The hot topic in the world of Joomla! right now is the proposal on restructuring the leadership teams and working groups. Unless you’re a current member of one of its many working groups or teams, you aren’t exactly welcome to review the current proposals, and in fact the general public is only allowed two weeks to review the proposal, something that has been worked on in a silo by a small team for the last two years and available to the entire leadership team for the last few months.
As noted in the documents, a vote was held in June to decide if we should even restructure, and there was a majority yes vote. I personally abstained for two main reasons:
- I felt that given the number of people who were interested in looking at the restructure, even if I didn’t agree it was needed (or have valid reasons why it would be), I didn’t want to be seen as stopping them from at least trying.
- At the time of the vote, the only proposal on the table was what we are seeing today, and I equated a +1 vote as a vote in favor of this proposal.
I’ve explained my issues previously to the leadership teams (and those welcome to view the original documents), but for this latest round of review it was decided to not share the documents with that history. So, what exactly are my issues with the current proposal?
Communication — It really feels to me like the way this is being communicated to others is that there is already an agreement amongst the leadership teams and that this feedback is in some ways just going through a due process, and I’d even go so far as to say it reminds me of how the LGPL request for the Framework was handled.
Addressing the Issues — What exactly are we addressing? I’ve seen references to “issues from the past” or “our current issues”, but nowhere have I actually seen what these issues are. The proposal feels like it’s a group of people coming together and saying “here’s what we’re going to do” but I don’t see any purpose behind that what. There’s no why it needs to happen, there’s no clear reason why we’re going to do it, it’s just going to happen. Are the issues that brought us to the point of this even relevant today?
OSM “Takeover” — In today’s structure, there’s a very fine line between the legal responsibilities that must be done by the legal entity supporting the project and all of the volunteer work that goes into everything else, in part represented by the CLT & PLT not being a part of OSM. With the restructuring, all teams are accountable in some form to a Coordinator who is a OSM Board Member. To me, this states that the OSM board feels that the volunteer leadership of Joomla has failed and they feel it necessary to take the reigns with regards to leading Joomla.
Verbiage — Not really one of my concerns, but enough people have said it that I’ll echo it. The wording in the proposal has a very corporate like feel and could unintentionally be undervaluing the work of volunteers (who under the proposal means anyone without an “official” voice as they aren’t a Team Member, Leader, or OSM Board Member with voting privileges).
Teams Working In Silos — In this structure, I see it very easy for teams, and even the OSM Board Members, to be working in silos and continuing to be unaware of what’s happening around them. I don’t see any perceived communication or awareness issues being addressed here truthfully; if anything, they may get worse.
Is Anyone Even Listening? — In the “debates” that have happened thus far, there has been a very defined group in favor of and against the proposal, and it truthfully feels as though the group in favor of the proposal is not open for feedback on the proposal and that their way is the only way forward. In all of the concerns I have mentioned privately about how things could happen, only one feedback item has been warmly received, otherwise there are moments I feel like that time providing feedback could have been better spent watching paint dry.
The Bottom Line — If we truly need to restructure our organization, there needs to be very clear reasoning behind it, explained at the very beginning of the process, and the process needs to be transparent to our Open Source community to not cause fear and concern among them.