Fedora is big. We are a huge community of people with diverse interests. We have different ideas for what we want to build, and we want different things in return from our collective effort. At the same time, we are one project with shared goals and limited resources. We are more effective in this competitive world when we agree on common goals and work towards those, rather than everyone going in the direction each person thinks is best individually.¹
The Fedora Council is tasked with taking community input and shaping this shared strategy. As part of this, we’ve written a new mission statement and have a draft overview page presenting it. We’ve said for a while that we want the work of Fedora Ambassadors to align with this mission directly. We’re getting feedback, though, that this is easier to say than to put into practice, which is understandable because, by nature, mission statements are high-level.
So, I have a proposal. As part of the Fedora Council’s charter, we have Fedora Objectives:
On an ongoing basis, including sessions at Flock and in public online meetings, the Council will identify two to four key community objectives with a timeframe of approximately eighteen months, and appoint Objective Leads for each goal. […]
Each objective will be documented with measurable goals, and the objective lead is responsible for coordinating efforts to reach those goals, evaluating and reporting on progress, and working regularly with all relevant groups in Fedora to ensure that progress is made.
I propose that from now forward, all events and spending by Ambassadors should be directly related to the target audience of a Fedora Edition or to a current Objective.²
Each Edition has a Product Requirements Document which describes the specific use-cases it is meant to address and gives a target audience for each — Atomic Host, Server, and Workstation. We should not aim scattershot at general audiences and hope some aspect of Fedora resonates. Instead, we should go to events centered around these specific groups of people and demonstrate the solutions we have for their real-world problems.
Unlike the mission, Objectives are scoped to a 12-18 month timeframe, and are concrete and immediately actionable. Each has an Objective Lead who is a subject-matter expert on the topic and who can be a resource for identifying related conferences and outreach opportunities. And, by definition, these Objectives will be aligned with the mission and broader project goals.
You might be, at this point, saying “But wait! I personally don’t care about any of the Editions or Modularity or Continuous Integration! Am I left out, now?”
Actually, not at all. We do have many different interests, and there is room for 2-4 concurrent Objectives. Anyone in the community can put together a proposal, and if we collectively agree that it’s important, anyone can be the Objective Lead. So, if many Ambassadors feel there’s something Fedora should be doing that isn’t covered currently, there is a straightforward path — form an Objective around it.
An Objective is a statement of a goal that is achievable in a year or year and a half, along with a plan to measure the results. Objectives could be technical advances, but they wouldn’t have to be. Examples³ might include:
Fedora for Students:
- We increase Fedora’s popularity among university students through Install Days and new Fedora User Groups.
- Measurable Result: We will have 100 install days at Universities in the next 12 months, with Fedora installed on 10,000 new systems.
- Measurable Result: We will have 10 new Fedora User Groups with regular attendance in the next 12 months.
Fedora Python Classroom (For the Win):
- We get Fedora’s Python Classroom Lab into classrooms worldwide.
- Measurable Result: 10 professors or teachers new to Python Classroom using it in the next 12 months.
- Measurable Result: 10,000 views on YouTube tutorials based around Python Classroom.
Release Parties (for New Contributors):
- We will raise awareness of Fedora by holding well-publicized release-day parties committed to attracting and onboarding new contributors.
- Measurable Result: 10 parties held at locations across the globe with consistent branding and collective marketing.
- Measurable Result: 10 new Fedora accounts from each party.
- Measurable Result: 10 new active contributors at the end of 12 months.
Leading an Objective is work and a real commitment, but I don’t think that’s a problem for this proposal. In fact, it’s a strength — if there isn’t enough community interest to support an Objective, it’s probably not something we should be focusing hundreds of other people on, either.⁴
I suggest that Ambassadors as an organization focus on covering our Objectives and the Editions every year, worldwide. Let’s discuss this idea, and if we generally agree, I would like FAmSCo to adopt this as policy going forward. I’m posting this to the Fedora Community Blog, to the Fedora Ambassador’s Mailing List, and to the Fedora Council Discussion List. Since the Ambassador’s list isn’t open to the public, let’s use the Council list as the primary place for this conversation — thanks!
— Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader
- That doesn’t mean we all have to do the same thing, or even completely agree. Recommended reading: this great site on consensus-based decision-making: http://www.consensusdecisionmaking.org/
- Although this location may change soon, the current list is at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Objectives. Currently, Modularity Prototype (objective, docs) is the only active Objective, but we also are considering a proposal for Fedora Atomic Continuous Integration (objective, docs).
- Thanks to Langdon for suggesting non-technical Objective ideas. I’ve given one example focused on growing a certain user audience, one on promoting a particular solution Fedora contributors have built, and one on growing the Fedora contributor community itself. If you are particularly inspired by any of these, I’d be happy to work on fleshing out a full Objective proposal.
- None of this means that people are blocked from anything constructive they want to work on, even if it’s not something we collectively identify as a focus. We will have more success creating and sustaining momentum with a directed official effort, but as always in open source, I expect individual people to put effort towards what they personally find interesting — that’s as it should be!