2016-07-05 Stewardship Working Group (SWG)

Over the past several years, OpenStack has experienced rapid growth and this has placed some strains on the scalability of several governance processes. The Technical Committee believes that there are opportunities to improve our leadership and communication tools and practices. To that end, a training session for TC members was planned for June 2016.

Several members of the TC, and some other community members attended this training, which was based on best practices and learnings of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. The participants agreed that some of the challenges that the TC faces could be improved by adopting and adapting some of the concepts discussed in the training.

Rather than trying to have the entire TC work on this as a body, we would benefit from establishing a small group to review the leadership, communication, and decision making processes of the TC and OpenStack projects as a whole, and propose a set of improvements based on the training but tailored for our needs. We propose calling this group the “Stewardship Working Group” (SWG). The term “stewardship” came up in the training program [1] , and fits the purpose of this new working group and the “Servant Leadership” model used within our community, defined by Peter Block in the book by the same name [2] :

“Stewardship is defined in this book as the choice to preside over the orderly distribution of power. This means giving people at the bottom and the boundaries of the organization choice over how to serve a customer, a citizen, a community. It is the willingness to be accountable for the well-being of the larger organization by operating in service, rather than in control, of those around us. Stated simply, it is accountability without control or compliance.”[3]

The concept of stewardship is particularly relevant in the OpenStack community where leadership does not usually include explicit organizational authority, and has to be accomplished through agreement and consensus building.

The SWG will be responsible for producing actionable recommendations and improvements that the TC can then consider for adoption and roll out to the OpenStack community. This group was started by a group of interested participants of the training in Ann Arbor. Anyone interested in leadership, stewardship, and OpenStack is welcome to join the working group. Final decisions about any changes proposed by the SWG will be made by the TC.

It would be good if the group could provide the TC with a draft set of recommendations by August 15, 2016, and definitely have a concrete set of recommendations to the TC in time for the summit in Barcelona.