Currently, the Belgian LoCo Team (Ubuntu-be) is an informal organization of Ubuntu enthusiasts. As such, our realizations are mostly the actions of willing individuals acting on their own. While this was successful at our beginning, we feel that this is slowing down our development and prevents many newcomers to become active.
This is an ongoing reflexion on how to organize ourself more effectively.
Questions to be considered...
... and possible perspectives to think about this question.
On the meeting planned on April 25, 2011 - this is basically the agenda: 1 point: how to structure Ubuntu-be.
Obviously, this (huge) question has lots of entry points. Here we can put a list of questions worth asking - feel free to add your own, to comment on others or to supply (partial) answers.
- What is the goal of Ubuntu-be? (jurgen)
I think this is already pretty clear, just have a look at Mission Statement on the main page. (jurgen)
- I agree, our mission statement is clear
- What do we expect from people taking up leadership? (jurgen)
Clear commitment/mission is needed, both to attract new candidates and avoid misbehaviors (PierreBuyle)
- "to attract new candidates" what do you mean? candidates for what? imho, we should expect more from people taking up leadership, see next section below "The aim of the Council ... " (jean7491)
- I'm not sure if it is leadership that we're after. I think the main goal is to provide Ubuntu-be with some structure. The main issue is not that we are a bunch of headless chickens running around wildly. I think the issue is that someone from the outside has no idea what to make of Ubuntu-be, nor who to contact for what (Even I still struggle with this from time to time). (janb)
- What not to expect from these people? (jurgen)
See my comment in previous question (PierreBuyle)
- How can we further refine the Ubuntu-be structure? (jurgen)
- A main council (all comitted members) (jurgen)
if agreement about questions above, this is the main issue (mission statement and mandate, relation with the LoCo team and community, composition, ...) (jean7491)
- Creative taskforces (lead by 1 committed member) (jurgen)
- taskforces or sub-teams can be discussed later (and could be an issue for the council) (jean7491)
I think this can be discussed at a later stage (PierreBuyle) comment about council and taskforces or not ? (jean7491)
- A main council (all comitted members) (jurgen)
What kind of leadership does Ubuntu-be need (PierreBuyle)
This is mostly a re-phrasing of the question 2 and 3 (PierreBuyle)
- I agree with Pierre. This question is to be discussed before question 4 (jean7491)
- Correct, and I think the answer is 'very little'. Structure should be the key word imho. (janb)
- Way ahead
- what are the next steps? (jean7491)
- I think we need to focus on 'do' rather than 'talk' here. Let's get started with something and build on it, steer it as it goes along. No need to first try to create a perfect structure before actually making the first steps towards a defined structure. As long as we stay open to criticism, and invite people to voice their opinions as we go along. The 'open source' model, you know. Although it is advisable to follow the structure of a vzw/asbl, it is a pretty flexible structure, and even then nothing needs to be written in stone from day one. Guidelines first, try them out, get going, and steer the ship while sailing. (janb)
- Footnote: what I'm really trying to say here, is that we should be careful not to follow our federal government's example and talk for 300 days and get nowhere. (janb)
'PLEASE:' Add comments, add questions! (and put/add your name/nick next to comments/questions you think of as important)
Another aspect is the creation of a nonprofit organization (v.z.w. or a.s.b.l.) : see the page
Feel free to join the discussion and to add constructive comments.
The following draft contains personal ideas, subjects to comment, modifications and improvements.
As a first step to an organization, active members proposed to start with a (leading) council (decision level).
The mission statement of this council could described as follows:
The Ubuntu Promise
Ubuntu is free, always has been and always will be, from the operating system to security updates, storage to software.
Ubuntu is fast to load, easy to use, available in most languages and accessible to all.
Ubuntu applications are all free and open source – so you can share them with anyone you like, as often as you like.
Ubuntu comes with full support and all kinds of services available worldwide.
The Ubuntu-be Promise
The Ubuntu Local Community aims to promote the Freedom that Ubuntu is.
The Local Council aims to enable this by creating a working structure and by searching for the required resources.
The Local Council makes decisions that reflect what lives in the Belgian LoCo and are in line with the views of Ubuntu.
Members of the Local Council adhere to the Ubuntu Leadership Code of Conduct and – as all members of the Local Community – sign the User Code of Conduct.
Leadership code of Conduct
The aim of the Council of the Belgian LoCo Team is to coordinate and support the efforts of the LoCo Team members and the various working groups (Teams), and to integrate their work for more effectiveness and better services offered to the community.
The Council is composed of 5 to 8 members, a number of persons which guarantees that the decisions taken can be "democratic", but not too large for practical reasons.
The Council is mandated to take decisions for the benefit of the LoCo Team, including organization, procedures, internal rules, membership, material and finances. It acts as representative of the Belgian LoCo Team when necessary.
The Council meetings occur on regular basis using IRC (#ubuntu-be on freenode.net). The agenda is publicly announced. Reports of meetings are publicly available afterwards.
The Council informs the community through the Wiki and the Mailing List.
Comments (name, date)
Organization tentatives are initiated by active members willing to improve the work of the LoCo Team. Important positions like LoCo Team contact, treasurer, ... should be included in the council. Legitimation of the council could be formalized by elections (jean7491 - 18/03/2011)
- "Ubuntu applications are all free and open source – so you can share them with anyone you like, as often as you like." is not correct, not all Ubuntu apps are free nor open source (see for purchase section in the download center). That's one of the things that U does different than Debian. (woutervddn - 18/03/2011) Correct, Wouter, and it is one of the powers of Ubuntu. I made that mistake during my last presentation. I also made that statement that software is always free and open, but actually that would put a limit on specialised software. It actually IS possible to get specialized commercial software running on Ubuntu, it just doesn't happen often (yet).(Jan Bongaerts, aka janb, 18/3/11)
- I think we should follow the structural example (as stated by the applicable laws) of a vzw/asbl from start, even as an informal organization. For two reasons. First of all, it is easily recognisable by third parties who deal with us. Secondly, even if we don't actually establish a vzw/asbl at first, it will be easy to do so once the need arises. (Jan Bongaerts, aka janb, 18/3/11)
If we should start with something, it better be non incompatibly with required vzw/asbl. But this doesn't mean we have to comply or follow vzw/asbl stricly. We need to keep it as simple as possible, without too many responsibilities and without diluting them. (PierreBuyle, 22/03/2011)
- Indeed we don't need to follow the structure strictly as long as we don't register as a vzw/asbl. then again, the rules of a basic asbl/vzw are so simple, that we might as well. (janb, 9/4/2011)
- Maybe we can start with a registration office. For the first time, voting rights should be gained by registrating one's name, birthday and location. Everyone on the mailing list should be invited to become a registrated member. If there are enough responses before a certain deadline, e.g. 30 people within 10 days, then we can go further(the first Council, the first charter). (Djim-Fey, 19/03/2011)
- I agree that registration should be separate from mailing list or launchpad accounts. I'm not sure if we should wait for a certain amount of registrations before going ahead though. We might end up in a catch 22 where people would not register before they see the structure of the setup. (janb, 9/4/2011)
The council should not have the initiative when it comes to achieve the goals of Ubuntu-be. The main responsibility of the council should be to help and support willing individuals to achieve the goals of Ubuntu-be (PierreBuyle, 22/03/2011)
- I added "and support" in the aims of the council. But, imho, the council can also have an active role and the initiative (about the goals of Ubuntu-be) for example in launching a project, which will need willing individuals (Jean7491, 23/03/2011).
To Do - to be continued
- members level
- who has the right to vote to confirm or elect council members?
- who is a real member? those on launchpad, on the ML or those who are really active?
- how to distinguish an active member from those who aren't
- decision level : the Council
- IRL meeting ?
- internal rules (decision procedure, quorum, ...)
- the same persons every year? or elections?
- what can they do with and without the consult of the community?
- a standard procedure for decisions in which the community has its say
- which are critical decisions that should be all in hands of the council
- working groups level (teams maintaining services for the LoCo Team)
- which groups
- how independent are those groups?
- who will lead them?
- what is the relationship between those in lead of a group and the council?
Proposal 2009 - as archive
Section 1 : Proposed organization of the Belgian Local Community Team
- members level : identified active members,
- working groups level : teams maintaining services for the LoCo Team,
- decision level : the Council.
1. The members
The members of the Belgian Local Community Team are individuals with registered OpenID (Launchpad account), considered as active members. They agree to respect the Ubuntu Code of conduct, the internal rules and procedures of the Belgian LoCo Team and contribute to its missions.
Individuals have to be clearly identified (at least name, surname, address, email) to avoid abuse. Only the nickname will be public.
2. The Working Groups - Teams
The working groups or Teams are those groups that maintain certain services for the community. The Teams are created by the Council when necessary. Each Team develops its own organization and procedures, and eventually sub-teams. Launchpad registration of the teams is required. Teams are encouraged to use Launchpads feature where appropriate. <To be continued>
Basic Teams are in charge of marketing, events, technical issues and relations/communications.
a. Ubuntu Belgium Marketing Team
The Marketing Team strives to create the building blocks needed by the Ubuntu-be Community to spread Ubuntu throughout Belgium (and other countries).
In charge of :
- - management of the promotion issues (public, education, institutions, ...)
- promotion material (banners, posters, flyers, SpreadUbuntu, ...), - sponsors - logistic and finances - contribution to the website-content in collaboration with the Technical Team.
Possible sub-teams: education, production promo material, logistic and finances. <To be continued>
b. Ubuntu Belgium Events Team
In charge of:
- - events and their organization, - database of volunteers, - event-boxes.
c. Ubuntu Belgium Technical Team
In charge of the website, the wiki and other technical issues, including security. It includes the existing Ubuntu-be.org Web Editors Team.
The first mission of this team is to provide and maintain content on the Website in coordination with the Marketing Team.
d. Ubuntu Belgium Communication/Relations Team
In charge of
- - the Mailing List, - IRC, - Public Relations, medias,
- contact with other Ubuntu LoCo teams, forums Nl and Fr, LUG's and computer clubs..
Possible sub-team : public relation and contact with the media <To be continued>
3. The Council
The aim of the Council of the Belgian LoCo Team is to coordinate the efforts of the LoCo Team members and the various working groups (Teams), to integrate their work for more effectiveness and better services offered to the community.
The Council is composed of a representative from each Teams, the point of contact of the LoCo Team and members of the LoCo Team who, although not members of the Teams, have done active and constructive work in the community which has mirrored the spirit of Ubuntu and for this reason are considered useful for a better functioning of the Council itself.
The Council is composed of 5 to 10 members, a number of persons which guarantees that the decisions taken can be "democratic", but not too large for practical reason.
The Council is mandated to take decisions for the benefit of the LoCo Team, including organization, procedures, internal rules, membership and finances. It can act as representative of the Belgian LoCo Team, when necessary.
The Council needs to talk together through appropriate channels. The decision making process is collective (procedure, minimum quorum, ...) <To be continued>
The Council meets regularly on IRC following its agenda. Agenda and meetings are open to all identified members. <To be continued>
The Council informs the community through the Wiki and the Mailing List.
Section 2 : Timing
(Can be adapted later)
1. 17/07/2009 Proposal (draft 1) published in the wiki open for comment.
2. As soon as possible : creation of an ad hoc Thinking Team (min. 4, max 10 motivated members) in charge of the integration of the comments to the proposal. The draft 2 will be published in the wiki for comment during al least 2 weeks.
3. 30/xx Finalized draft elaborated by the Thinking Team will be published in the wiki.
4. 01/xx - 15/xx/2010(?) Finalized draft proposal of the LoCo Team organization subject to vote by the members for acceptation.
5. If the proposal is accepted, the Council and working Teams will be created and start working as soon as possible.
Section 3 : Your comments
Pierre Buyle, 2009/07/25
- First of all, I like the suggestion and thank Jean for the work. Concerning the Technical Team including the existing Web Editors one. Even if it's not stated clearly anywhere the first mission of this team is to provide and maintain content on the Website. I, and other, do my best to make this this task as easy and un-technical as possible. A Technical Team is a nice idea, but we will still need a team for the specific task of maintaining content on the website. Either a dedicated team or the Marketing Team (the website itself is a marketing material). If each team is allowed to have its one organization and procedure, a Launchpad registration of the teams should be mandatory. This help member of our community and external people to easily find who is doing what and understand how we work. Also, Team must be encouraged to use Launchpad's feature where appropriate. Finally, thanks to the existing Drupal/Launchpad integration, it also means that technically we can assign permissions on the website based on team membership without extra cost. Finally, I think that the Council decision procedure must be defined. And it must includes a minimum quorum needed for decisions to be valid.
Pierre Buyle, 2009/07/31
The updated proposition states that the first mission of the Technical Team is to provide and maintain content on the Website. I must insist that it is not a technical task. I understand that adding and editing the content on the website does need a minimum of skills just as typing a letter with a word processor does. I know the user experience could be improved and I'm willing to work on it. This should be the Technical Team first mission, providing tools with good user experience for the other teams to do their job as well as support for these tools.
- Mike Morraye, 2009/08/19
- This is a very nice sketch on what the thinking-team should start from.
- Users can be a member of multiple teams teams.
- Each team should be an individual unit that acts on its own. If it would be necessary, the council members can address the teams to discuss something (on the mailinglist or IRC) before taking further action on certain projects.
- Each group has to function as a whole, and none role should be depending from a particular person. This to prevent a slow-down from tasks when a person quits or is absent for a while.
- Some IRL initiatives would be nice to keep groups together. In particular important for people whom address the media, as they should share the same message.
Jan Bongaerts, 18/3/11. I like the suggestion that all members of the Council, or any other substructure for that matter, should be mentioned as real persons, and not their handle. It would be appallingly stupid, childish and unprofessional to have some Neo or LordofTheRings as part of the board. I know it's just a detail, but it's an important one. I also second all the other comments above. (afterthought: I saw that this lordoftherings-example was published as a link. That just proves my point. Wtf? How did that happen?)
- Name, date, comment