[Osmf-talk] [OSM-talk] OSMF organizational change: Management Team

ce-test, qualified testing bv - Gert Gremmen g.gremmen at cetest.nl
Sun Aug 14 09:22:31 UTC 2011

Just in general, IMHO you cannot copy a commercial company model
to an a crowd based organization without loosing 
a substantial part (the heart) of the crowd.

The current reorganization model is a good example of
how things will go wrong. By creating a selected group 
of "uber-osm-ers" (not necessarily intentional)
 to focus on strategy and future of the project they will
*automatically* and involuntarily create distance between them
and the organization.

Very quickly the opinion of these people is getting influenced by
having better access to info thereby filling in the concept
of "knowledge is power".  And having power as an individual
is just what is the problem in crowd based organizations.

This has already begun with the introduction of
the license, a concept that came from "the top", 
a group of people terribly concerned with OSM  (in a positive sense) 
that came to believe the future of the project is too important
to be left to the anarchist "crowd" .
I believe it can, and both "board" and "working groups" can
only be found "live" on the discussion for a and mailing lists.

Even if the OdBL were the best solution for OSM, the introduction
from the top-down (as it has happened) creates trouble in our kind
of organization.


The OSMF/Board/Working groups in my opinion should be concerned 
in creating a concise and well function information system to 
facilitate discussions and a transparent way to determine what 
the consensus in OSM is going to be.
And make sure the crowd takes the decisions ALL the time.
In fact, just what was written down one time as the purpose of OSMF.

Anyway, Pandora's box is open now....


-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Frederik Ramm [mailto:frederik at remote.org] 
Verzonden: zondag 14 augustus 2011 2:28
Aan: Andy Allan
CC: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
Onderwerp: Re: [Osmf-talk] [OSM-talk] OSMF organizational change: Management Team


Andy Allan wrote:
> However, when you end up with the
> Board meeting every single week to discuss routine happenings, and
> when the Board is trying to (outside of the meetings) also get a whole
> load of routine stuff done, then you're asking a lot from the elected
> members and probably missing out on the bigger picture. I for one
> wouldn't want to stand for election to the board as-was, but if the
> board now meets only a few times a year, and concentrates on the big
> picture, then that's much better for everyone.

In saying that, aren't you confirming Milo's fears of a hierarchy? You 
are happily accepting the notion that there are some at the top who have 
the "big picture" and do - pardon my sarcasm - some strategic waffling, 
whereas the underlings in the Management Committee and the working 
groups will do their job and occasionally take orders from above 
(because they, in contrast, don't have the big picture).

I see that this could work well, but I also see that it could go 
horribly wrong. I'm not even sure if we want our board to be concerned 
with the big picture. I see the danger of the board becoming estranged 
from the project, spending their time talking to figures in government 
and industry and sponsor organisations, devising schemes on how to get 
China mapped.

The most important thing to our project is the the day-to-day 
nitty-gritty, from the running of the servers to dealing with trouble to 
writing up stuff on the Wiki or, indeed, mapping.

Would it be terribly wrong to expect those at the top of the 
organisation to be involved in these things?

> The Management Committee has started as Board + WG reps, but I expect
> that to change over time. Some elected officers may not have the time
> to deal with the day-to-day nitty gritty

I don't think someone who is not involved should serve on the board. I 
was actually quite happy with the board setting up a "strategic working 
group" - even if this doesn't seem to have settled very well yet, it 
made clear that strategic - pardon - waffling is by no means the main 
thing that OSMF should be doing with everyone else taking a back seat, 
no, it is but one aspect and on the same level as stuff done in other 
working groups.

OSM is becoming more and more "en vogue" for big players in government 
and industry to concern themselves with. What you are essentially doing 
with your argument is you're removing the essence of OSM from the board 
(saying basically that they should be concerned with oversight and 
vision), which in turn means that being on the OSMF board will become a 
job like being on the board of anything else. Since Management Team and 
Working Groups do all the "nitty-gritty", you can stuff the board with 
respectable individuals from government and industry who maybe don't 
know shit about OSM but hey, maybe they have a good track record in 
management and they know how to leverage out potential, or whatever.

> tl;dr - the Board should only do what the Board *must* do, the other
> stuff best done by the Management Committee

That's not a bad idea per se, but I'm still against creating a structure 
where total non-OSMers suddenly become electable. I mean we could elect 
someone with no OSM clue today but even if we made that mistake it would 
quickly become obvious that he's unsuitable; in today's structure, a 
board member who is not involved in OSM other than through his board 
position would have a very hard time.

And I think that is a good thing.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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