[Board] [OSGeo-Conf] Conference Committee Review, WAS: Proposal: Invite Andrea Ross, from LocationTech to join the OSGeo Conference Committee

Jody Garnett jody.garnett at gmail.com
Wed Jun 1 14:03:24 PDT 2016


I have been thinking on how to reply .... my main takeaway is that both the
OSGeo board and the OSGeo membership trust the conference committee.

Personally I feel that keeping the decision making and the work together is
of a benefit - this helps ensure decisions respectful of volunteer time and
rewards those who do the work with direct influence. If the membership
(including any board members) would like a say they are encouraged to join
the conference committee and take part.

Keeping with the theme of both trusting and empowering the conference
committee: if the conference committee wishes to make changes their process
/ transparency they are currently empowered to do so. Please let the board
know as part of monthly board meeting, or as part of annual report. Our
president on hand who can sign contracts (if needed) and Frank Warmerdam as
officer (if the conference committee needs to act in an official capacity).

The board can offer some assistance (budget) and direction (strategic
plan). If the committee would like to review or expand its mandate this can
also be done.

Dave - I am not a member of the conference committee or email list so this
reply is limited to board at osgeo.org.
--
Jody Garnett

On 30 May 2016 at 07:07, Dave McIlhagga <dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com> wrote:

> Steven,
>
> First of all - I think this committee has done a lot of really good and
> very important work over the years, so for everyone here please don’t take
> any of this as a criticism of the work that’s been done in the past. I
> think we’ve done the best we can with what we’ve had to work with and the
> mandate of the committee.
>
> Note: I’ve cc’d the board here as some of this needs to be discussed at
> the board level not just within this committee.
>
>
> I have a few areas of concern that I think are worth a discussion here:
>
>
> 1. *Who Decides?*
>
> I believe we need to separate out the “Doing” from “Decisions” —
> Committee’s are put in place to handle the *workload* that would be too
> onerous for the board, and to make decisions that individually have *relatively
> low impact on the organization as a whole*. The Board is responsible for
> making the *decisions that will have significant impact on the
> organization*.
>
> With that in mind — my suggestion here is that regardless of the process
> we go through to decide on locations for future events, organizing
> committees, timing etc.., (more on this below) the board should be making
> the ultimate decision on the annual event, if for no other reason than it’s
> financial impact on the organization. Any event could have +/- $100,000
> impact on the organization, and this today is the primary source of funding
> for OSGeo. By definition, that makes this decision the most important
> decision OSGeo makes every year.
>
> Having said that — as we all know here, there is a ton of leg work that
> precedes making this decision — and that’s where the work of this committee
> should be focused. If this group can be in the business of *running and
> managing* the process of putting on the conference each year, and
> *advising* the board on options, pros/cons, etc.. ie. helping the board
> to make an informed decision, then we’re doing our job as a committee. Then
> the board can make this key decision based on the direction the board is
> taking the organization. Is fundraising important? Is hosting the event in
> places OSGeo is strong important? Or maybe in places it’s weak and wants to
> grow? Depending on budget plans and many other factors — the answers to
> these questions can be quite different.
>
>
> 2. *Selection Process*
>
> I feel that the competitive process we’ve established that was arguably
> well suited for the early days of OSGeo (it was definitely a step forward
> from yours truly choosing - which was the process pre-OSGeo) — has run it’s
> course. With the amount of experience we have under our collective belts,
> and the size of the events we’re dealing with, why do we every year need to
> more or less start from scratch, and waste valuable community volunteer
> time in competition rather than doing something collaboratively?
>
> A very simple example of where the current process fails to meet OSGeo’s
> needs is the proposed dates from the most recent selection process. Every
> proposal suggested an August date for the event … why? Because it was the
> cheapest period to rent venues, and could as a result drive the most profit
> for OSGeo, increasing every LOCs chance of being selected. That’s possibly
> the right way to do things … but it also means overlapping with many
> peoples vacation periods, meaning many attendees that would typically come,
> won’t. Was that a good thing? The competitive process meant right or wrong,
> we were more or less “stuck” with an August date.
>
>
> What if instead we did something along the following (this is just to get
> the brain juices flowing, not definitive):
>
> 1. Find a PCO we can work with year-after-year … this would make life
> simpler for the committee, and cheaper for OSGeo as there’s no
> year-after-year re-learning. It also means we can much more effectively
> learn from our mistakes and have consistent relationships to work with to
> put on a better show every year.
>
> 2. We come up with a predictable date/schedule so that attendees and
> critically sponsors can plan around it year-after-year.
>
> 3. Committee looks into optional cities/countries to host through a lens
> of a combination of availability, cost, transport access, and access to
> locals who could help form a LOC. If this sounds like a lot of work … well
> that’s why you have a PCO you work with year after year, who can do the leg
> work on this for you efficiently and far better than any of us can. This
> also gives you *negotiating* position with the various
> venues/hotels/cities. With a conference the size of FOSS4g, most cities
> have one venue that can support it … not much bargaining room when you’re
> the LOC. But when you’re OSGeo that go to any city .. you can negotiate.
>
> 4. All of this combined allows us to consult the board on options we’re
> finding, fine tune based on the board’s needs — and ultimately work in
> collaboration with the board to come up with a selected city, that has a
> high chance of success given we’re putting our collective knowledge and the
> PCOs together without having to pick “one proposal vs. another”.
>
>
>
> I’m not sure if this is all making sense — sometimes email isn’t the best
> communicator, but I guess my point is, I think we can do a lot better than
> the current process, and arguably with far less cumulative volunteer time
> when you combine the efforts of the committee and X bidding LOCs.
>
> Worth a discussion at least I’d suggest?
>
>
> Thanks,
>
> Dave
>
>
>
> Dave McIlhagga
> dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com
>
> *Maps at your fingertips*
>
> www.mapsherpa.com
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On May 27, 2016, at 1:25 AM, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Dave
>
> Surely the board should delegate important tasks to its committees not
> take on more work?
>
> It sounds like you think something has gone wrong with the selection
> process, can you explain?
>
> Steven
>
> On 26 May 2016, at 19:28, Dave McIlhagga <dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com> wrote:
>
> Steven,
>
> I couldn’t agree more — this committee has probably the single biggest
> impact of any OSGeo activities on the Foundation, particularly from a
> financial perspective.
>
> If we’re going to look at this — I think we should look at the whole
> picture of how we do things here. It has long been a concern of mine that
> the most important decision that OSGeo makes every year is effectively
> delegated away by the board who is the elected group in fact charged with
> representing the interests of the membership.
>
> The number 1 change I would recommend is that this committee provide all
> of the logistical services to review conference options, help local
> organizing committees, and all of the other leg work a committee exists to
> handle. But the over-riding guidance of what the international FOSS4G
> annual conference should be all about, how OSGeo decides where/how
> conference is hosted and run each year, should really be in the domain of
> the Board.
>
> This group can help that process out extensively given the breadth of
> experience of the members. If it makes sense to continue the RFP process as
> we have in the past (which I’m not convinced of) - then this committee can
> manage that whole process, but I don’t believe we should be casting the
> votes. It’s too important a decision for the Foundation.
> Providing experience, perspective, and commentary on proposals to the board
> is reasonable — but I feel it’s time that the board take back this decision
> making authority.
>
> Technically, the board does approve the decision of the committee — but
> this has never been overturned, and in my opinion, the year we failed in
> China was a direct outcome of this process - I don’t think we’ve really
> learned our lesson from that yet.
>
> Dave
>
>
>
> On May 26, 2016, at 12:40 PM, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Andrea
>
> Definitely not my intention to indicate support no process.
>
> Conference Committee is imho second most important committee of OSGeo, my
> view is it should have process for selection, clear bounds of authority and
> expectations on members.
>
> Would be good to hear views from a broad cross section of current and past
> members
>
> Steven
>
> On 25 May 2016, at 22:01, Andrea Ross <andrea.ross at eclipse.org> wrote:
>
> Steven, All
>
> Are you stating no process or criteria because you believe that's best, or
> to draw attention to it being a very bad idea? I can't tell through email.
> :-)
>
> Andrea
>
> On 25/05/16 13:08, Steven Feldman wrote:
> I thought that had been agreed by nearly everyone who commented although
> there may have been one or two objections including mine.
>
> It seems that if you want to join conference committee there is no process
> or criteria, you say you want to join and then you can. Quite what happens
> when you go silent I don't know? Membership allows vote for location of
> FOSS4G which raises question about potential "packing" of vote but so far
> we've not had a problem so maybe not an issue.
>
> If Maxi wants to be a member, I guess he is one. @Maxi, feel free to add
> yourself to the current members list
>
> Steven
>
> On 24 May 2016, at 15:19, Venkatesh Raghavan <venka.osgeo at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> On 2016/05/24 20:13, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Conference Committee,
> I'd like to propose that we invite Andrea Ross to join the OSGeo
> Conference Committee.
>
> Firstly, we need to decide on the request from Maxi to join
> the conference committee which was seconded by me.
>
> Venka
>
> +1 from me, Cameron Shorter.
>
> My reasoning is that Andrea has a lot of experience running conferences,
> especially through his involvement with LocationTech, and there are
> synergies that could be gained by aligning OSGeo and LocationTech
> effectively.
>
> I note that there have been concerns aired previously about LocationTech
> competing to take over OSGeo's flagship FOSS4G event. I'm of the opinion
> that we should be mindful of this, but we should discuss the options
> openly and I believe we can find a solution favourable for all. An
> effective way to support this conversation is to invite Andrea to be one
> vote among our conference committee.
>
> Warm regards, Cameron
>
> On 24/05/2016 6:31 am, Andrea Ross wrote:
> Dear Steven, & Everyone
>
> I've not been invited to the conference committee, but I will be in
> Bonn, and I'm always glad to chat/meet.
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Andrea
>
> On May 22, 2016 3:04:03 AM EDT, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> Who is going to be in Bonn for FOSS4G?
>
> It's an opportunity for the Conference Committee and interested
> people to meet face to face, we could discuss some of the topics on
> the 'outstanding
> list'http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee_2016_Priorities
> and we could start preparing the call for 2018
>
> Anyone interested?
>
> Steven
>
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