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  • Mara Hancock 2008 Thoughts
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Like the other BOD thought pieces, this was originally written in March/April of 2007

The Sakai Foundation's 2008 will introduce new structures for decision-making and product management that help to engage an increasing number of contributors and to create a process that leads to a more stable and usable product.

The foundation (Executive Director, Foundation Staff, and Board) will create and foster a coordinated message in order to solicit and unite effort and outreach behind critical strategic initiatives. To this end, the Foundation will actively reach out to the silent partners in the community. It will invite and solicit new members to the table by targeting and acknowledging groups previously on the outskirts and reducing the barriers to entry.

A core activity at the board and ED level will be to clearly articulate Sakai's brand as a CLE, where that sits in the academic software landscape and communicate and drive initiatives toward that vision. These initiatives should vary in size such as simple LMS tools to larger integrated platforms and technologies which can leverage the Sakai product and and be fostered by the community but are not necessarily subsumed by it, thereby contributing to the network of integrated community source solutions.

These initiatives might include:

  • Increased ownership initiative -- No orphaned core tools in a release.
  • FLUID integration and UX leadership for Sakai
  • Creation of metrics for success, communication of these, and campaign to reach them (focus)
  • A Board focused on identifying and championing focused campaigns and community growth to foster a diverse and sustainable community
  • Clarification and documentation of relationship between the board and ED to create a healthy balance of leadership and checks & balances
  • More SCA involvement in supporting community efforts and use to extend capacity and to fulfill some critical path work
  • Established product release cycles that include QA and performance testing
  • Kuali Student partnership
  • Integration with content repositories and activity-specific views on this content

Under leadership from the Executive Director (ED), the Sakai community will establish clear and consistent procedures for participation in the various communities of practice and product deliverables, enabling foundation staff to actively support and direct those associated activities. The ED will work to rationalize the foundation staffing according to community need and expectations.

The 2.4 release showed a big improvement in a wide set of Sakai tools and a growing number of contributors. The benefit in the Community Source engagement is starting to pay off. Unfortunately, it also exposed the weaknesses in our QA and release management processes. It should be a high priority for the foundation and community to get the platform as stable as possible so the innovations can continue within the larger scope of effort. If the core application is not stable, the trust and adoption with falter.

Some Basic Values to be embraced:

  • A community and process that is open to everybody involved
  • Building a sustainable network of leadership
  • A flexible, stable and usable framework is required as platform for innovation
  • Foundation leadership promotes "good for the community" perspective and backs it up with its approach toward projects and communication
  • Information regarding community structures, participation, and product should be easy to find and use