[openstack-dev] [all] Proposal: Architecture Working Group

Clint Byrum clint at fewbar.com
Wed Jun 22 18:24:46 UTC 2016

Excerpts from Amrith Kumar's message of 2016-06-22 13:15:03 +0000:
> Clint,
> In your original email, you proposed "So, with that, I'd like to propose the creation of an Architecture Working Group. This group's charge would not be design by committee, but a place for architects to share their designs and gain support across projects to move forward with and ratify architectural decisions."
> I like parts of this, and parts of this trouble me. But, I volunteered to be part of this activity because I have a real problem that this group could help me solve and I bet there are others who have this problem as well.
> As you say, there are often problems, questions, and challenges of an architectural nature, that have a scope larger than a single project. I would like there to be a forum whose primary focus is to provide an avenue where these can be discussed. I would like it to be a place less noisy than "take it to the ML" and be a place where one could pose these questions and potentially discuss solutions that other projects have adopted.
> The part I'm uncomfortable is the implied decision making authority of "ratifying architectural decisions". To ratify implies the ability to make official, the ability to "approve and sanction formally" and I ask whence came this power and authority?
> Who currently has this power and authority, and is that individual or group delegating it to this working group?

When I say ratify there, what I mean is that this group would have regular
members who work on the group. To ratify something, a majority of them
would at least agree that this was something worth the group's time, and
that the group should publish their architecture decisions publicly. The
membership, I think, should be voluntary, and the only requirement be
that members regularly participate in discussions and voting.

Formality is a useful tool here, which is the reason I chose the word
'ratify'. It asks that those who want to propose new ideas do so in an
efficient manner that doesn't make noise on the mailing list and force
everyone to come up with an opinion on the spot or forever lose the
idea. We get a log of proposals, objections, and reasoning, to go along
with our log of successes and failures in taking the proposals to reality.

But the only power this group wields is over itself. Of course,
collaboration with the project teams is _critical_ for the success
of these proposals. And if we succeed in improving some projects, but
others resist, then it's up to those projects that have been improved
to support us pushing forward or not.

This isn't all that different than the way Oslo specs and OpenStack
specs work now. It's just that we'll have a group that organizes the
efforts and keeps pressure on them.

> While this ML thread is very interesting, it is also beginning to fragment and I would like to propose a spec in Gerrit with a draft charter for this working group and a review there.

You're spot on Amrith. I've been noodling on a mission statement and
was going to bring it up at next week's TC meeting, but we don't have to
wait for that. Let's draft a charter now. Any suggestions on where that
should be submitted? openstack-specs I suppose? Governance?

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