[openstack-dev] [swg][tc] An attempt to clarify/discuss: what exactly is the Stewardship Working Group, anyhow?

Colette Alexander colettealexander at gmail.com
Tue Nov 22 01:51:53 UTC 2016

Hi OpenStackers!

At the last Stewardship Working Group (SWG) meeting[0], we discussed a lot
of the feedback that we received in our cross project session and our panel
discussion in Barcelona from people who were wondering what, exactly, the
Stewardship Working Group is and what they do.

I thought it might be appropriate to bring that discussion to the mailing
list, so... here we are.

So, what do we do exactly?

A lot of that is, like other OpenStack projects, kind of up to whoever
shows up.

But, the current history/summary of what has happened with people who've
showed up so far:

The SWG was founded[1] after some members of the TC and some members of the
community attended a leadership training in Ann Arbor, in June of 2016. The
two day workshop covered a variety of topics, including a few key concepts
that I felt mirrored our own values in the community: servant leadership,
visioning, and how to implement change successfully. Out of those two days,
a third day devoted to talking about what we learned and how it might apply
to OpenStack led us to think about forming the SWG. Anne Gentle wrote a
great summary for the OpenStack blog, covering some of these.[2]

When I first thought about the SWG during that day of discussion, I saw it
as having two potential areas of work: 1) researching and discussing ideas
around stewardship and leadership and assessing issues that might arise in
the community in order to make recommendations to the TC around governance,
leadership, and anything related to culture (including, especially,
documenting that culture). And 2) providing/organizing resources for
*anyone* in the entire OpenStack community who is interested in adding to
their leadership skills, or who needs help understanding a less-technical
problem, more-people-problem that comes up. (And I mean "understand"
through any mechanism: resources/training provided, discussions had on the
#openstack-swg IRC channel, in meetings, or in personal discussion) In my
wildest dreams, we would also provide support and learning pathways about
OpenStack's culture and leadership values to anyone in the community.

The major value of the training that was echoed by all participants was
that it wasn't run-of-the-mill "corporate" leadership training - it focused
in on concepts and skills that were far more applicable in our open
governance/open participation environment. Anything that is provided to the
community by the SWG should pass the same smell test.

I feel rather strongly (and have even said so even while being filmed[3])
that OpenStack can often suffer from an avoidance in its culture - people
will tend to look away/walk away/close tabs in another direction when faced
with something that potentially involves having a difficult conversation
with someone or multiple people (especially if those people are in
unfamiliar groups/work at unfamiliar companies). How might we all feel more
comfortable asking each other difficult questions and having constructive
debate that ultimately will lead to a healthier more sustainable and
diverse community? I hope that the SWG can provide a kind of "safe space"
(even just for your brain to think about a thing) to spark some of that

What are the sorts of things you'd like to see tackled? Some thoughts were
thrown up in the etherpad during our cross project session in Barcelona[4]
that might start good discussion here.

Any thoughts/debate/ideas on where we should go and what we should do are
most welcome here or on the other standard channels. I'm currently in the
process of writing a draft vision for where we'd like the group to be and
what we'd like to accomplish before and during the PTG in Atlanta. I'd love
to get more people involved. On account of the US/Thanksgiving holiday, our
next meeting will be Dec. 8, 1400 UTC in #openstack-meeting-3 so please
join us in #openstack-swg in the meantime and say hello.



[1] https://governance.openstack.org/resolutions/20160705-stewardship.html
[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juGktZ3xabA&t=1430s
[4] https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/Barcelona-SWG-cp
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