[Governance] Request - Survey - Implementation process on higher decisions

Josh Sokol josh.sokol at owasp.org
Mon Aug 17 22:21:16 UTC 2015


>
> I think we need to create Project Summits in the form of events with the
> whole purpose to gather funds for projects
>

Please forgive my ignorance.  How does a Project Summit generate funds for
project?  Every Project Summit that we have had to date has cost the
Foundation money, hasn't it?  Can you please elaborate?

Look, Denver chapter has around 50K in their bucket. The richest Project is
> ZAP with 10k... but thats is the exception. Even worse when you look at
> chapters outside US or EU, mine has only USD40 dollars. Most projects have
> Zero Dollars.
>

I'm not sure I understand the fixation on what other chapters have in their
bucket.  They have these funds because they worked hard to obtain them.  In
the case of Denver, they ran last year's AppSecUSA Conference.  Just
because they have money in their account, it doesn't mean that you aren't
able to do things with the $40 you have in your account.  It just means
that they have to use their account funds first before being able to use
money from the Foundation pool while you would need to request funds from
that pool for anything over $40.  Any sort of reallocation just moves the
"ring fenced funds" issue to another account.  The model of chapters and
projects having accounts is not what's broken here.  It's the model of
chapters and projects saving their funds instead of spending them.  This is
why I voted "no" on the Summer of Code initiative.  It was giving money to
those who already had it and not forcing them to spend their funds first.
In any case, I'm not sure I understand why the amount of money Denver has
in their account has any impact on any other chapter or project other than
themselves.  We have tens of thousands of dollars allocated by the
Foundation to project and chapters on an annual basis, much of which goes
completely unused.  There is money available at OWASP for those who need it
and I have yet to hear of a situation where someone was told otherwise.

Yes but how do they know where to go, that's why the survey. The survey is
> the compass. And the leaders are elected to listed to the community.
>

I agree with this notion.  The OWASP Board should act in accordance with
the desires of the community and should be doing frequent checks to confirm
that initiatives are aligned.

So the committee concept in theory seemed like a great idea but in practice
> is not working because in my eyes, creating a committee is creating a mini
> board inside OWASP.
>

To be honest, I have been surprised by the lack of desire to participate in
OWASP Committees.  The community has said that they want empowerment and
the goal of the committees was to do that.  But, now that it's there,
nobody wants it?  Your example with John Lita follows the Committees 2.0
process almost verbatim.  The only difference is that it provides scoping
to ensure that we don't have competing, or even worse, conflicting
initiatives and it specifies that the individuals involved need to work
within that scope.  Without it, you have a loosely knit group of people
running around with their own individual initiatives.  At that level, OWASP
is just a funding source for experimentation, not a Foundation.  There is
no accountability, but the liability on the Foundation is still there.
Legally, we can't just have people running around spending money without
any form of guidance.

 Allow me  and let the staff know that they should support me and any other
> volunteers seeking for implementing their ideas ;-).
> Lets cut the red tape with committees and let people know that if they
> want to do something,
>
>    - Contact the staff.
>    - Set a survey and gather support
>    - Need more money? Set a crowd funding project @
>    https://www.kickstarter.com under OWASP
>    - Volunteers implement idea or project with the support of owasp staff
>    and other volunteers
>
> I'm not sure how this is that much different from a Committee.  Contact
the community via the mailing list and gather support, scope the activities
(ie. define the project), Board ensures that there's no conflict, do your
thing.  The "red tape" that you keep referring to is just a process
document that walks you through how to set up a committee.  After that's
done, the idea was to empower you to act within the defined scope without
going to the Board.  If we're talking specifically about projects, which it
sounds like this is geared towards, then it's even easier.  Register as a
project (so that staff knows you exist and can support you) and do your
thing.  If you need money, ask for it.  I'm not sure I see the problem
here.  I'm also not sure what you're asking for as it doesn't seem that
different to me than how the status quo is supposed to operate.  Is it
operating differently in practice than it should in theory?  I don't have
an OWASP project and so perhaps I'm blind to the realities.  If so, then
the specific issues need to be addressed by bylaw change, policy change,
staff engagement, etc.  So far, all you've said is "projects need money",
which you have access to, and "cut the red tape", of which I don't see
anything more than a step to say "Hey, I want to be a project".  Please
help me to understand.
~josh

On Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 12:04 PM, johanna curiel curiel <
johanna.curiel at owasp.org> wrote:

>  >I don't think there is anything preventing a project from doing the
> same, but I haven't seen it done at this point.
>
> I think we need to create Project Summits in the form of events with the
> whole purpose to gather funds for projects .Open samm has done this and I
> think we can try that. Fo that we need the support of the staff Business
> liaison, Event manager, just as they put their work and efforts in Events
> and appsecs. Here cut share between OWASp staff time and projects can also
> be done.
>
>  >OWASP has a project funding bucket.
> Look, Denver chapter has around 50K in their bucket. The richest Project
> is ZAP with 10k... but thats is the exception. Even worse when you look at
> chapters outside US or EU, mine has only USD40 dollars. Most projects have
> Zero Dollars.
> And the limits right now are a support but do not help to get important
> things moving like OWASP Academy portal, Leaders like Azzedine assist and
> show case his chapter or project or other more complex initiatives. Or
> major improvements or promotions to their projects.
>
>   >Remember that the Board is just a handful of leaders who were elected
> to set the compass.
>   Yes but how do they know where to go, that's why the survey. The survey
> is the compass. And the leaders are elected to listed to the community.
>
> And About committees...
> The only existing active committee right now is the Project Review (which
> I still call myself a taskforce). I haven't see much initiatives or
> participation from other committees. So the committee concept in theory
> seemed like a great idea but in practice is not working because in my eyes,
> creating a committee is creating a mini board inside OWASP. We do not want
> to create oligarchies in the end.
>
>   I thik we should cut off that comitee idea and be more practical. More
> like this
>
>   Example:
>
>
>    - John Lita wants to create an academy portal but developing it costs
>    money and resources that volunteers alone cannot be easy pull off(owaspa
>    project was the same and died, just like many educational initiatives)
>    - John must create a proposal with defined goals and how to reach
>    them. He joins other volunteers in this effort. No need to be a commitee.
>    -  John & Claudia create a survey and seek support of the community
>    -   If the idea has major feedback and volunteers, then John has the
>    support from the staff to execute including looking for sponsors using
>    crowdsource funding portals
>    - Staff monitors development and results of the actions taken
>    - Staff reports results to the community back
>
> This is in my eyes how I have been working in the end, because , as
> volunteers, available time mostly depends on one or 2 passionate
> individuals like John-Lita, which are more dedicated and the rest follows...
>
> Now if we want to change things, don't tell me to set a committee, because
> Josh , this has not work so far.
>
>  Allow me  and let the staff know that they should support me and any
> other volunteers seeking for implementing their ideas ;-).
> Lets cut the red tape with committees and let people know that if they
> want to do something,
>
>    - Contact the staff.
>    - Set a survey and gather support
>    - Need more money? Set a crowd funding project @
>    https://www.kickstarter.com under OWASP
>    - Volunteers implement idea or project with the support of owasp staff
>    and other volunteers
>
> How do we get this idea to action?
> Shall we create a survey?
> Do you need to discuss this on a board meeting?
> How do I get empowered and let the staff know that as a volunteer I have
> your support for this?(if I do?
>
> You see...how dependable I'm from the board to be able to execute?
>
> Off course I can always do this on my own but them I better do it without
> OWASP...
>
> Regards
>
> Johanna
>
> On Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 10:55 AM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:
>
>> Johanna,
>>
>> Thank you for putting your thoughts out there for everyone.  Silence is
>> not good for anyone and OWASP will be far more successful if we know what
>> our leaders are struggling with and make a conscious effort to improve it.
>> I think that many of your points are very valid and strongly support the
>> idea of polls to gauge community support for actions being taken.  I also
>> support the idea that the Board should be making as few of these decisions
>> as possible and putting the power back in the hands of the community with
>> support from the staff.  The Board should be the "compass" making sure that
>> we are moving in the right direction with the community and staff being the
>> ones actually pushing us forward.  That's not to say that members of the
>> Board won't have their own projects or initiatives, but they do so as part
>> of the community, not because of their roles on the Board.  The Committees
>> 2.0 framework was a first step in driving this level of empowerment back to
>> the community while maintaining accountability and providing appropriately
>> scoped actions.  My impression was that the Projects Committee was rolling
>> forward quite well under this guidance, but it sounds like maybe I was
>> wrong.  Are there specific actions that you have tried to take on the
>> committee that got blocked by the Board or hung up in "red tape"?  Are
>> there needs for funding that haven't been met?
>>
>> Regarding the project vs chapter funding schemas, I'm not sure that there
>> is a good answer.  Projects are typically made up of a pocket of
>> individuals.  Typically one leader with sometimes one or two others
>> assisting.  Chapters are typically anywhere from 20 people to hundreds.  We
>> provide members with the ability to allocate their funds to either, but
>> most associate themselves with a chapter rather than a project because
>> that's where they participate.  We also have chapters putting on
>> conferences with the goal of raising funds.  I don't think there is
>> anything preventing a project from doing the same, but I haven't seen it
>> done at this point.  Those are the two main ways that I see chapters
>> raising money.  Yes, there is certainly a difference in schemas and
>> projects will have a more difficult time, but that's also why OWASP has a
>> project funding bucket.  Money from these local events as well as funds
>> raised by our AppSec conferences gets budgeted specifically for this
>> purpose.  To my knowledge, no reasonable request for funds by projects has
>> been denied.  Just because there isn't money sitting "ring fenced" in an
>> account for the projects, doesn't mean that there isn't money that can be
>> spent.  It just means that it needs to be requested from the pool.  Yes,
>> it's a different model of funding, but the end result is the same.  There
>> are funds available at OWASP for everyone who needs them.
>>
>> There are obviously many things that need to be improved at OWASP and,
>> unfortunately, the Board has been tied up in rules, events, bylaws, etc for
>> a while now.  It's definitely not the "fun" part of the job and it is very
>> time consuming.  That said, I would argue that these are the things that
>> need to be changed in order for everyone else (staff, community, etc) to be
>> able to be better served.  We've made several changes to the Bylaws and are
>> working on more.  We've hired an Executive Director (Paul), an Event
>> Manager (Laura), a Community Manager (Noreen), and a Project Coordinator
>> (Claudia) just in the almost two years that I've been on the Board.  The
>> needle on the compass is set and, while it takes some time to right the
>> ship, we are getting there by giving our community the support it requires
>> to be successful.  So, here's my general thought:
>>
>> 1) If it's within the scope of a defined Committee, JUST DO IT!
>>
>> 2) If there's no Committee defined for it, CREATE ONE, then JUST DO IT!
>>
>> 3) If a Committee doesn't make sense, ASK THE STAFF FOR IT!
>>
>> 4) If asking the staff isn't working or we need to change a policy to
>> make it happen, LET THE BOARD KNOW!
>>
>> The Board should be the last resort, in my opinion, not the first.  We
>> should be the enabler, not the bottleneck.  I think that our leaders make
>> too many assumptions (probably based on past Board actions) about what
>> needs to go to the Board and we need to get away from that.  Remember that
>> the Board is just a handful of leaders who were elected to set the
>> compass.  We have a finite number of things that we can handle and our
>> Board meetings are typically overflowing with topics.  So, if something is
>> bothering you, I would encourage you to change it.  That's why, with the
>> David Rook situation, I encouraged creation of a new Committee to determine
>> a reasonable solution.  If it requires a policy change by the Board, then
>> we can vote on that, but asking the Board to take action just perpetuates
>> the oligarchy that you mention in your e-mail.  Instead of pushing these
>> issues up to the Board for action, let's have the community DECIDE what
>> they want and have the Board change the compass needle via bylaws,
>> policies, and staff discussions, accordingly.  At least, that's my vision
>> for OWASP.  Is that something that you can get on board with?
>>
>> ~josh
>>
>> On Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 8:11 AM, johanna curiel curiel <
>> johanna.curiel at owasp.org> wrote:
>>
>>> Members of the board,
>>>
>>> With the recent issue regarding David Rook, and my latest experience
>>> with red-tape, I'm proposing the following.
>>>
>>> My goals is to call your attention to these issues which I have been
>>> observing for a years and not as a critique to your work, but I think if
>>> you do not pay attention to these issues and DO something about them, OWASP
>>> will loose valuable community participation.
>>>
>>>    - When an initiative is proposed or launched by a member of the
>>>    board, this should be followed up by a survey where the community can
>>>    vote.Wether is a rule or money, these decisions should be taken based on
>>>    collected data and proper substantiation to avoid oligarchy
>>>    - When an initiative is launched by a member of the community,
>>>    especially when this initiative cost more than 10k, it should be
>>>    substantiated with data how this initiative will benefit the community.
>>>    Also should be followed by a survey
>>>    - Staff should help creating the survey and analyse the votes
>>>    - *In other words: do more survey to find out what the community
>>>    needs and wants.*
>>>
>>> My observations and where I think you need to give more attention:
>>>
>>>
>>>    - Board/Executive director should work closer with the staff for
>>>    guidance and empowering their role. I have the feeling that the staff is
>>>    paralysed waiting for instructions or following strict rules. The staff
>>>    should be motivated to take initiative and implement projects on their own
>>>    that can help the community. They should not be too dependent on an
>>>    Executive director or member of the board for this part
>>>
>>> As I see it ,OWASP is known for his Projects & Chapter leaders which as
>>> volunteers have contributed the most to set OWASP on the spotlight.
>>> Therefore:
>>>
>>>
>>>    - You should determine and implement better ways  to provide better
>>>    funding schemas for projects . This is something a volunteer cannot do. And
>>>    *nothing* has been done to help  solve this issue
>>>    - There is an unfair inequality in the way chapters can generate
>>>    funds vs Projects.
>>>    - Money is locked down in the chapters budget
>>>    - Chapters outside US & EU have more struggles to find support. You
>>>    should consider a way to support better these ones since their countries
>>>    are not developed in the area of security as countries in EU and US.
>>>    - Follow up: when issues like David Rook or a volunteer rants(like
>>>    me or others ) out of frustation, take action. Put it in the agenda and try
>>>    to solve and discuss the issues to improve the actual problems. So far I
>>>    have seen very little follow up on major issues and discussions raised in
>>>    the mailing lists
>>>    - Way to much attention to rules, *events* and bylaws etc. Time to
>>>    take action and take decisions and propose plans for improvements of the
>>>    actual situation above mentioned
>>>
>>> Being that said, and with all due respect to you, I hope that you can
>>> take actions and *execute* improvements that have been an issue since I
>>> joined OWASP 3 years ago.
>>>
>>>
>>> Regards
>>>
>>>
>>> Johanna
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Governance mailing list
>>> Governance at lists.owasp.org
>>> https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/governance
>>>
>>>
>>
>
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