It’s been a good long run. Come the end of Fedora 13 my board term will be over. I’m not planning to run for election. I’ve been involved with the Fedora Board for almost three years. Two as the secretary and a third as a full board member.
At the beginning of the 2010 I reflected on how I felt about the board term so far. We have made a lot of progress since then.
I’m really proud of all the topics the Strategic Working Group has plowed through. In the end I’m not sure we broke a lot of new ground, but we definitely dedicated a lot of time to clearly document the resolution to issues that had been discussed for too long. The board also made great progress by issuing a vision statement on Fedora’s updates policy.
It wouldn’t surprise me if future boards or interested community members reopen some of these issues. My hope is that the issues we’ve covered and the conclusions we’ve reached are clearly documented so that less time will have to be spent rehashing the past. A full list of the topics we discussed and closed out remains at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Unfinished_Board_issues. I feel very confident that the Fedora 13 Board has left Fedora in a better place and provided a solid starting place for the Fedora 14 board.
As a board member I learned that things take longer to complete than you think, particularly when you are working towards consensus with ten people. Even though the board meets once each week and uses a conference facility for real-time conversation it takes a long time to resolve complex and controversial issues. It also takes persistence. With the number of issues circling in Fedora at any given time it is easy to pick up new ones without resolving the old ones.
The Strategic Working Group (SWG) was a great discovery in shortening the amount of time needed for the full board to reach decisions. I would highly recommend this format for future board topics that cannot be discussed or decided in 20 minutes or less. In 2010 I cannot recall any regular board meetings that went longer than one hour.
The SWG consumed a lot of time, but it was worth it. It wasn’t unusual to spend 30 minutes to an hour preparing for the meeting, longer if working on a proposal or reviewing another member’s proposal, an hour at the meeting, and another 30 minutes to finalize and post the minutes. So all told, some weeks 3-4 hours on top of the Thursday board meeting.
I recall a few past board members being glad that they were done with their term because then they could really say what they wanted to in their blog or elsewhere. I thought the same would be true for me, but I never found that to be the case.
I still believe that the Fedora board’s job goes way beyond adjudicating. The Fedora Board should be “activist” and lead causes that they believe will make the Fedora Project better and strategically positioned for the future. I look forward to a Fedora 14 board that carries on in this way.