The Community Council decided to set up individual Team Councils for teams that have proven to be well organised and need their own governance body. Also the Community Council has decided to delegate tasks like Ubuntu membership approval to some of them.
When setting up new governance bodies, please make sure you set Subscription Period in Launchpad to the agreed term length.
Team Council member election
Once a Team Council is set up, the following process is proposed to determine replacements in the Team Council.
- We call for nominations, to be made to the team council or the community council in confidence. People can nominate themselves, or others, and the councils will contact the nominees to ensure they are willing to be considered.
- It is recommended to ask the nominees to add relevant information for the election to their personal wiki pages (eg: activities in the relevant team and specific interests today, thoughts about the most important challenges of the team in the next year, what you’d like to see change in the team, work to focus on as a member of the Team Council)
- The Team Council sends the full list of nominees with comments and annotations to the CommunityCouncil (in the case of the Developer Membership Board also to the Technical Board)
- The Community Council (and Technical Board) will determine a shortlist of candidates and set up polls accordingly so team members can vote. (currently Launchpad polls or CIVS polls are used).
- The polls might take the form of confirmation votes or of a race between more candidates than the available seats on the Team Council.
Expectations: Team Councils and Membership Board
Since the start of the Ubuntu community, the project has grown a lot. We have millions of users, take on responsibilities in various sub-projects and grow more complex every day.
To ensure further seamless scaling of our community, the two highest governance bodies, the Community Council and Technical Board, regularly delegate some of their responsibilities to Team Councils and Membership Boards. In each case, the Board or Council to which these responsibilities are delegated is acting on behalf of the Community Council or technical Board, and is accountable to them.
There are several elements to the governance of parts of the Ubuntu community, and the structure for a particular area may vary slightly to suit the medium of discussion or the discipline involved. The structures for Translation are slightly different for Forums and IRC, but the principles and responsibilities are ultimately the same.
In general, the structure needs to handle:
Representation to the broader community - what’s happening, why, and when. In many cases, representatives from these sub-communities will attend Ubuntu events to represent those groups. A good guideline exists in https://wiki.ubuntu.com/BuildingCommunity/TeamReporting
Recognition of competence and contribution - who’s doing great work, who’s contributing a lot to the project in this area, who’s in a good position to be a leader or help teams get their work done through coordination or goal-setting.
Dispute resolution - ensuring that we adhere to the Code of Conduct across the project, ensuring that differences of opinion or personality don’t become destructive to the work of the team. We have https://wiki.ubuntu.com/BuildingCommunity/DealingWithConflict as a guideline.
The general pattern of delegation looks as follows:
Team Council: In larger sub-communities or projects we would establish a dedicated governance council for that group. This group is less concerned with operational matters and more focused on the health of the community, dispute resolution, policy setting, selecting leaders and motivation for their team.
Operations Teams: In larger groups, there are often specific teams setup with authority or permissions beyond those of the normal user. The Councils carefully select such folks for their skill in the area and their interpersonal skills in handling fast-paced and opinionated work. For example, we have teams of moderators in the Forums, and operators in IRC, and the Developer Membership Board in the developer community.
Members Team: We generally are willing to delegate the recognition of the contributors who are making a “sustained and substantial” contribution to Ubuntu, to these groups. While we have regional membership boards that recognise contribution in any field, it is often helpful to allow a group to recognise those within it who are making the biggest difference - not least because they have more visibility on day-to-day contribution. The group members team is made a member of Ubuntu Members, so all group members are automatically granted Ubuntu membership. For this reason the criteria for membership must be the same in these group members teams as it is globally in the project: https://ubuntu.com/community/membership
Responsibilities and Expectations
The most important responsibility is making sure that their team is run efficiently and has everything they need to do their work. This includes staffing of sub-teams and facilitating of process decisions. It is not necessary for the Team Councils and Boards to make the decisions and implement them for the whole team, but at least keeping the discussion going and help to come to a conclusion. Make sure the wiki page of the Council or Board explicitly states the purpose and charter of it and which topics people might want to raise.
Public Council and Board meetings should be run regularly and predictably. These should be run in an open way, in real time and offer the possibility for everybody to add items to an agenda. It’s important to keep the team up and running and be aware of issues that might arise. https://wiki.ubuntu.com/BuildingCommunity/TeamIrcSessions can he ha helpful guide.
The Community Council and Technical Board expect regular reports of the activities. This guide explains the general process Ubuntu teams use for their reports. It is strongly recommended to make use of it.
Approval of members is expected to be seamless and expected to follow the same or similar criteria across all boards.
Sharing knowledge across Team Councils and Boards is encouraged. firstname.lastname@example.org is a good piece of infrastructure for that. BuildingCommunity/KnowledgeBase has good ideas for how to create a strong sense of shared purpose in a group.
Every Council or Board member should have taken in the Leadership Code of Conduct and are required to meet this standard.
https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/team-council-members is a mailing list for all Ubuntu Team Councils and Boards, sharing and discussing best-practices across sub-community borders can happen there and help improve governance across Ubuntu.
Staying on top of things
To scale our community it is important that the processes mentioned above are as lean and clear as possible and that the Team Councils and Boards are not over-burdened. The members of Councils and Boards are responsible for the well-being of their sub-communities and need to always have the “general idea”.
If it gets clear that the Council or Board is overworked, action items are piling up and recent worrying developments in their communities are not effectively dealt with, the Community Council (and/or Technical Board as appropriate) should be notified and a solution should be worked on.
You are strongly encouraged to make use of this process for your community to report community problems and for your to stay on top of things.
It is also important that all Team Council and Board information is up to date and that the Launchpad Team and Wiki pages are clear about members, processes and general expectations.
Keeping the board or council fully staffed should a high priority and expiry of its members raised with the CC a few weeks beforehand.
In summary, running Ubuntu is a complex job that requires contributions from many disciplines and a significant commitment to good process, good governance and good organisation. The Community Council and Technical Board occasionally withdraw delegated responsibilities if the teams are not living up to this standard, but they also offer help and support to teams that want to improve their leadership and organisation. Despite the many challenges, we have a wonderful global team of leaders, and many more earning their stripes.
Traditionally the question of how quorum was defined was rarely an issue, and some boards have formed their own tradition and documented it since.
If in doubt, the Community Council gives the following guidance:
Total the votes (+1, 0, -1) and if the total is positive then the vote is affirmative. In order for a vote to count there should be a quorum.
If you have any more specific questions or need decision making help, feel free to reach out to the Community Council.