Shane’s Apache Director Position Statement 2015

The ASF is holding it’s annual Member’s Meeting this week to elect a new board and a number of new Members to the ASF.  I’m honored to have been nominated to stand for the board election, and I’m continuing my tradition of publicly posting my vision for Apache.

We are lucky to have a large roster of excellent director candidates, so no matter how the election turns out we’ll have a stellar board. Given the wide variety of opinions in our candidates, I urge all Apache members to set aside the time this week to carefully consider all the board candidates, as well as all the great new Member nominees.  Please vote – and if you’re not free this week, be sure to assign your proxy for the meeting attendance: I and several other Members are happy to proxy for you.

Please read on for my take on what’s important for the ASF’s future…

Shane Curcuru (curcuru) Director Position Statement 2014

V1.0 STATEMENT

If you believe that we need to significantly improve the scope and quality of services and support that Apache provides to our 200+ project communities, then I urge you to cast your first place vote for me.  I want to: codify tribal knowledge; hire staff to help our volunteers; and be a director who will better tell our story to the world.

Codify Tribal & Community Knowledge

The ASF has grown past the point where relying on volunteers to effectively perform the many coordination, mentoring, project support, and Foundation operations is practical.

As a community we have amazing knowledge and experience locked up in our heads, our mailing lists, and scattered in hard-to-read documentation.  It’s not fair to our project committers – and the new communities joining the Incubator every week – to continue to rely on various individual volunteers to provide the tribal knowledge of how and why the Apache Way works.  We need to codify our core processes and why they are that way, and make it easy for any Member – or any project, or podling, or contributor – to understand them and implement them.  We also shouldn’t be afraid to publish and recommend our many best practices to all our communities.

We need directors who will codify the operational models inside Apache so that we rely less on individual historical knowledge, and more on clear, documented, and easy-to-implement processes to provide services and assistance to Apache projects.

Engage Dedicated Staff To Help Our Volunteers

Even when we have clear and efficient processes that are easy for people to understand and use, we still struggle to effectively provide key services, and to provide Apache Way mentoring for all projects and podlings.  We could greatly improve the level, amount, and professionalism of services the Foundation offers to projects by hiring dedicated staff[1].  This will provide a consistent and reliable backstop to our many volunteer Members who provide mentoring and operational work within the Foundation.

Our volunteer governance, and minimizing the rules for our projects will always be central to the ASF.  Hiring staff for a position like Director of Operations or Community Mentor will greatly improve our volunteer’s ability to help our thousand of committers and project community members focus on what’s important to them: efficiently producing great software products for the public good.

I don’t want paid staff to ever replace what helpful volunteers actually do provide.  But paid staff can assist in two crucial ways:

  • Improving the efficiency of volunteers doing mentoring and Foundation or project operations.  Someone with paid time to focus on improving docs, providing interactive education, and to actively “mentoring the mentors” would both improve the experience for our volunteer mentors, and increase the value our project communities get from them.
  • Backstopping volunteers.  We rely on the Incubator’s volunteer mentors to ensure that podlings have a healthy community before graduation – but we know that not all our mentors are stepping up to the level our podling communities deserve.  Paid staff can step in as a reliable backup community mentor when our volunteers don’t come through.

We also need to continue to invest in our excellent infrastructure team to ensure we can comfortably and reliably provide the wide variety of services our projects ask for.

Tell Apache’s Story To The World

Despite our rapid growth, we still struggle to explain to new communities and the rest of the world who we are and what we stand for.  We need directors who will actively represent the ASF by better telling our story to the world: to developers, to users, and to companies in the software ecosystem.  While titles may not matter much inside Apache, to the world outside, titles are important.  We need directors and officers to actively educate individual developers and companies alike on how Apache works and the benefits of contributing to our projects.

Effective and appropriate education (from explaining the Apache Way and how Apache projects work) means that more companies may invest in our project technologies and communities.  Most importantly, when newcomers do contribute – developers, companies, and their employees – will respect our project brands and communities, and contribute in a productive way.  Even today we still find many clueful people at other major open source groups or events who don’t understand, or misunderstand, what Apache is – and doesn’t that just drive you crazy?

What Shane Does At Apache

I’ve been a passionate and active committer at the ASF since 1999. My current focus is to improve our documentation and guidelines to make them useful for everyone in our communities.  I’ve written or improved content across the apache.org website, explaining Apache governance, project independence, and plenty of other clarifications.  I speak at ApacheCon, OSCON and elsewhere, and have worked on mentoring within many Apache projects, both on branding and community issues.  As VP, Brand I’ve defined and implemented a trademark policy for third party use, and guidance for projects to  best showcase and defend their brands.  I was an active mentor for the OpenOffice podling.  I also give Lightning Talks whenever someone will let me.

About Shane

Committer since November 1999, Member since 2002, VP Brand Management since 2009, past Director.

My employment at IBM in the HR division as an Applications Architect is wholly unrelated to Apache; all my work here is currently unpaid.   I live in Massachusetts with my wife, young daughter, and 2 cats (soon: +2 Siamese kittens! Whee!).

I believe in Apache’s mission for the public good – my work here is how I give back to the world. I view directorships and officer positions at the ASF as important commitments, and will attend every board meeting if re-elected.  I have attended every board meeting since June 2009 with two exceptions (one due to my father’s passing; the other was a special in-person meeting in CA when I wasn’t a director).

[1] Paid staff: contracts or PEO through Virtual, Inc., not Employees.

What do you think?