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Sakai Foundation Board of Directors Conference Call

April 2, 2009


This document contains minutes from the Sakai Foundation Board of Directors conference call held on April 2, 2009.  Corrections, suggestions should be sent to John Norman and Mary Miles.


These minutes capture both the discussion and formal resolutions of the board.  Simply because something was discussed does not mean that it is the agreed-upon position of the Board.  When the Board makes a formal resolution to approve an item, it will be noted as such in the minutes.  If there is no such notation, readers should assume that the minutes are simply the notes of the Board discussions.


Board members present:  John Norman, Josh Baron, Clay Fenlason, Lance Speelmon, Jutta Treviranus, Lois Brooks, Michael Korcuska (ex-officio), Mary Miles (staff)


Board members absent:  John Norman, Joseph Hardin


Topic:  Executive Director Update

Finance: Cash balances are improved and the Foundation is nearing completion of their financial involvement with the University of Michigan.  A review process for Accounts over 90-days old is ongoing.  A procedure has been established for dealing with delinquent accounts and emails will be sent shortly asking for intervention by board members in some of the collections.  


Process Rollout: Presentations were made to South Africa, Japan, and via two webinars, with another presentation scheduled at the European conference in Stockholm.  Michael continues to work with Kim Thanos on a variety of communication activities, including a plan for continuation of the roll out.  An informal poll after the presentations reflected mostly positive comments, however further definition is still needed to determine what needs to go through the process.  It's important to get K2 and 3akai in the process and continue to get responses.


Product Council membership recommendations have been solicited and are being sent directly to Michael.  Reminders will continue to be sent, and a special working board meeting has been scheduled for April 23 for the purpose of making the final recommendations.  Details as to how the council will function need to be completed and will be the first task of the Council.  Michael suggested the Council use the existing criteria for "core" as a starting point for building additional criteria.  First to enter the process will be Assignments, Gradebook, K2, and 3akai. A commitment of resources is still critical to the process -- asking people to contribute to a specific project rather than to the unknown.  By the time of the conference, K2 and Sakai 3 should be ready to go into incubation, along with some proposed new extensions to existing projects or new research project that could also enter this process.  The conference will be an important time to turn interest into excitement and commitment.


Hiring: Michael proposed the hiring of a Communications Lead.  The job opening will be announced within the next week.  In the interim Thanos Partners has been hired to help with process rollout, Sakai 3 communications, and overall information architecture.  The goal is to have someone on board by the end of May.


Michael also proposed hiring a Product Manager with the same timing as the Communications Lead, having both roles filled by the end of May.


The proposal presents a funding issue.  Sakai can't afford a Communications Lead, Product Manager, UX Lead, and a 2nd QA resource.  While the conference will affect this, another plan must be considered. Several proposed solutions were discussed, including additional fundraising efforts to target adopters for memberships and soliciting additional one-time contributions targeted at particular efforts.  Jutta offered assistance from Fluid.


Action:  Michael will set up a separate call with Jutta, Jess and Colin from Fluid to begin brainstorm how Fluid can help with this.  Following that call, Michael will bring back a proposal for a new plan for how to assist in keeping the design expertise inside the Sakai community.


Blackboard Lawsuit Response:  After a brief discussion on the issue, it was agreed that Michael should not spend a great deal of time addressing this.


Action: Michael will find the old patent pledge and do a quick re-write, spending no more than one hour on the response.


Connexions Conversation:  Connexions has contacted Sakai regarding finding a home for their project.  Sakai has responded that we are interested in principle, but needed agreement from the board.  Further details are needed prior to committing to this.


Action: Initial exploratory conversations (John, Michael, Lois) will be held with Connexions to discuss the incorporation of the two projects into Sakai.  These conversations will be held within the next 2 weeks with results coming back to the board for further consideration.


Next Meeting: Nominations for the Product Council are due by April 15.  Michael suggested moving the April Board Meeting from April 16 to April 23 to allow time to compile these names and make the contacts.  A sub-committee consisting of Clay, Lance, Stephen, Josh, John and Michael will review the names and report back to the board on April 23. Joseph will also be invited to participate in that sub-committee.  Michael will send the board a list of nominees and those who have agreed to serve. Board members were encouraged to also nominate people to the Product Council.


Action: Mary will send a notice to the board advising of the change of the April meeting from April 16 to April 23.


Topic:  Process for Requirements

Josh reported on a number of conversations concerning the requirements process and the need for more functionality-driven requirements. There is strong interest in refreshing the requirements process, particularly in light of the formation of the Product Council.  Josh suggested a series of phone calls that would lead up to a requirements discussion at the conference.  Michael supported this suggestion, adding that a Product Manager should be in place by the time of the conference and that person would have a strong influence in that requirements process.


Action: The suggestion was supported by the board.  Josh will work with the Teaching & Learning Group and the End-User group to establish the logical groupings of requirements that would be needed to take a project through to the Product Council.


With no further business before the board, the call ended at 2:19 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Miles

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