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From Stephen McConnell <>
Subject Re: PPMCs and oversight
Date Tue, 30 Dec 2003 14:57:43 GMT

Leo Simons wrote:

> Stephen McConnell wrote:
>> Leo Simons wrote:
>>> Berin Lautenbach wrote:
>>>> Leo Simons wrote:
>>>>>>> Absolutely!  A good test of maturity.  If the mentor is doing

>>>>>>> absolutely nothing and things are going well, then there is no

>>>>>>> need for a mentor and quite possibly no need for the project
>>>>>>> be in incubation anymore.
>>>>>> Exactly! 
>>>>> So you are saying there should be a single liason for a project, and
>>>>> at the same time an important goal for the project would be to stop
>>>>> talking to/through this liason?
>>>> When did liason come into this?
>>> Steve introduced it a few messages back. 
>> Umm - I talked about a "point-man"! 
> <quote>
> Look at things from the other way round.  For all practical purposes 
> you are the defacto point-man with respect to the Directory project.  
> From the point-of-view of people on the directory project you are the 
> man they can turn to privaetly, ask questions, seek advice, and within 
> which you can provide info based on experince, conections, contacts, 
> etc. Your also someone that members of the PMC can turn to and say 
> "hey Noel - how are things going on over on the directory project?".  
> That's possible because your defacto accountable.  What the role means 
> is that members of the incubating project can count on you to do you 
> stuff, just as members of the PMC can count on you to do your stuff - 
> but lets imagine that conflicts in availble time arise and for some 
> reason your out of commission for three months - well, heck - I can 
> jump in do your that stuff - the point is that there is a liason, a 
> go-between, a recognized "Apache" contact point for all parties - 
> someone identified as the point-man.  Someone from Apache ready to say 
> "yes" - I'm available and committed on both sides of the equation.
> </quote>
> you called that point-man a liason. But let us not split hairs.
>>>> I am confused as to what on earth oversite and assistance has to do 
>>>> with liason?
>>> Steve indicated that Noel was filling all three those roles. 
>> Slow down Leo!
>> You putting words into my mouth that were not there to start with. 
> sorry for that; not my intention. I took the quote above to mean
> that there's a person who handles oversight, assistance and
> communication, and that Noel was filling that role for Directory. 

My response was related to the on-going debate about invididuals versus 
group reponsibilities.  What I described is role of an individual lined 
to both an incubating project and to Apache at large.  I descibed the 
benefit that such a "real-person" can bring to a new group of people 
comming into Apache.  I noted a certain level of responsibility that 
exists in this scenario - reposibility towards the new project and 
reposibilities towards the PMC.  As others have pointed out - this isn't 
saying this role is responsible for doing this or that - instead - its 
someone to ask questions "what is the infrastructure@apache list" - "do 
I need to worry about X or Y" - "where can I go to do this or that" - 
someone that going the extra step beyond just subscribing to a list.  
For new project members that person is undertaking to work with the new 
team, to assist when needed.  On the other side the equation member of 
the Incubator PMC can place some level of confidence that every new new 
project has "people" connected with both Apache, the Incubator PMC, and 
the project.  Yes - as people invoked in an incubated project learn 
about what is Apache then the roles of guidance, assistance, help, etc. 
drop away.  In the just the same way people within the Incubator PMC 
will observe that the members of the project are acting as a community, 
making their own decisions, setting their own agenda, getting ready to 

Now what this is all about is the notion of "responsibility".  Nicola is 
arguing the the PMC is responsible - I argure that groups cannot be 
reponsible because groups don't do that - groups enable emergent 
characteristics - things like concensus, decisions, policy, gueidlines, 
and in the case of Incubator - transient infrastructure.  On the other 
hand, individuals can say "I'll take that extra step" and in doing so 
make a commitment to both the PMC and a new team to facilitiate a 
process.  Now, I know Nicolas going to jump on this as say all of that 
stuff about "one person cannot do it alone" - and I think Nicolas is 
missing the point - sure than can be lots of people doing lots of things 
- instead - it is about one person accepting a level of responsibility - 
saying - "yes, I'm going to the extra step on this project" and that 
means "I'm taking a risk and it also means that I'm partially 
accountable for the result (sucessful or otherwise)".

Cheers, Stephen.

> Not meaning to offend anyone. But perhaps you can help
> clear up my misunderstanding?
> - LSD
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Stephen J. McConnell

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