Re: Reducing the board size

On Thu, 2005-09-15 at 08:20 +0200, Murray Cumming wrote:
> I'm also in favour of reducing the board size to 7. It recognizes the
> reality of how we work. That way of working is very good for lots of
> other parts of GNOME, but the board is fundamentally meant to be
> decisive.
> I'd usually think that this would just reduce the number of man-hours
> available to us, but I've become convinced that it's the best option
> because:
> 1. The board is delayed by decision making more than by a lack of people
> getting things done. Decisions get punted repeatedly to the next meeting
> and eventually forgotten about for a few months, so we miss
> opportunities. In comparison, tasks are usually not much more than "send
> an email" or "write a wiki page" - we delegate large task to groups such
> as release-team and marketing.
> 2. Theoretically, time-limited discussion followed by votes within the
> board, would make decision possible. However, as a community we have a
> strong urge to reach consensus so any single person can veto a decision.
> I do not believe that we can change that, so we must reduce the number
> of vetos.
> 3. One or two people have suggested the alternative of having a
> president with the ability to make decisions without consultation. This
> is going too far, and has usually been suggested as a way to make
> (usually technical) decisions which are not the board's responsibility.
> Even the suggestion of conflict of interest would be huge and
> destructive. 
> 4. The stuff that we disagree on is usually important, but there is
> rarely a great difference between the available options. Any one of them
> would probably be good enough, so there isn't a great risk in making it
> more possible to choose one.

5. When there's less people, there's more personal responsibility, and
therefore more pressure to get things done, and more pressure only to
run for election if you really have the time. Throughout GNOME, I've
noticed that when you give responsibility, people take responsibility.

> The fact that we are considering a referendum for this, even though it's
> not strictly necessary, proves that we have difficulty reaching
> consensus on stuff that can move us forward.

Murray Cumming
murrayc murrayc com

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