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

Colleen Murphy colleen at gazlene.net
Thu Jan 17 16:46:47 UTC 2019

On Tue, Jan 15, 2019, at 12:01 PM, Chris Dent wrote:


> 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.

While I understand that the TC may feel frustrated that they do not always feel like they have sufficient insight and influence into the ongoings of individual projects, I actually believe that this is the better way to operate. If individual team leaders were also tasked with leading the entire community as well, there would be significant conflicts of interest. PTLs are responsible for doing what is in the best interest for their project, and the TC is responsible for doing what is in the best interest of the whole community, and in the places where those do not 100% line up there is discussion and compromise. It is hard and sometimes painful and it means progress is very slow, but it is healthy. If a single body was acting as dictator for the whole community, progress might speed up but we would be losing out on the diversity of opinion that makes this community great.

But as others have pointed out, in reality the TC is already largely made up of people who do have influence and insight into a large part of the individual projects and I'm not sure it really helps. TC members are always trying to be very careful about taking one hat off as they put another on and it creates quite a cognitive burden. I'm fairly sure Jeremy, to take one example, could have a heated debate by himself from at least eight different perspectives on any community topic. Everyone on the TC has sufficient influence to enact whatever change they decide is needed. What's lacking is agreement on what to act on...

> 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.
> 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 and (to bring this back to the TC role) empower the TC to
> execute on that list?

Indeed. There are very very many improvements that could be made. None of them are so critical that it's obvious what to start with. OpenStack has matured enough that the community and the software are working pretty well most of the time, there aren't really any emergencies.

> 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.

Returning to your original request for feedback, my expectation of the TC is much more passive than you imply it should be. I'm happy for the TC to do the work of approving new projects, acting as bridges to the board and foundation, mediating conflicts which can't otherwise be resolved and providing guidance as needed when the community needs it or asks for it. Grassroots change can start with any community member, whether or not they are elected to the TC. I don't think it needs to be the TC's job to drive grandiose changes for the sake of progress.


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