Murray's Blog

GNOME Board 2007 candidates: The good

Some thoughts about the candidates that I’ll be voting for, and why:

The successful board

Typically, a successful board member will achieve just one big thing and three or four much smaller things. The board as a whole will achieve maybe three big things. Some of your big things will not reach completion. If you focus on just one or two big tasks then you will get at least one done. If you think that’s not ambitious enough then you will waste your energies on five different tasks, none of which you will complete.

The successful board member will get these few things done because he believes it’s important or just because he enjoys getting things done. There will be no reward or thanks for success, and certainly no punishment for failure or inactivity. Nobody will know it was your fault. Do it anyway.

And to make all this work together, a firm chairman is needed. The chairman should keep the board focused by prioritizing tasks, tracking tasks, reassigning them when necessary, and keeping discussions on track. It’s simple stuff, but it isn’t done enough and then everything falls apart quickly.

And the board needs to recognize the things that only the board can do. It’s lazy to claim that something is not a board problem if nobody else can do it. The board is there to do what individuals cannot or may not do. That includes managing the teams whose authority flows from the board (e.g. fixing the release team when its broken. It’s not now.) and making statements on behalf of the GNOME community that elected you (e.g. about OOXML or about the code of conduct). Theoretical discussions about the range of your job just waste time when you should be taking action.

I don’t want to vote for people who think this is taking it all too seriously, or expecting too much. The 50% of people who actually vote probably take GNOME seriously and devote a large part of their lives to it. Don’t let them down and don’t get in their way.

The good

With one exception, the others are also capable and worthy, if they can focus their work and that of the others.

And next, the bad. The very bad.

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