[openstack-dev] [all] A proposal to separate the design summit

Morgan Fainberg morgan.fainberg at gmail.com
Mon Feb 22 16:13:32 UTC 2016

+1 hits all the points. Solid proposal.
On Feb 22, 2016 7:14 AM, "Thierry Carrez" <thierry at openstack.org> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> TL;DR: Let's split the events, starting after Barcelona.
> Long long version:
> In a global and virtual community, high-bandwidth face-to-face time is
> essential. This is why we made the OpenStack Design Summits an integral
> part of our processes from day 0. Those were set at the beginning of each
> of our development cycles to help set goals and organize the work for the
> upcoming 6 months. At the same time and in the same location, a more
> traditional conference was happening, ensuring a lot of interaction between
> the upstream (producers) and downstream (consumers) parts of our community.
> This setup, however, has a number of issues. For developers first: the
> "conference" part of the common event got bigger and bigger and it is
> difficult to focus on upstream work (and socially bond with your teammates)
> with so much other commitments and distractions. The result is that our
> design summits are a lot less productive than they used to be, and we
> organize other events ("midcycles") to fill our focus and small-group
> socialization needs. The timing of the event (a couple of weeks after the
> previous cycle release) is also suboptimal: it is way too late to gather
> any sort of requirements and priorities for the already-started new cycle,
> and also too late to do any sort of work planning (the cycle work started
> almost 2 months ago).
> But it's not just suboptimal for developers. For contributing companies,
> flying all their developers to expensive cities and conference hotels so
> that they can attend the Design Summit is pretty costly, and the goals of
> the summit location (reaching out to users everywhere) do not necessarily
> align with the goals of the Design Summit location (minimize and balance
> travel costs for existing contributors). For the companies that build
> products and distributions on top of the recent release, the timing of the
> common event is not so great either: it is difficult to show off products
> based on the recent release only two weeks after it's out. The summit date
> is also too early to leverage all the users attending the summit to gather
> feedback on the recent release -- not a lot of people would have tried
> upgrades by summit time. Finally a common event is also suboptimal for the
> events organization : finding venues that can accommodate both events is
> becoming increasingly complicated.
> Time is ripe for a change. After Tokyo, we at the Foundation have been
> considering options on how to evolve our events to solve those issues. This
> proposal is the result of this work. There is no perfect solution here (and
> this is still work in progress), but we are confident that this strawman
> solution solves a lot more problems than it creates, and balances the needs
> of the various constituents of our community.
> The idea would be to split the events. The first event would be for
> upstream technical contributors to OpenStack. It would be held in a
> simpler, scaled-back setting that would let all OpenStack project teams
> meet in separate rooms, but in a co-located event that would make it easy
> to have ad-hoc cross-project discussions. It would happen closer to the
> centers of mass of contributors, in less-expensive locations.
> More importantly, it would be set to happen a couple of weeks /before/ the
> previous cycle release. There is a lot of overlap between cycles. Work on a
> cycle starts at the previous cycle feature freeze, while there is still 5
> weeks to go. Most people switch full-time to the next cycle by RC1.
> Organizing the event just after that time lets us organize the work and
> kickstart the new cycle at the best moment. It also allows us to use our
> time together to quickly address last-minute release-critical issues if
> such issues arise.
> The second event would be the main downstream business conference, with
> high-end keynotes, marketplace and breakout sessions. It would be organized
> two or three months /after/ the release, to give time for all downstream
> users to deploy and build products on top of the release. It would be the
> best time to gather feedback on the recent release, and also the best time
> to have strategic discussions: start gathering requirements for the next
> cycle, leveraging the very large cross-section of all our community that
> attends the event.
> To that effect, we'd still hold a number of strategic planning sessions at
> the main event to gather feedback, determine requirements and define
> overall cross-project themes, but the session format would not require all
> project contributors to attend. A subset of contributors who would like to
> participate in this sessions can collect and relay feedback to other team
> members for implementation (similar to the Ops midcycle). Other
> contributors will also want to get more involved in the conference, whether
> that's giving presentations or hearing user stories.
> The split should ideally reduce the needs to organize separate in-person
> mid-cycle events. If some are still needed, the main conference venue and
> time could easily be used to provide space for such midcycle events (given
> that it would end up happening in the middle of the cycle).
> In practice, the split means that we need to stagger the events and
> cycles. We have a long time between Barcelona and the Q1 Summit in the US,
> so the idea would be to use that long period to insert a smaller cycle
> (Ocata) with a release early March, 2017 and have the first specific
> contributors event at the start of the P cycle, mid-February, 2017. See the
> attached PDF for a visual explanation. With the already-planned events in
> 2016 and 2017 it is the earliest we can make the transition. We'd have a
> last, scaled-down design summit in Barcelona to plan the shorter cycle.
> With that setup, we hope that we can restore the productivity and focus of
> the face-to-face contributors gathering, reduce the need to have midcycle
> events for social bonding and team building, keep the cost of getting all
> contributors together once per cycle under control, maintain the feedback
> loops with all the constituents of the OpenStack community at the main
> event, and better align the timing of each event with the reality of the
> release cycles.
> NB: You will note that I did not name the separated event "Design Summit"
> -- that is because Design will now be split into feedback/requirements
> gathering (the "why" at the main event) and execution planning and
> kickstarting (the "how" at the contributors-oriented event), so that name
> doesn't feel right anymore. We can bikeshed on the name for the new event
> later :)
> Comments, thoughts ?
> --
> Thierry Carrez (ttx)
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