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

Jay Pipes jaypipes at gmail.com
Mon Feb 22 16:33:43 UTC 2016

On 02/22/2016 10:14 AM, Thierry Carrez 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 ?

Overall, I really like this proposal. If anything, I would prefer to 
have a single main event per year instead of two. I continue to maintain 
that OpenStack is the only open source ecosystem I know of that has this 
big of a main conference event every six months.

As for naming... I actually think you accidentally hit on a perfect 
naming schema for the events:

OpenStack Conference <-- The main event.
OpenStack:How <-- The developer planning event.



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