it any easier for PTLs to focus on the big 

I don't recall a time when the TC used the opportunity of having the 
PTLs as its members to manage cross-project goals, though I'd be 
interested in hearing examples if somebody has a different recollection.

It doesn't seem that any of the various permutations of the 
PTLs-as-TC-members proposal in this thread are workable, for reasons 
that others have already covered plus a few more: all cause a perverse 
incentive to create new official projects; many rely on coercing people 
who are already capable of winning seats on their own merit to work as 
TC members when they have chosen not to for whatever reason.

> Those are questions, not assertions.
>> Getting some diversity of ideas from outside of those from PTL's
>> is probably a good idea for the overall health of OpenStack. What
>> about Users that have never been PTL's? Not developers?
> So, to summarize: While I agree we need a diversity of ideas, I
> don't think we lack for ideas, nor have we ever. What we lack
> is a small enough set of ideas to act on them with significant
> enough progress to make a real difference. How can we make the list
> small

I think I have more to say about this another day, but here is a crazy 
thought: what if the list is too big because the ideas are too small? 
What if we can't agree because the stakes are so low?

> and (to bring this back to the TC role) empower the TC to
> execute on that list?
> And, to be complete, should we?
> And, to be extra really complete, I'm not sure if we should or not,
> which is why I'm asking.

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