[OSM-dev] [OSM-talk] Trouble in Rangoon

Martijn van Exel mvexel at gmail.com
Fri Feb 29 11:18:12 GMT 2008

> Martijn,
>> I could organise it but I would need someone to oversee the project  
>> from a technical perspective and help me set up a technical project  
>> description for the funding organisation, NLNet.
> I have followed your efforts to get funding from them and it's great  
> that there is money available. However, as these things go, they  
> have certain demands in return for their money, they want us to  
> write down stuff we want to achieve, then write down how we achieved  
> it, and follow some or other methodology. They want milestones, they  
> want project plans, deadlines and so on. I really commend your work  
> and I hope you don't take this personally but all this project plan  
> and milestone and deadline business is not how *I* want to work on  
> OSM. A big part of the fun, for me, is that I can choose what to  
> work on without having to submit a plan beforehand, and I don't have  
> to make promises to anybody, or actually write down how I intend to  
> achieve the goals and so on (or IF I write something down then  
> because I think it's necessary for others, and not for some guy who  
> tracks where the money has been spent).


I see your point very clearly and I've heard it mentioned many a time  
before. I've been trying - and will continue trying - to get them to  
loosen up a little. What I would really like is to have 'carte  
blanche' to organise such a 'hack-a-thon' weekend / week to get as far  
as possible implementing history / rollback in the backend and api. I  
am going to propose exactly this to them and see what comes back. They  
fund a lot of open source development, so they should be sensitive to  
the way things go in OSM. I was @ the London Hack Day last weekend to  
get to know some of the developers and get more of a feeling of how  
they actually work. I went home with the feeling - and SteveC  
confirmed this - that we're taking too much of a top-down approach to  
> I'd rather pay for a flight and hotel myself, in cash, than accept  
> funding from NLNet and with that (quote) "NLNet will require close  
> monitoring, a transparent process, definition of milestones and  
> progress reports throughout the year."
> That's just my personal feeling and I'm sure others will view this  
> differently, of course it is understandable on their part that they  
> want to know where the money goes, and again, please don't feel  
> offended but I don't want their money if this turns OSM into just  
> another work assignement for me.

I share your concern and hesitation. I wouldn't like OSM to turn into  
a project management job for me. That is what it would turn out to be  
when I need to monitor milestones, deadlines, deliverables and such. I  
guess I wouldn't be able to find anyone that I could defer this  
responsibility to either ;).

Here's what I will do. I will propose the hack-a-thon idea to NLNet  
and stress that we will definitely set realistic targets/goals for the  
event, but it will, by it's very nature, be a 'best effort' attempt.  
Let's wait and see what comes back.

Would you be interested to help me set it up when the preconditions  
are right?

Take care,
martijn van exel -+- mvexel at gmail.com -+- http://www.schaaltreinen.nl/

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