Ortelius Blog

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Open-Source Governance Board

An Open-Source Governance Board - Our Journey

Open-Source Governance Boards are critical to the success of open-source projects. As excitement continues to grow around Open-Source projects in the DevOps space, it is essential that Open-Source projects continue to steer transparency, fairness, accountability and remain inclusive, for everything from decision-making to defects in the code. One step toward communicating commitment towards these values is through establishing an open-source Governance Board. Ortelius is taking this step and here is how we defined our governance process.

Let’s talk about our starting point

We started defining the Ortelius open-source Governance Board by performing an assessment of existing open-source governance models in practice, taking into account the Ortelius community, project purpose, and vision of the founders. Defining the Ortelius’s governance depended on various factors, but most important was to steer a dialog around the purpose of the open-source Governance Board. Community contributors came together to outline it early. At Ortelius, we built consensus on various perspectives to create a shared purpose which can serve as guiding principles for the board, such as:

  • What are the needs of users and committers?
  • How is the market changing and what are the commercial needs?

We also looked at the future of the open-source Governance Board. As the composition of the Ortelius Board changes over time, we wanted to ensure that the balance of viewpoints is maintained. As a community, we acknowledged that the board’s composition and responsibilities are intended to serve the community. It was essential to take time to engage the community and collectively outline the purpose in order to create a modern approach towards board stewardship. The new Ortelius Board’s key objective includes the following:

  • To ensure that the open-source Governance Board reflects “the will of project participants” instead of just being self-appointed.
  • To ensure that the open-source Governance Board reflects the balance of different viewpoints — the needs of users; of committers; of organizations, both large and small; of commercial interests.
  • Maintain stability and avoid sudden direction changes.
  • To ensure the community is diverse and inclusive.

The Ortelius community realized that having an effective board would mean more focus on the two pillars - transparency and accountability. The goal of the Ortelius Board is to highlight that focus, and communicate our intent to commit to these aligned values. We took time to review our by-laws and proposed structure of the governance board which includes ‘guest’ non-binding members to steer more engagement into the process of continuous improvement and ensuring a continuous feedback loop for non-board member input.

Modern approach board stewardship for Open-Source Projects

Further into the process of defining our new open-source Governance Board, we started a dialog on aspects of operation of the Board. The result created the prospect of additional Officer roles that can be determined by the Board. For example, with the rise of key risks associated with security, it is evident risk & security governance is part of strategic oversight from the board perspective. The Board can elect a Security Officer for oversight, or a Product Manager to ensure engagement and collaboration around the Roadmap. The Board will have the option to define these roles as needed, or other roles that may be required to address the continued progression of the Ortelius Community.

Creating a solid foundation of the Ortelius Board starts with defining a consistent structure and electing our Board Members with an inclusive process. Core to the Ortelius Board is the definition of shared goals, inclusive composition and rotation of members. We also recognized that the composition and structure may evolve with the maturity of the project. We encourage our community to provide us insights to further strengthen our core, with continuously improving overall governance of the Ortelius open-source project.

To learn more about the Ortelius Governance By-Laws - visit the Guidelines page.

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