Shane’s Director Position Statement 2024

I’ve written many times on how the ASF board works in my past 10+ years of service. My objective now is: simplifying and improving our governance culture, so that when the next generation takes over, they will be able to scale the ASF in a way we will all still recognize for the next 50 years.

There are two aspects I will focus on in the coming year to improve this:

  1. Making our documentation easier to read, and our processes simpler to follow for all of our communities, especially newcomers (contributors, podlings, potential Incubator donors, anyone).
  2. Ensuring rules and best practices are clear enough – with explanations of “why” behind every rule or practice! – so that it’s simpler for our PMCs and the board to keep helping our projects grow in the Apache Way.

Our membership is an amazing resource: passionate, focused on building community-driven projects, and active in advocating our community norms in the broader ecosystem. This outreach and mentoring by members is it’s own public good, above and beyond the software our Apache projects produce. But culturally, it feels like we are doing this individually, not as a truly coherent and organized community. It’s no wonder why some projects come through the Incubator with slightly different ideas of how to work, either from different mentoring perspectives, or hard-to-understand processes.

If we objectively view our how-to documentation and compare it to other foundations out there, we generally come off the poorer, both in graphic design and in readabilty to the newcomer. While some of us have spent immense effort in building up our published docs over the years, the end result has often been inconsistent in the whole. Historically, we tend to work on docs (or information architecture!) as individuals or small ad hoc groups, not true communities that are focused on continuing to maintain systems. That’s why I love Rich’s Working Groups concept over in ComDev: working to foster a specific communities working as a group on documentation and other improvements.

The above will be my main focus – along with everything else the board does, of course:

  • Reviewing and mentoring PMCs, with a particular focus on keeping feedback much more focused, actionable, and friendly.
  • Approving our budget, keeping the organizational lights on, appointing officers, and working on finding the next generation of officers and directors for our future.
  • Understanding the larger landscape we live in, like finding a VP, Public Affairs to track potential legislation in the US now that CRA/PLD are in progress.
  • Pushing us to invest – with budget/staff or focused calls for volunteers – in our public presence, to ensure that when we attract projects and contributors, they have an easy time building healthy self-governing communities.
  • Signposting our long-term strategy for the ASF as a whole. While we’re here to give a long-term home to our project communities (who build our software), the board also needs to help focus some of our individual volunteer energy into specific areas and collaborative working groups.
  • Working with VP, Brand Management to see if what further improvements we can make either detecting trademark issues, and in dealing with potential infringements politely, quickly, and in ways that protect our reputation, and make it simple for third parties to understand what’s appropriate.
  • Working with the Incubator to improve the experience. This includes both making it easier for newcomers to understand how the Incubator works, and to improve outcomes, so we have a better shared understanding of how ASF projects work with all of our newly graduated TLPs.

On some personal notes, I will have more time for ASF work in the coming year; last year brought unusual $real-life time challenges for me. I am retired, and have never let employment or personal income sources influence my decisions about what’s best for the ASF. I volunteer at the ASF because this is the most efficient and enjoyable way that I can donate my time for the public good. I truly believe that part of the public good we do is by our example of community-led collaborative projects, along with our software.

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Briefly, Shane is: a father and husband, a friend, a geek, a Member and director of the ASF, a baker, an ex-Loti, a BMW driver, a punny guy, a gamer, and lifelong resident within the 495 belt. Oh, and we have cats.

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