W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-w3process@w3.org > December 2018

Re: Process calls, and the way we work, and (no) meeting this week

From: Jeff Jaffe <jeff@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2018 20:08:00 -0500
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>, "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-ID: <8288d841-399c-fa65-a6ce-d3bf10373c0b@w3.org>

On 12/10/2018 7:20 PM, David Singer wrote:
> First, we are tentatively pencilled in for a meeting this week. Since I have noticed no AC comment during the informal review period, and nothing else we need to discuss, I do not think we need a call on the process document and its issues. The call on 12/12 is CANCELLED.
>
> However, this is a good time (and I have been prodded) to consider our work mode.  In theory, we
> * open issues
> * decide on our priorities
> * assign people to issues
> * debate in the issue until we see clarity, or at least the landscape
> * have the assignees, or someone, make a proposed pull request
> * debate that
> * approve it
>
> and most of this is supposed to happen in a large community, offline, in our own time, on the important issues. We use the calls to determine consensus on decisions, and decisions are about something concrete (“issue X is a priority”, “pull request Y is acceptable”, and so on).
>
> The agendas are oriented around this work mode; the agendas I prepare
> * review pull requests
> * review the status of issues marked as priority, to decide what the next steps are
> * categorize (priority or not? editorial or technical? who can we assign?) new issues
> * look at issues that get attention that are not priorities
>
> However, we observe that actually:
> * the community is small
> * the number of people doing offline preparation of comments, pull requests, etc., is even smaller
> * we tend to work on what interests us, and some ‘priorities’ don’t get enough attention to be finished
> * I have heard the process CG characterized as "grinding through tons of small issues via a heavily scripted monthly phone call that has a tiny amount of participation"
>
> So, it’s not working as intended or as well as it should.
>
> So, this email is supposed to spark a fun end-of-year meta-discussion. How can we improve?  Possibilities include:
> * we go to more frequent calls
> * we re-jig the agenda (Florian had a specific suggestion <https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-w3process/2018Oct/0001.html>, which we partially adopted <https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-w3process/2018Oct/0004.html>)
> * … other ideas …?
>
>
> Given the distributed nature of the W3C, I think offline working is much more palatable than synchronous calls. The agenda already tries to steer people towards priorities; and I think we’re likely to make less progress, not more, if we have more free-floating discussion on the calls. So for me, the key is…how do we get more people doing more thought and posting offline, between calls, so we can make decisions on the calls?
>
> So, un-characteristically, I’m throwing it open for free-form discussion. Blunt criticism, constructive suggestions, everything welcome.

Thanks for opening it for free-form discussion.

I will give no blunt criticism.  Let me publicly say that you are doing 
fine :).

In terms of constructive criticism, I'll provide some input on how to 
improve.  It is neither more frequent calls, nor re-jigging of the 
agenda.  I would propose the following:

1. We as a CG, with input from the AB, determine what the most important 
process fixes are for the year.  That becomes our main focus.

2. For each topic, we identify a leader and a team of volunteers who 
want to work on that topic.  They are expected to work offline of the 
monthly calls, and develop draft proposals and bring them when ready to 
the monthly call for broader discussion.  (A leader who does not have 
the time to achieve this should not volunteer to lead.)

3. As chair, you provide them support or prodding as needed.

I believe that approach is more likely to have us address the truly 
important problems, and get the bandwidth of participants to do the work.

>
>
> David Singer
> Manager, Software Standards, Apple Inc.
>
>
Received on Tuesday, 11 December 2018 01:08:03 UTC

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