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From Matt Franklin <>
Subject Re: Thoughts about formalizing the role of shepherd
Date Mon, 14 Jan 2013 18:37:41 GMT
On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 1:18 PM, Benson Margulies <> wrote:
> To begin with, I realize that I am tampering with the structure of the IPMC.
> In some ways, the IPMC is just another project. It has members, they
> are responsible for supervision of source control and releases. In
> other ways, it's very different from the other projects. It's
> responsible for bootstrapping projects. So you might look at my
> structural proposal as explicitly building extra structure to confront
> those challenges.
> The problem I'm looking at is indeed the chronic lack of reliable
> mentor presence in the projects, as witnessed (maybe) by the signoff
> statistics in January.
> If the IPMC was working 'as designed', the mentors -- the members of
> this PMC -- would be supervising, and reviewing and signing off
> reports, and we wouldn't need shepherds. That's my logic.

I disagree that the need for a Shepherd would be obviated by better
mentor engagement.  I think the value of the Shepherds is their
external perspective.  Mentors are by necessity and nature close to
the project.

> Starting from there, over a long period of time, we've seen a number of ideas.
> There's the shepherds as we have them. And perhaps we should just
> stick to this. It helps detect and compensate for mentor weakness, and
> it avoids building a radically different structure.

IMO, this has borne only fruit and should be continued.  A radically
different structure will take time to implement & then adjust to.

> There's 'tear down the incubator' -- decide that the chronic leakage
> of mentors means that the whole system we have is not working. I
> can't, personally, state an alternative.
> Thank you for reminding me of the idea of a champion.
> If folks would rather focus on seeing if we can make something of
> that, fine with me.
> On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 9:36 AM, Ross Gardler
> <> wrote:
>> Why would adding another formal role solve the problem that saw the
>> creation of shepherds (missing mentors)?
>> Are you tackling a different problem now?
>> Unless there is a really solid reason for it I would be concerned about
>> crating structure in the incubator that isn't present in the ASF proper.
>> Should this new role be a better use of the existing champion role,
>> complete with the handing over of that title to a PPMC member before
>> graduation and a progression to PMC chair upon graduation? We discussed
>> this some time ago and agreed it was a good idea but we never really
>> carried it through.
>> Ross
>> Sent from a mobile device, please excuse mistakes and brevity
>> On 13 Jan 2013 08:46, "Benson Margulies" <> wrote:
>>> Right now, a shepherd assignment is a temporary job. It starts as the
>>> reports for a cycle begin to come in, and it ends when the shepherd
>>> feels that he or she has done what makes sense in terms of reporting
>>> to the community and, in some cases, delivering some constructive
>>> nudges to the projects.
>>> I've been thinking about an alternative, but it may not be popular.
>>> In my alternative, the IPMC organizes itself as follows:
>>> At the top of the pyramid, tied down to the Aztec altar, is me, the
>>> chairman.
>>> Next down are the 'vice-chairs', currently known as the shepherds.
>>> Each of these people is responsible for a group of projects, dispersed
>>> across the reporting cycle. The shepherd, at least, tunes into the
>>> reports, but also checks in during the three-month reporting period --
>>> particularly if we have identified issues that the project needs to
>>> address.
>>> Next we have the mentors, who are 'inside' the projects, offering
>>> guidance, coaching, and supervision. However, the fact is that we
>>> don't have enough volunteers to have multiple, active, tuned-in
>>> mentors for all of the projects all of the time.
>>> Last, but hardly least, are the freelance members of the committee,
>>> who tune in on things like release reviews.
>>> If we adopted this plan, we'd add a shepherd slot to the metadata for
>>> each project, and I, as chair, would take action if the designated
>>> shepherd wasn't available to do a review for a project in a reporting
>>> cycle. Either I'd do it myself, or I'd put out a call for assistance.
>>> I'm not going to defend this scheme tooth-and-nail. If folks prefer
>>> the current approach, I'll focus on fixing the schedule to make it
>>> easier to make it work.
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