[IAEP] draft project definition

David Farning dfarning at sugarlabs.org
Fri Aug 28 15:48:04 EDT 2009

Below is a first draft project definition. It is derived from the
Fedora project definition and adapted for the Sugar labs culture.

== Introduction ==

Sugar Labs has a large number of smart and passionate participants.
These participants are often looking for new and innovative ways to
advance Sugar Labs and the Sugar ecosystem.  Ideas arise for new
projects, initiatives, and extensions to the Learning Platform.  It is
these ideas that eventually result in our biggest and best programs,
but they must endure some vetting before they are truly ready to be
introduced to the public and branded as Sugar Labs projects.

To establish guidelines to aid participants in working out the details
of their ideas and possibly developing new programs, Sugar Labs must
establish rules and processes for project formation.  This document
represents the thoughts and deliberations that have gone into forming
those rules and processes.

== Ideas ==

A new initiative may take one of many forms, but to have a reasonable
chance of success, it must start with a solid, well-defined idea.  A
well-defined idea gives rise to discussion on its merits.  This raw
idea can come from any participant or team of participants, and may
undergo very little, if any, review.  In this early stage, the only
substance is likely to be a thought on a mailing list or web page.

If they seek to have the initiative supported by others within Sugar
Labs, the contributors should present their idea to the relevant
contributors for review and feedback.  They should also prepare and
maintain a mission statement, vision statement, and implementation
roadmap.  That information should be updated to reflect the outcome of
any discussions or feedback.

A general mission statement will cover the following:

* '''Who''' the new project would serve and who will lead the project
* '''What''' the goals and scope of the new project would be
* '''When''' the project can be considered a success
* '''Where''' the project will lead and where it will fit into Sugar Labs
* '''Why''' the idea warrants the creation of a new project within Sugar Labs
* '''How''' the project will benefit Sugar Labs and the Sugar ecosystem

Even though the mission statement is somewhat general, it should avoid
using catchphrases or buzzwords in place of meaningful, simple
language.  If your mission statement cannot be boiled down into
uncomplicated terms, or if it does not logically lead to actionable
goals and objectives, it and its precedent idea likely need to be
better defined.  The goals and objectives that follow from the mission
statement constitute a plan of action.

A general vision statement will include:

* A description of how the world will improve upon successful
implementation and adoption of the project

A vision statement is intentionally broad. It is meant to inspire.

An implementation Roadmap will include:

* A list of '''immediate''' ''requirements'' to establish the project
* A '''short-term''' ''strategy'' for the formation and governing of the project
* A '''mid-term''' ''outlook'' of how the project will be made a
permanent fixture of the Fedora Project
* A '''long-term''' set of ''goals'' to make the project a true success

If you can define the mission and plan of action, you may be ready to
form a Special Interest Group, or SIG.

== Special Interest Groups (SIGs) ==

An SIG is the incubatory stage of life for a new project.  At this
point, you should have a solid plan, and the appropriate members of
the community should be ready to support the new project and see to
its success.

If your idea involves the support of existing groups within Sugar
Labs, it is a good idea to seek input from any supporting bodies
before you form a SIG.

It is not necessary, however, for contributors to receive the approval
of any existing body to form a SIG.  Some ideas may not even involve
support from Sugar Labs.  The Sugar Labs Oversight Board retains the
right, however, to provide oversight over any SIG if necessary, to
appoint a body to that end, or to move a SIG under the umbrella of an
existing body.  Such actions should rarely be necessary, though, given
a SIG with a well-defined mission and objectives.

During this stage, contributors should establish a governing model and
set up the necessary resources for the long-term success of the
initiative.  Setup tasks might include the creation of a website
section, a mailing list, an IRC channel, and a source repository if
applicable.  During this phase a new project must demonstrate its
potential for success.  It can begin gathering contributors and an
audience, but must still prove its long-term viability.  In some
senses, this is a probationary period for the SIG.  The SIG moves
beyond this stage by becoming a success, and failure to live up to its
goals may result in termination.  During this stage, the SIG must
submit regular progress reports to the Sugar Labs Oversight Board .

The SIG must be able to provide regular progress reports with the following:

* The number of active contributors
* The state of the project compared to its goals
* Documentation of how the project is working for the community
* The current method of governing the project
* A schedule and plan to achieve remaining goals and milestones

It is possible for SIGs to exist indefinitely in this manner if the
contributors feel there is no need for official project status.
Indeed, many SIGs are sufficiently narrow in focus that they do not
require project status to fulfill their missions.

== Sugar Labs Projects ==

A SIG earns official project status through successful accomplishment
of objectives that warrant more prominence in Sugar Labs.  If
contributors request it, the parent project or the Sugar Labs
Oversight Board  will evaluate the SIG's progress reports and make a
determination of readiness for this stage.  At this point, it may be
branded with the Sugar Labs name and  promoted to the full status of a
Fedora project.  It can join the ranks of the most valuable
initiatives currently leading Sugar Labs.

To reach this stage, the initiative must demonstrate long-term
viability.  This means it must have a full governing strategy,
possibly including an election or selection scheme.  It must also have
a demonstrated following, up-to-date and well-maintained materials,
full communication strategies and a documented process of operations.
Projects at this stage are expected to provide regular progress
reports and to maintain an active state.

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