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From "Ross Gardler (MS OPEN TECH)" <>
Subject RE: Incubator report sign-off
Date Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:00:57 GMT

What if a mentor is *required* to be an active participant of the project. That is contributing
code, voting on releases and generally engaging with the community, they would be a better
mentor since they have a vested interest in the project itself. Sure, we might reduce the
number of projects coming into the foundation but (IMHO) that is not a problem. Our goal as
a foundation is not to be large, it is to be high quality.

Maybe we should simply scrap the idea of "mentors" and change the role of the "champion" to
one of an initial committer who will help build an Apache project as it incubates and into
being a TLP.

We could scrap the role of shepherd and change the role of mentors. A team of 9 mentors would
meet monthly to review *all* podlings reports (as submitted by the champion). Their responsibility
is not to engage with the projects but to review the reports crafted by the champion. Any
follow up actions would be taken by a single mentor and podlings (especially the champion)
are expected to address the issues raised.

If a champion's priorities change during the course of incubation then the project must find
another champion (potentially from within their own ranks) who is sufficiently qualified and
committed to take on the responsibility. The important thing is that the Champion is personally
invested in seeing the podling succeed and acts as a true mentor (as opposed to someone with
a title and an entry on a web page). The champion is still answerable to the podling community.
Where conflict arises within the community they can call upon the IPMC mentoring team to ask
for independent guidance.

This model is almost identical to the way the board and TLPs work (where Champions are roughly
equivalent to PMC Chairs and mentors (nee shepherds) are roughly equivalent to Directors and
he monthly meeting is roughly equivalent to the monthly board meeting to review TLP reports).
I've designed it this way (and proposed the same solution before) because it is proven to
work for TLPs and we have tooling to assist with the process.

I look forward to the PMC tearing this strawman proposal apart and (most importantly) suggesting
alternatives and/or tweaks of value. We've been skirting this issue for far too long. Things
have improved (thanks to all who have worked hard on this), but we have not yet solved the


Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.
A subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Roman Shaposhnik
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2014 10:11 AM
Subject: Re: Incubator report sign-off

Hi Rich!

Thanks for raising this point and giving us a bit more of a forcing function to tackle an
old problem: accountability for mentors.

On Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 9:10 AM, Rich Bowen <> wrote:
> I certainly don't expect that every mentor has their full attention on 
> a podling every month, but I do expect that a podling that cares about 
> its incubation will seek out that mentor sign-off, and that the 
> mentors who have committed to help a podling into the family will have 
> a few moments every few months to look in and approve a report.

I've been thinking about this for quite some time (and trying to seek a solution by various
means) and it seems to be that we have to start from a very basic expectation setting.

First of all, *my* expectation is that multiple mentors on the project are more of redundancy
or HA consideration. IOW, my expectation that a project needs to have at least one active
mentor at all times, but it doesn't have to be the same person. Thus, I expect at least a
signle sign-off on the report and I don't mind if it ends up being a single one too much.

Second biggest expectation that I have is that mentors are extension of the IPMC, not part
of the poddling. They are akin to professors or faculty members -- they are not part of the
student body. As such we, as IPMC are accountable to make sure that mentors perform their
duties. My expectation is that it is as unfair to ask poddling to actively pursue mentors
who are missing in action as it would be unfair to ask students to hire detectives to hunt
down professors who don't show up for class. What is fair, is to provide poddlings with a
semi-format feedback channel for IPMC to monitor things like mentors MIA.

I would like to pause here and ask everybody to chime in with what they thing are the right
expectations on the above two points.

> But I wonder if we might, as the Board does, reject reports that have 
> no sign-off, and force projects to report again the following month, 
> in an attempt to require them to engage with their mentor(s) a little more?

As was pointed by John, we're already rejecting reports with no mentor sign-off. Before we
potentially take it one step further I'd like to get clarity on the expectations first (and
then I can volunteer to document that as well!).


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