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

Renat Akhmerov renat.akhmerov at gmail.com
Fri Mar 13 05:32:29 UTC 2020

On 5 Mar 2020, 02:57 +0700, Jay Bryant <jungleboyj at gmail.com>, wrote:

> Zane's input sums up how I feel as well.  I think that having consistent
> leadership structure across projects is important and helps keep us
> aware of the health of projects.
> Perhaps we can help return interest in the PTL role by providing
> examples of teams that share the work and have the PTL to help make
> final decisions.  I know that the Cinder team has been doing this for
> quite some time successfully.

I really fail to understand the issue of an overwhelming PTLship. From my
personal 5+ experience of being a PTL, I can say I’ve never tried to do all
stuff like releases, fixing CI, back porting etc. etc. myself. Especially given
that I really like solving technical problems, I always try to offload some of
these duties to others and make sure I have time for development. And
IMO it’s totally fine. As a PTL I try to make sure that everyone in the team
(at least most active members) has this balance between problem solving
and necessary procedures. I absolutely agree though that as the PTL I have
to know what’s going on with the project and after all TC or someone else
can ask me about its current state and progress.
Of course, I realise that my project is somewhat not really typical for
OpenStack: it is relatively small and has not so many connections with other
projects. But I believe this principle is universal enough.
As far as the PTL role, I think for PTLs it’s important to focus on the big
picture, ideas and directions and keep reminding everyone about that.
All team members, even active ones, often can’t afford thinking about this
too much. This contradicts with lots of what I heard before from my former
managers and colleagues, and also some PTLs I know. They claimed:
“PTLs just need to maintain Launchpad (or Storyboard), keep an eye
on the release process and that’s basically it. Plus reviewing a little bit.”
I’ve always shrugged when hearing this.. If so, let’s remove “L” from “PTL”
and replace it with “A”, so that it’s “PTA” - Project Technical Administrator.
Something that can legally exist, no issue. And it’s more honest.
What I’m going to is, from my perspective, it probably doesn’t make any
difference if a project leader is an official role or not. I guess there will
always be someone who naturally gains trust of others and influences
the direction of a project. As far as “having a final word on a deadlocked
issue” I thought this is something really important but, in fact, it’s a
very rare thing and may not be needed at all. Usually, we have to make
a decision anyway, since “not making a decision is more expensive than
making even bad decision”.

So I believe some leadership is always needed. The most high quality
techs I’ve ever seen have been all made with a very strong leadership,
I don’t believe it works the other way. Whether it’s official or not, I think
is not important at all. But “administrative duties” that often assign to
PTLs can be easily split between people.


Renat Akhmerov
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