Regular meeting of the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors, 12 October 2020, 15:00 UTC





Discussion agenda

  • Status of secretarial duties
  • Review monthly meeting cadence
  • Review in-progress tickets
  • Strategy discussion
    • Review progress so far
    • Introduction to OKRs
    • Discussion: mission, vision, objectives


  • Status of secretarial duties
    • Backlog has been published.
    • Kat: can we reduce approval time?
    • Philip: current process was designed when we had weekly meetings.
    • Kat to start an issue in GitLab to review the process.

  • Review monthly meeting cadence

    • Kat: it's harder to keep track of everything with monthly meetings than it had been with weekly or fortnightly meetings.
    • Rob: is Neil getting enough feedback/communication from the board?
    • Neil: monthly meetings work well in terms of communication from the board. Anything else can be followed up by email
    • Rob: from my perspective, enjoying the reduced time commitment and increased focus, but too soon to say whether it's working well enough for the Foundation. need to keep an eye on reporting to ensure that Board (and wider community) has visibility to ongoing initiatives.
    • Kat: the new format does work well to make sure we don't let longer term plans fall through the cracks
    • Allan: structure works well, but we're lacking content. We are seeing a drop in activities that individual directors are leading. We need to make sure that we are delegating more and letting board members lead initiatives.
    • Philip: Can we plan the dates of the year's meetings in advance?
    • Allan: They are always the second Monday of the month. I'll send a list around.
  • Review in-progress tickets
    • Follow up on mailing list.

[Shaun leaves]

  • Strategy discussion
    • Allan reviews progress so far
    • Introduction to OKRs
      • Rob: a measurable way of tracking goals by using initiatives with measurable key results to achieve objectives set as part of the strategy. Activities which support the Foundation's objectives can then be handed out to teams/employees.
    • Discussion: mission, vision, objectives
      • Gareth: I helped the board work through some of the strategy brainstorming in February. Executive coach. Help people with culture, mission, vision, etc.
      • Round table on Vision and Mission statements:
      • Federico: Drop "promote" from vision statement. Maybe we should include making it financially attractive to develop for GNOME.
      • Felipe: Great that we are adopting a framework to have these conversations. Important to address "sustainability"
      • Kat: This is a concrete way to set out actions/initiatives which will help us achieve our objectives.
      • Philip: Feel that it's a reversal of ownership of goals (the board was hands off previously regarding implementation) and it's a good process to arrive at goals.
      • Rob: This will give Neil a more opinionated steer from the board which will help Neil set out how we will achieve our objectives.
      • Gareth: board needs to hand over a set of outcomes to Neil and Neil can then return to the board with a set of actions that can be taken to get there which the board can then approve.
      • Allan: "respects and empowers" in the vision statement could benefit from a bit of work. We should look at this more from an ecosystem point of view rather than a platform. Is the mission too insular? And is "access" sufficient - do we not want to address appeal and desirability too?
      • Neil: it is important that the board owns this top level initiative. Mission statement - feels wordy and long, addressing community and ecosystem. It would be useful to have sustainability in there too, but not sure how to fit three concepts in there.
      • Gareth: it needs to be a focus that's kept in mind so it doesn't become just a statement on the website. You could add the concept of sustainability without making it too wordy.
      • Rob: "<VERB> a diverse and sustainable ecosystem around free software desktop and applications."

      • Federico: how can we improve feedback loop from users who customise the software to be useful for them and upstream? How to make it easier for those people to contribute? Should this process be central to the mission statement, or a second-level objective?
      • Gareth: Is this already established in the fact that this is Free Software?
      • Federico: Rust community makes these contributions more visible. The process is GNOME is very informal in comparison and not well defined.
      • Rob: if we're inclusive, we end up with diversity. Diversity and inclusion are mission-level goals, and we should go into more details in the objectives.
    • Objective suggestions:
      • Rob: inclusive contribution process with financial incentive/compensation
        • Philip: take it broader. Allow people to participate regardless of employment/free time status.
      • Philip: getting our accessibility back to top notch.
      • Kat: make it easy for anyone to contribute
      • Felipe: produce an ecosystem that respects user privacy
      • Federico: always have excellent development documentation
      • Allan: have an inspiring and attractive public image
      • Rob: sustainable and well run foundation / invest in channels to grow user base
      • Philip: stay competitive with cutting edge technology from proprietary tech
      • Felipe: continue to catalyse projects and new technologies
      • Federico: have a pulse on how people move around with regards to joining/leaving the project
      • Allan: be in a place where we are aware of and tackle structural issues that we and similar projects face
      • Allan: engage employers - both existing and new potential ones
      • Kat: be versatile enough to be engaging to a diverse community
    • Gareth: Some of the above are more end points/outcomes and some initiatives. Sort list into outcome/tasks. If tasks are not connected to an outcome, rewrite it.
    • Allan: who will do what/when?
    • Rob: working group to refine the objectives. Endless have offered to use some of their funds towards this. Get some perspective from the industry outside the Free Software community.
    • Rob will take on the task of agreeing an ultimate objective with the board.
    • Allan: bring this into every monthly call until it is defined to keep the momentum up?
    • Felipe and Kat interested in joining the working group to refine objectives

[Rob leaves]

  • Kat to set up call for working group (Allan will join too)
  • Allan: working group should aim to report back at next month's meeting
  • Gareth: good idea to use the monthly call to get the vision and mission finished.


Next meeting will be 9th November 2020, 15:00 - 17:00 UTC. We will have a quarterly finance meeting, including a finance report.

FoundationBoard/Minutes/20201012 (last edited 2020-11-17 18:56:24 by PhilipChimento)