[Sugar-devel] Moving forward (Sugar-devel Digest, Vol 24, Issue 161)

Yioryos Asprobounitis mavrothal at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 26 05:10:27 EDT 2010

I did read with great interest both D. Farning's the "stepping down" and "Moving forward" as well as the public "freeze" that followed the first  one.

I'm not really in the field of ITC but I do know a bit about projects, particularly collaborative ones. Every development project to have a hope of success it needs
Clearly defined aims
Clearly defined road map
Clearly defined tools/methods of implementation
Clearly defined, tangible, milestones 
and annual _external_ evaluation.

Internally the project needs many tangible, evaluated stages/tasks so people that work on these have specific goals and, more important, tangible appreciation for their delivered goods.

I would think that SugarLabs has to work really hard in all of the above. (I will not go into specifics because criticizing is not the point now).

It is true the 99% of the development projects diverge one way or another from the original definitions. This may even include the Aims, though this is usually the last to change. But that's OK! As long as the process reflects accurately the realities on the ground, adapting to realities is a good thing.
This where DF's "stakeholders" and "evaluation" come into play. Otherwise everything looks like an "exercise on map", where "purity of code",  "innovative ideas", "peer appreciation", "adherence to principles", "harmonization with upstream/downstream"  etc, make take precedence over the goals of the project that is to actually  help _real life_ kids and teachers using Sugar to achieve a better education. Without their progress and needs in clear view and the evaluation from them on our deliverables, everything becomes irrelevant.  We operate in a vacuum, and pretty soon diverge and disintegrate.

To that extend I would think that any individual taking a leading role without the above thoroughly discussed and defined, will just burn-out and be wasted. The actual definition of the aforementioned issues is what will define the best person for the job. The additional benefit of an open discussion, is that the better person may still be in the sidelines because (s)he can not see any room to move, and surface through it. 

I do not really know if mailing lists are the best place to have these discussions. Again my experience from collaborative projects is that every successful one was preceded by an open meeting where participants openly discussed and defined (in writing) to a large extent goals, methods, milestones, tasks, evaluation and feedback. Then distal media where then used to further define the first draft into a project.

Maybe is time for a "Reinventing-Sugar" face to face meeting. 

> Message: 3
> Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 19:30:39 -0500
> From: David Farning <dfarning at gmail.com>
> To: iaep <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>,   
> sugar-devel
>     <sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org>
> Subject: [Sugar-devel] Moving forward.
> Message-ID:
> <AANLkTik=uECbzV6aHCM1ALzVT1Nbh7ZojEJYmw+xw6BX at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Yesterday I sent a rather blunt email on my concerns about
> the
> project.  It seems the observations resonated with
> many people while
> striking several nerves.  The volume of private mail
> or CCed mail (to
> a subset of the Sugar Labs participants) responses was
> unexpectedly
> high.
> The five main themes of the responses are:
> 1. "Could you possibility be any more abstract?"
> 2. "Several of the points are valid.  Here are my
> responses/suggestions. This should be on a public thread,
> but someone
> else will have to start it."
> 3. "The core problem is trust."
> 4. "This conversation is like an iceberg, the 'community'
> only sees
> 10% and not the other 90%."
> 5. "Dave you are just a jerk, now shut up."
> For better of worse, all five points are valid.  I am
> a bumbling jerk
> who is struggling to rebuild community trust without airing
> anyone's
> dirty laundry, including my own.
> To put all of my cards on the table:
> 1. The ideas driving OLPC and Sugar are sound.
> 2. Sugar Labs will continue to fragment until the issue of
> trust is resolved.
> 3. Because of this, I left Sugar Labs to start a business
> which
> provides service and support for Sugar.
> 4. I need Sugar to succeed. I need OLPC to succeed.
> 5. I have been trying to operate 'under the radar' because
> some in
> Sugar Labs and OLPC have contacted individuals I am working
> with and
> 'suggested' that they not work with me.
> Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.  I get
> pissed off about
> the lack of trust and community building in Sugar Labs, so
> I go off
> and form a fork which operates largely in secret.
> Two years ago, I suggested that the over sight board
> appoint Walter
> Bender as Executive Director of Sugar Labs so he would be
> able to
> speak on behalf of Sugar Labs.  He had three skills
> which Sugar Labs
> needed. 1) He was able to clearly and effectively
> communicate the
> goals of Sugar and the mission of Sugar Labs. 2) He was
> able to create
> an identity for Sugar Labs outside of OLPC. 3) He was a
> tireless
> advocate for Sugar.  In the past two years Sugar Labs
> has progressed,
> largely because of Walter.  The goal of sugar and
> Sugar labs is well
> understood. Sugar Labs has a clear identity.
> Now, Sugar Labs has different needs; pragmatic bridge
> building between
> individuals and organization.  It is time to look for
> someone with
> those particular skill to lead/herd Sugar Labs
> forward.  As such I
> would like to recommend that SLOB ask and appoint Adam Holt
> as the
> next Executive Director of Sugar Labs.
> david


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