Discussion:
Question for DPL candidates: delegation
(too old to reply)
Ian Jackson
2017-03-21 11:10:21 UTC
Permalink
The DPL role is generally thought to be rather large and does seem to
be subject to burnout. But, the DPL can delegate whole areas of
responsibility. At the moment DPL delegates are mostly longstanding
core teams such as ftpmaster and DAM. We have also had the
semi-formal "DPL helpers" but they didn't have delegated authority.

Do you intend to make more use of delegation ? In what areas of DPL
responsibility ? Do you envisage delegating individual issues on an
ad-hoc basis, or whole areas to new or existing teams ? Do you
envisage sending out public calls for volunteers ?

Would you look favourably on unsolicited requests from a contributor,
to have limited powers delegated to them to deal with a matter that
contributor wants to try to see fixed ?

Ian.
--
Ian Jackson <***@chiark.greenend.org.uk> These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.
Laura Arjona Reina
2017-03-21 11:55:51 UTC
Permalink
Hi
Post by Ian Jackson
The DPL role is generally thought to be rather large and does seem to
be subject to burnout. But, the DPL can delegate whole areas of
responsibility. At the moment DPL delegates are mostly longstanding
core teams such as ftpmaster and DAM.
Current delegations can be seen in

https://www.debian.org/intro/organization

(the teams or groups having a "delegation mail").

If somebody spots a mistake in that page, or there are more delegations
not appearing there, please report it to debian-***@lists.debian.org
with link to the info, and I'll try to update as soon as possible.

We have also had the
Post by Ian Jackson
semi-formal "DPL helpers" but they didn't have delegated authority.
Do you intend to make more use of delegation ? In what areas of DPL
responsibility ? Do you envisage delegating individual issues on an
ad-hoc basis, or whole areas to new or existing teams ? Do you
envisage sending out public calls for volunteers ?
Would you look favourably on unsolicited requests from a contributor,
to have limited powers delegated to them to deal with a matter that
contributor wants to try to see fixed ?
Ian.
--
Laura Arjona Reina
https://wiki.debian.org/LauraArjona
Chris Lamb
2017-03-22 16:02:03 UTC
Permalink
Ian,
Post by Ian Jackson
The DPL role is generally thought to be rather large and does seem to
be subject to burnout.
No doubt! Although as an aside, whilst I can't speak from personal
experience the number of DPLs who have served a second term either
suggests this isn't as severe as you suggest or there is some kind
of Stockholm Syndrome going on… ;)
Post by Ian Jackson
Do you intend to make more use of delegation ?
I would have no hesitation in delegating ad-hoc or longer-term tasks
f (for example) someone is better suited to the role than me in terms
of experience, connections or what I will simply refer to here
diplomatically as politics. I don't believe in martyring myself just
for the "kudos" or to control stuff, especially when the results might
be suboptimal for the Project.

Whether this is an formal or informal arrangement would depend on
whether to delegate the responsibility as well.

(Using the outreach initiative as an illustration, it might be more
expedient for someone not of my background to be the figurehead but for
me to retain responsibility for it actually happening. I would make a
public call for such a role, which hopefully answers your other question.)
Post by Ian Jackson
Would you look favourably on unsolicited requests from a contributor,
to have limited powers delegated to them to deal with a matter that
contributor wants to try to see fixed ?
Did you have a (perhaps throwaway) example in mind we could use? I worry
my response will be overly vague otherwise.

In general, whilst I would encourage such requests, I believe a lot of
what actually can get done in Debian canont be achieved via fiat. It
might actually be highly counterproductive or even damaging to even try
certain avenues. In other words, in most circumstances the request would
likely be redirected to the project as a whole to reach some form of
consensus first.


Regards,
--
,''`.
: :' : Chris Lamb
`. `'` ***@debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk
`-
Mehdi Dogguy
2017-03-23 10:13:59 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ian,
Post by Ian Jackson
The DPL role is generally thought to be rather large and does seem to
be subject to burnout. But, the DPL can delegate whole areas of
I do not think the DPL role is still subject to burnout. It certainly
requires some commitment but it is in no case something that requires
extraordinary powers or superhuman energy. At least, not anymore.
Post by Ian Jackson
responsibility. At the moment DPL delegates are mostly longstanding
core teams such as ftpmaster and DAM. We have also had the
semi-formal "DPL helpers" but they didn't have delegated authority.
Do you intend to make more use of delegation ? In what areas of DPL
responsibility ? Do you envisage delegating individual issues on an
ad-hoc basis, or whole areas to new or existing teams ? Do you
envisage sending out public calls for volunteers ?
I am all in favor of avoiding concentration of powers as I think it may
cause harm to our project to solely focus powers and expectations on a
single person. It is also even more important to avoid such situations
when we know DPL terms last only for 1 year. Some subjects require
stability and ability to plan for more than a year. So keeping the DPL
as sole decision-make on such subjects is not a smart decision.

As of now, DPL has been in charge of approving expenses. I am not
convinced we should keep doing that in the long term. My idea would be to
develop a few specific teams in charge of approving and dealing with specific
kind of expenditures and another team to collect donations. I can imagine
a team formed with representatives of the following teams:
- DSA (hardware and hosting part and everything needed to run Debian's
infrastructure like domain names and SSL certificates, if still necessary)
- DebConf Committee (to specify DebConf needs)
- Outreach team (for Debian's participation in outreach programs)
- Partners team (for collecting donations for Debian)
- Roadmap team (to request a budget for sprints related to the roadmap and
possibly general sprints).

Each team can be autonomous on its perimeter. The DPL could allocate shares
(or specific budget lines) for each team. They will be delegated to handle
expenses on their respective area of activity. A few times every year (e.g. 3 or
4), we can make a financial review. This will help us to produce more easily
a financial report at the end of the year.

So, in general, yes, I am in favor of making more delegations when contribution
of the DPL is not required or not the best fit for the task.
Post by Ian Jackson
Would you look favourably on unsolicited requests from a contributor,
to have limited powers delegated to them to deal with a matter that
contributor wants to try to see fixed ?
I am certainly in favor of enabling people to do more stuff, especially
when their work benefits to the project at large. So I could delegate
them temporarily (or not, depending on the task) with specific powers to
make their subject move forward. But, motivation is not enough. They
also have to show ability to work with the rest of the project w/o raising
much concern from their fellow DDs and the delegation must not be covered
by the work of another team/delegation/role. So I guess some situations
would require mediation and discussion. Delegations can be powerful but they
are not a magical tool to solve all problems.

Regards,
--
Mehdi
Loading...