Re: board [was Re: OOXML [was Re: GNOME Foundation Board Meeting Minutes :: 7/6/07]]


Things I have learned during this time at the board:

1 - Voting busy candidates is risky if not counterproductive.
2 - Running for election when you are busy is risky if not counterproductive.
3 - Seven members is what you need to run efficiently a board.
4 - Even a board of busy members can be a good board, but needs to
concentrate on the essentials.
5 - You concentrate on the essentials by *not doing* other things,
either because you delegate, you drop or you don't even start new
6 - It is difficult to point out publicly and even internally when
something/someone is wrong concentrating on the essentials,
delegating, dropping, starting new things. We are (too?) respectful
with each other.

In fact 6 is more complex: you can point when you are not inside, if
you are inside you can't point. Because you are outside you don't have
all facts, which makes difficult to point accurately, effectively.
Because you are inside you have more facts, but this makes difficult
to point issues because you put someone and yourself in evidence.
Breaking respect in exchange of efficiency isn't easy - probably not
even appropriate in an organization of volunteers.

Full stop.

If Luis runs for election I'll vote him, no doubt about this. He has
been pinging and pushing on legal matters as a champion.

I feel that we at the board have failed integrating his voluntarism in
a delegation. I still wonder what has failed and why though. All the
elements were in place: a Legal area in the board with 2 people
responsible, public and private mailing list, relatively regular
contact with lawyers and people around legal matters, regular presence
of legal related topics in the board meetings and agenda... Should I
make a conclusion I would probably end up thinking that personal
differences had more weight than they should, but who knows.

The board hasn't been proactive enough delegating again, that's my
feeling. Because we don't want to delegate? I don't think so. The
problem starts when people is lacking time to assume the most basic
responsibilities and feels overwhelmed only to follow the basic
routines. If you have been into the Art of Delegating before you know
the paradox: in theory delegating will let you do more things in less
time, in practice the process of delegating takes time in itself -
which is a trap when people feel like not having time.

Is the 7 member board the root of the problem? I strongly disagree. I
think the current board of 7 has been extremely efficient in the first
half of the year considering the total amount of personal time
invested. I bet a board of more people couldn't beat that. The second
half is being more dramatic,. and it is painful to reckon that many
deep issues could have been avoided or at least dealt with more
properly if all the board members could have been around with some
time available for collaboration and quick response.

Also, looking backwards we also see that our time and issues could
have been invested much better. What is left from the 10th
anniversary? Imagine if some of that time would have been put in a
Boston Summit planning. How much time did we put in aligning the
election period with GUADEC? Imagine if instead we had been dealing
with this poisoned OOXML discussion.

Of course this is easy to say now, the problem is always to foresee
things before they happen. This is an art that can be better performed
having more time and calm in our minds, btw. And even if you foresee
issues there is still that problem of being difficult to point them
out without being not as respectful as we use to be.

Quim Gil ///

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