[Owasp-leaders] Lessons from being on the OWASP Board

Martín Villalba martin.villalba at owasp.org
Wed Feb 20 21:05:21 UTC 2019


Hi Sherif, thanks for taking the time to share this.  I had saved this
email to follow-up and just got to it today.

For the issue of:  *Many times in the past a board member would place a
major change (that they feel strongly about ) a few days before a vote -
 and because the rest of the board haven't had a chance to review it, it
feels a bit "hey! let's do this today" - The discussion would take too
long, confusion would rise and the motion wouldn't get voted on. Beyond
that it would cause frustration for the board member who worked on it. That
also does not even include vocal community members nor if the staff have
the bandwidth to implement a motion (or know how to do it) even if it gets
voted on.*

Perhaps and easy fix would be to set refine the process as in  "you must
place your proposed change X weeks (4, 6?) before the voting date,
otherwise it will get pushed to the next voting date". This way the process
is clear to everyone, and everyone should have enough time to review the
proposed change and vote accordingly.

I'm curious to see what's the list and order of priorities the board has
come up with after having a couple meetings recently.  Could you point me
to the right place to read about this?

Thanks again!

Martín.


On Sun, Feb 3, 2019 at 6:36 PM Sherif Mansour <sherif.mansour at owasp.org>
wrote:

> Hey everyone,
>
> I've been thinking for a while of writing down some thoughts on some
> lessons from last year.
>
> First I'll say that I am very excited about 2019 on the board and what we
> can accomplish for the community.  We have already had an offsite, and now
> the ED & staff are working on a proposed plan based on the priorities we
> have set and we'll build a budget based on said plan.
>
> This is great.
>
> Here are some lessons I have learned from passing some motions - including
> having more than two global OWASP events & having Tel Aviv in 2019:
>
>    1.
>
>    Discuss the issue with the community: Be transparent, rip the
>    band-aid, and show courage. Articulate the problem and ask for solutions
>    (It is what it is).
>    2.
>
>    Discuss the issue with the staff: The staff are the ones who implement
>    a lot (almost all) of this work so without their buy-in or proposed options
>    - even if the vote passes - may not get done. It would be even better if
>    the motion makes their life easier too.
>    3.
>
>    Work with the board out in the open on a proposed solution - you'd be
>    surprised who turns up to lend a hand, and they ideas you get - just don't
>    be to precious about your ideas - pick what is best for the community.
>    4.
>
>    Give the board time to review - I usually present the board with a
>    draft solution to discuss, but only vote on it in the following month to
>    give people time to digest and ask questions.
>    5.
>
>    Respect and take your peers feedback to heart - No one has the exact
>    perspective as you, be considerate, understand what people's red-lines are
>    and craft a proposal that keeps that in mind.
>
> So - with buy-in and feedback from both the community and staff - BoD
> members would have some confidence in the motion - by being transparent and
> giving board members time to think about it, it could cause limited issues
> during the vote - and finally if you factor the board members concerns in
> the motion (or as best as you can) then you should be fine.
>
>
> Keep in mind that anything we do - we have to do it as 7 people and not
> one.
>
> This is sometimes the challenge I have seen in the past as a source of
> frustration.
>
> All 7 of us have different perspectives on what will help the foundation
> the most - and each has different interests. So not all of us will have the
> same level of enthusiasm for the same thing (naturally), but it's important
> to push each other forward, be constructive and think of the foundation's
> best interest.
>
> I should know, I've put one or two motions last year.
>
> Many times in the past a board member would place a major change (that
> they feel strongly about ) a few days before a vote -  and because the rest
> of the board haven't had a chance to review it, it feels a bit "hey! let's
> do this today" - The discussion would take too long, confusion would rise
> and the motion wouldn't get voted on. Beyond that it would cause
> frustration for the board member who worked on it. That also does not even
> include vocal community members nor if the staff have the bandwidth to
> implement a motion (or know how to do it) even if it gets voted on.
>
>
> As I look back at this email I am guessing some of you might be exhausted
> just thinking about it. I'll be honest by heart sank when Tanya decided not
> to run, because I thought she would (and still can be) amazing as a board
> member. However the rewards are worth it.
>
> --
>
> Sherif Mansour
> OWASP Global Board Member & OWASP London Chapter Leader
> Site: https://www.owasp.org/index.php/London
> Email: sherif.mansour at owasp.org
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