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

<quote who="Quim Gil">

> Also, looking backwards we also see that our time and issues could have
> been invested much better.

I think that's probably true, but I strongly disagree with your examples. I
also think that with such high expectations, we can beat ourselves up pretty
badly even when we do great things. What follows on from that is bitterness,
defensiveness, and a dysfunctional group of people. We could have done a lot
better with debriefs and general meeting conversation to avoid some of this.

> What is left from the 10th anniversary? Imagine if some of that time would
> have been put in a Boston Summit planning.

I've explained this a few times now, but I'll do it again here: The Board
could not have done significantly more about the Boston Summit to avoid or
avert the crisis we had. It's that simple. Due to unrepresentative and ill
informed noise on board-list, it has been turned into a much bigger issue
that it ever was.

At precisely the time when the Boston Summit was ready to announce and work
could begin on the (much more interesting) detail of catering, what we were
going to do, how we were going to run it, and calling for local volunteers
to run the show, our apparently booked venue pulled the plug. This started a
lengthy period of going through other channels to get the venue back, trying
for a different venue with the same organisation, looking at different dates
and hosts, and finally, a last-minute splurge on a venue as we were down to
the wire and couldn't feasibly change the dates. It was not a lack of time,
planning or local volunteers that set off this chain of events... It was a
*horribly* timed disappearance of the most important piece of the Summit's
organisational puzzle: The venue. If there's no venue, there's no Summit.

Of course, massive thanks go to Zana and Owen for pulling it all together
for a very successful Summit despite the roadblocks and challenges. In the
end, the Board only received one complaint about the Summit, and that was
before it was held, and by someone who did not go to it. (If anyone *does*
have complaints about the Summit, please mail the Board!)

I am more (personally) disappointed with the 10th anniversary execution and
results than those of the Boston Summit.

> 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.

It took *one* Board member's time and leadership to pursue the term length
bylaws change (in addition to discussion among members and the time of the
membership committee to run the vote). This is a very important and worthy
change, which will have a positive impact from 2009 onward - that's a long
time away, but we had to change it now or it would languish until the 2010
term! Given that this has come up nearly every term I've been on the Board,
I regard actual execution on this issue as a great success of this term.

It would have taken *one* Board member's time (and a bit of review) to ship
a timely announcement and clarification when we joined ECMA and TC45-M. It
would have created an outburst itself, with mildly different properties to
what we're experiencing now -- unless we had done a *spectacular* job with
the messaging, it would've been "GNOME announces support for OOXML". I have
been dealing with the shrill voices for days now, so I might sound a bit
rankled on this front. ;-)

Different people were responsible for these tasks, there was no substantial
cross-over in time or topic, so they're basically incomparable.

- Jeff

-- 2008: Melbourne, Australia
    "And the only time I met George W Bush, he said to me, 'Hey Mike! Go
              find real work.' Of all people!" - Michael Moore

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