[all][tc] Moving PTL role to "Maintainers"

Thierry Carrez thierry at openstack.org
Tue Mar 10 10:12:13 UTC 2020

Mohammed Naser wrote:
> [...]
> I think it's time to re-evaluate the project leadership model that we
> have.  I am thinking that perhaps it would make a lot of sense to move
> from a single PTL model to multiple maintainers.  This would leave it
> up to the maintainers to decide how they want to sort the different
> requirements/liaisons/contact persons between them.
> The above is just a very basic idea, I don't intend to diving much
> more in depth for now as I'd like to hear about what the rest of the
> community thinks.

I agree that in the current age we need to take steps to avoid 
overwhelming roles and long commitments. As others said, we also need to 
preserve some accountability, but I don't think those goals are 

The original design goal of the "PTL" system was to have a clear "bucket 
stops here" for technical decisions at project-team level, as well as a 
safety valve for contributors at large (through elections) to reset the 
core reviewers team if it's gone wild. The "bucket stops here" power was 
very rarely exercised (probably due to its mere existence). I'd agree 
that today this is less needed, and we could have equal-power 
maintainers/corereviewers. We still have the TC above project teams as a 
safety valve, and we could agree that petitions from enough contributors 
can trigger a reset of the core reviewers structure.

The real benefit of the "PTL" system today is to facilitate the work of 
people outside the project team. When you try to put out a coordinated 
release (or organize a PTG), having a clear person that can "speak for 
the team", without having to get into specifics for each of our 60+ 
teams, is invaluable. That said, there is really no reason why that 
clear person should be always the same person, for 6 months.

We've always said that those subroles (release liaison, meeting chair, 
event liaison...) should be decomposed and delegated to multiple people. 
That the PTL should only be involved if the role was not delegated. Yet 
in most teams the PTL has trouble delegating and still fills all those 
roles. We need to change the perception.

So one solution might be:

- Define multiple roles (release liaison, event liaison, meeting 
chair...) and allow them to be filled by the team as they want, for the 
duration they want, replaced when they want (would just need +1 from 
previous and new holder of the role)

- Use the TC as a governance safety valve to resolve any conflict 
(instead of PTL elections)

Thierry Carrez (ttx)

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