[OpenAFS] Foundation Plan redux

David Boyes dboyes@sinenomine.net
Sun, 09 Nov 2008 20:39:20 -0500

Sorry, I've been offline for a while and haven't had time to catch up with
this list until now.

On 10/30/08 5:18 AM, "Felix Frank" <Felix.Frank@Desy.de> wrote:

>>> How long can one obtain
>>> as a gatekeeper or board member? Is there a term limit (a desirable
>>> thing, IMHO, as it forces an organization to develop new leaders rather
>>> than having the same faces in the same places)?
>> In this case, as with AFS standardisation, I strongly disagree that term
>> limits are desirable. At their worst, they just ensure the retirement of
>> strong post holders, and their replacement with inexperienced ones.

I probably didn't explain myself well. There are two ways to look at a term
limit -- an absolute ban and a consecutive time served limit in a specific
position. I agree with you that a permanent ban is probably
counterproductive, however a limit on consecutive time served in a specific
position is more useful in that it does promote the development of new
people, and it also manages the burnout factor of doing the same job for an
extended period. If someone wants to repeat an office after a reasonable
period, I'm perfectly OK with that, but there has to be a way to get an
opportunity for new people to serve even if the old timers still want to do
it -- yes, you'll get some inefficiency, but it also prepares the
organization for other kinds of change, both planned and unplanned.

To a great degree, an organization that doesn't shake things up periodically
is simply postponing the "oh, crap, now what do we do?" moment when some
office holder is incapacitated, killed or simply gets another job that
doesn't have the spare time to spend on AFS. Consciously preparing a
succession plan *and then executing it on a regular basis* is the best way
I've observed to keep an organization fresh and developing a pipeline.

>> OpenAFS badly needs a way of encouraging new faces, and growing those
>> individuals into positions of responsibility. I don't believe that requiring
>> the abdication of successful leaders after some arbitrary period will help
>> with this. It's kind of like cutting off the head of a random animal in the
>> hope that it will grow a new one - it works in a small number of cases, but
>> the rest of the time you'll end up with a lifeless corpse.

We can continue this somewhat gruesome simile by saying that if we cut off
that random head, then we should be prepared with a graft and a procedure to
complete the graft. If we haven't consciously prepared in advance, and
*practiced* the procedure, then you're right, we've got nothing but meat.
If we have prepared and practiced, then we might just save the patient.