Mautic Community Forums

Response to Community Consultation on the Governance Model Proposal

Originally published at: https://www.mautic.org/blog/press/response-to-community-consultation-on-the-governance-model-proposal/

Background On 27th August, a proposal was shared to establish a governance model within the Mautic Community. Members of the community were invited to review the proposed governance model and provide their feedback over the following two weeks, via the Mautic Community Forums.  We would like to publicly thank those who took the time to…

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Good stuff, thanks a lot @rcheesley!

I have only two follow-up questions:

ad (1.2) I don’t care much about the exact timeline, I even believe that 12 months will be too early.
Much more importantly: I assume that the successful establishment of an NGO will imply the subsequent handover of control over the Open Source project as described in the Manifesto (not including brand or related legal responsibilities) - else, what would the point of the NGO be?
Please confirm :slight_smile:

ad (1.4) What brand exactly will Acquia use for its paid Mautic services?

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Could you perhaps give a bit more clarity to what you mean by “hand over control of the Open Source project”? What would that look like in your eyes? Can you give some examples?

Regarding what brand Acquia will use for its paid Mautic services, I’m not in a position to answer that (I don’t know!).

Sure, let me give some examples, just to illustrate the variety of topics:

  • Decide about infrastructure, e.g. to move away from Slack
  • Reshape structures and processes, e.g. change teams or decision making… After all, the entire Governance model should not be enforced from above (exceptions tbd)
  • Organize something like a Mauticon
  • Provide certifications and a partner program
  • Maintain an LTS version, and maybe even sell further extensions to the LTS (as well as SLAs)
    (You see where I’m going - intentionally including some wild examples, trying to find potential conflicts of interest… Not knowing about the current or future business model of what used to be Mautic Inc.)

NOT within the scope of the NGO I would expect fundamental decisions like

  • Brand and anything related
  • Partner with (non-Mautic and non-OS) competition to Acquia
  • Decision to kill or merge the project, or to sell any project properties to a third party

NOT SURE
I understand the desire to define DB as Project Lead “for life”, but I think this is
(a) unnecessary (Can’t envision a situation where he would not win any election easily, and moreover where he would WANT to stay on board nonetheless) and
(b) counterproductive (Because this has a lot of negative symbolic power)
Maybe you can come up with some mid-term compromise here as well.

BTW To me, the casting vote for the Project Lead in general is a detail and non-issue.

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Thanks for those examples.

Ultimately, if an NGO were to be formed, the Community Council would determine the remit of such an organisation - so what we’re discussing here is pure speculation at this point in time. However, I appreciate your desire to explore what functions might be part of an NGO’s remit with respect to the Open Source project.

Decisions on infrastructure

In regards to anything relating to infrastructure, these discussions would happen within the appropriate community structure - for example the Community Steering Group would be responsible for reviewing and suggesting any changes relating to chat systems or forums; the Product Steering Group would be responsible for any infrastructure/tooling needed to manage the product (e.g. CI tools, automated testing, etc).

In our opinion, offloading that to an NGO, further away from the actual teams who are using those tools, would be an extra layer of red tape and probably delays, that is simply not necessary.

The way we would envisage these decisions working is that we enable and empower the Working Groups and Teams to make their own suggestions on infrastructure and tooling, and have this approved by the relevant Steering Group if budgets are required. If it’s something that has far reaching impact or large budget, it might be that it needs to go to the Community Council for a final discussion - depends entirely on the context and would be determined by the PACSI matrices for that team/working group.

Changing structures

As regards to changing the team structures, again we don’t see why this would be off-loaded to an NGO? If the Working Groups or Teams under a Steering Group need to be refactored or there is something not quite working, then we (the working groups, teams, steering groups etc) simply propose a change, explain why, and discuss openly and transparently within the appropriate context (e.g. the Steering Group, or the Community Council).

The Governance Model proposed is, if you will, a v1.0, based on what we think will work well for our community. Inevitably there will need to be some adjustments and tweaking here and there as we go about implementing it. The structures should be sufficient to enable discussions and decisions to be made about the structure of the governance model itself with full and transparent consultation both with the community and with Acquia to ensure all are satisfied. We don’t see this as being ‘enforced from above’ but rather suggested as a starting point from which we can work together, enabling the community to function more effectively.

Organising a MautiCon

Organising a MautiCon is already something we are planning for 2020, and there will be a MautiCon Working Group. If this is something that is felt would be better managed by an NGO in the future, this would be discussed in the relevant Steering Group/Community Council and where appropriate responsibility transferred. Other NGO’s do sometimes take on running major events, so this could well be an area of focus for the organisation.

Certification, partner programmes and LTS Support

When it comes to managing things like a certification, partner or LTS programme, there are many things to consider.

We have seen examples of a centralised approach, where an NGO manages the finances and operations as a single certification provider (e.g. Joomla’s certification programme) and also equally successful approaches with a more decentralised approach being taken (e.g. any organisation can offer their own certification programme) such as with the Drupal project, where Acquia is a provider offering certification but others could run their own certification programme if they wanted to. Read Dries’ thoughts on Drupal certification programmes here.

Many Open Source communities have some kind of membership of an NGO where it exists, with different levels of financial support and commitment to the project, which would probably equate to what you’re suggesting for a partners programme.

Drupal has a formal process for organisations wanting to be involved in providing extended LTS which you can read about here.

As mentioned earlier, these projects would be sensible to review at the point where it is considered the community is ready for such a step, and the different approaches be discussed in full before making any decisions either way.

We don’t see any hard-and-fast ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to these questions, but more a discussion on ‘what is going to be the best way to achieve the goal of this project for the community?’.

That’s where bringing together experience from different Open Source projects, from the commercial world as well as from the community, offers a great opportunity to learn from our diversity of experience.

Project lead role

In relation to the points around DB Hurley being the Project Lead for life, the proposed model states that this role would be appointed by Acquia. In the past this would have been the case whereby the role would have been appointed by Mautic Inc. and this will not change post-acquisition. This role will not be a community-elected position.

I hope that answers all your questions fully @ekke!

Thanks @rcheesley! This actually is much more detailed than intended by me, afterall my questions were merely some examples just like you asked for, trying to illustrate the bigger picture. Nonetheless, that bigger picture is much clearer now of course. Truth be told, I was hoping for a bolder move when it comes to the last chapter - but that is of course your choice to make, and I appreciate the general direction.

As a company, we today made the decision to consider the overall setup “good enough” and go ahead with Mautic, as an active part of the community. Let’s all make it happen and bring Mautic to its full potential!

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That’s great to hear you’re committing to Mautic and I’m happy that all your questions were addressed! Onwards and upwards!

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