[Linux-aus] Candidacy Support Statement - President or Ordinary Council Member

Tennessee Leeuwenburg tleeuwenburg at gmail.com
Wed Dec 7 21:25:21 AEDT 2016

I haven't read most of the thread. I read the bit where our nominated,
voted representatives are fending off accusations of being benevolent
dictators, and then a bit of the rest. We voted for them, there's no
dictatorship, but our leaders are benevolent. I support the current
leadership fully, and I support the process by which they were elected.

Having been involved in organising many things* I now ask the question of
"what is a person's highest value function"? When it comes to this issue,
what's the highest value function of everyone concerned?

I would strongly prefer the LCA leadership to be focused on the driving
narratives of the organisation. That is (in my own opinion only) --
organising conferences, advocating for Linux, supporting user groups and
supporting the community.

Wrangling a project like an infrastructure upgrade is always harder than
you think, requires a lot of commitment, and merits being done well. The
work is often tricky, requires an attention to detail, and needs focus.

For me, the question of value for money isn't about the cost of the
solution as much as the value of the time of those in leadership. If this
approach allows the committee to most efficiently use their time in office,
then I fully support the strategy.

I do also support the questioning to make sure the committee has actually
run the numbers to make sure this is affordable. To my eyes, 23k is not a
big number for what's being proposed. So long as the money is in the bank
(so to speak), then barring the risk of a major project blowout, I think
it's well worth the recouped time and attention from the committee to get
this done.

But mostly I just want to say how grateful I am that this organisation
exists, and that we have great leadership.

On 7 December 2016 at 17:57, Kathy Reid <kathy at kathyreid.id.au> wrote:

> Thanks everyone - this sort of robust debate and evaluation of our actions
> I feel helps us both ensure we're doing the right things, and doing them
> the right way. This feedback is welcome - it is passionate and well argued.
> The opposite of passion is apathy.
> TL;DR a round table / hangout / teleconf with passionate people is a great
> idea - thanks Hugh for suggesting it.
> AJ, your email questioned a number of actions and directions and I'd like
> to take the opportunity to respond if I may.
> Why choose CiviCRM, choose to have it outsourced not hosted internally,
> and why does it cost $23k?
> To begin the selection process, we identified a set of user requirements,
> written as user stories (ie. 'As the Secretary I want to do X function to
> get Y outcome). This set of requirements was tested against both existing
> MemberDB and CiviCRM demo instance. We didn't go further than CiviCRM (for
> instance SugarCRM or other open CRMs) because the fit with CiviCRM was
> strong, and it also ran on Drupal (our existing web platform), and there
> are several CiviCRM providers in Australia. Should we have looked wider for
> other CRM tools that fit the requirements? Possibly, but each assessment is
> time - and we are stretched for time.
> We also (at Hugh's prompting - all credit here) looked at whether MemberDB
> rewrite would be a suitable option. The writer of MemberDB advised us to
> adopt CiviCRM.
> We sought three quotes for CiviCRM implementation (the three CiviCRM
> partners in Australia listed on the CiviCRM website). One vendor didn't
> respond, a second's approach was appalling (requiring a signed document
> before a conversation) and the third, from a company called AgileWare, was
> thorough, methodical and robust.
> I have no relationship or history with AgileWare.
> So, to why we would outsource the setup and support of CiviCRM. Firstly,
> it's a specialised product. You need product knowledge to configure it
> appropriately, and undertake ETL from the other system (MemberDB). So why
> get it hosted externally? For the same reason. It's a specialist product,
> not say a vanilla httpd or smtpd - it requires specialist knowledge to host
> and tune it well.
> Is $23k too much? No, this included setup, configuration and ETL of
> CivicCRM and some training on getting the most out of the system. Both Hugh
> and I bounced this off others who work in the web space - as I do
> professionally - and this was considered 'ball park'.
> One point I'd like to make here is about *using* an open source system
> versus *running* one. While I agree that Linux Australia should wherever
> possible run open source systems, it's the Council and Subcommittees that
> have to *use* the tools that we put in place. I, and others in Council,
> spend hours per week on LA systems - they need to be easy to use - and not
> a chore. If there's an error, I need it fixed. If the system's down, I need
> an SLA to tell me when it will be up. LA is no longer a small operation -
> we run 10 events or so a year, with a turnover of over a million dollars,
> and over a thousand confirmed members, and a broad stakeholder group.  For
> example, to do membership renewal, we had to export from MemberDB into
> mailchimp, then we will have to spend several hours manually reconciling
> records, via raw SQL, in MemberDB. Not my idea of fun. The point is we're
> stretched - better systems help us do more tasks, quicker - freeing up time
> to do other things. These systems need to be stable, mature, and well
> supported.
> Is Kathy a benevolent dictator?
> This thread I find a little hard to swallow to be frank. We openly called
> for nominations to the Membership committee, and a cursory question to any
> members of the committee would answer the 'did Kathy railroad this through'
> question.
> I'm not going to apologise for having a plan - a strategic outlook - for
> the organisation. Quite frankly, I see it as the role of the Council to set
> this direction - with input, guidance and feedback from the LA Membership -
> and AJ has provided some frank and fearless feedback on this.
> I'd really like to see *more* feedback - what's working, what's not
> working, what we should be doing, what we shouldn't be doing.
> Kind regards,
> Kathy
> On 07/12/16 10:49, Hugh Blemings wrote:
> Hi AJ, All,
> Thanks for your considered reply AJ.  What follows is a bit of a combo of
> attempt to respond and open letter, please bear with me.
> I've had a busy few weeks and while I'm aware there were some outstanding
> questions from your earlier emails, I just haven't had the bandwidth sorry.
> You raise some fair questions about the choice of membership management
> platform, in particular going for FOSS alternatives versus something
> FOSS+paid for or whatever combination CivCRM might be seen to represent.
> I had understood that this had been canvassed by the Membership Committee
> and while I recognise Kathy may have a preference for CiviCRM, yours is the
> first suggestion I've had that she has allowed this preference to
> overshadow a proper evaluation process.  I'll leave it to her to comment
> further on that - not I hasten to add because I'm cranky about what you've
> said :)
> Candidly - would love to have you contribute if you've the bandwidth - I'd
> reached out once or twice and not heard from you so assumed you were
> frantic - which is ok :)  It'd be wonderful to have your expertise and
> energy back in Council or wherever you feel fit to contribute.
> The tricky bit with this will always be whether we can have tools that are
> truly maintainable in the long term versus varying degrees of commercial
> offerings. While in some ways unfortunate, the move to Xero does seem to
> have paid other dividends, but perhaps this could have been accomplished
> with Libre tools as well ?
> I'd, truly, love to be proven wrong in this, but given the difficulties we
> face as an organisation just keeping what we have ticking over with
> stretched but capable volunteers I'm frankly unsure where we go in the pay
> versus roll your own equation - I trust others smarter than I to research,
> report and implement.
> I'm going to suggest something a little radical perhaps too - is it worth
> convening an actual real-time conversation (say teleconference) to kick
> some of these things over amongst interested folk.  Email can at times be a
> blunt instrument ?
> Cheers,
> Hugh
> _______________________________________________
> linux-aus mailing list
> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
> http://lists.linux.org.au/mailman/listinfo/linux-aus
> _______________________________________________
> linux-aus mailing list
> linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
> http://lists.linux.org.au/mailman/listinfo/linux-aus

Tennessee Leeuwenburg
"Don't believe everything you think"
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/attachments/20161207/fb18fb63/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the linux-aus mailing list