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Knative working group processes and guidelines
This document describes the processes we use to manage the Knative working groups. This includes how they are formed, how leads are established, how they are run, etc.
- Why working groups?
- Proposing a new working group
- Setting up a working group
- Running a working group
Why working groups?
Knative working groups are organizations responsible for the design and implementation of large architectural aspects of the overall Knative project. Working groups operate with a fair amount of autonomy within the broader scope of the project. They tend to be long-lived, representing major initiatives over Knative’s lifetime.
Some working groups focus on specific technologies. Other working groups are cross-cutting in nature.
The technical oversight committee is responsible for the Knative project as a whole. It sets the overall direction of the project, helps make crosscutting architectural decisions, helps establish and dissolve working groups, and helps ensure all working groups are generally rowing in the same direction
Although working groups are relatively lightweight structures, we want to keep the number of working groups low in order to keep things manageable.
Proposing a new working group
Generally, working groups should be founded once sufficient community interest and discussion has occurred that there is general agreement that:
The problem space is interesting and is worth long-term investment by Knative
The problem is not well-covered by any of the existing chartered WGs
Note that “code dumps” are unlikely to be accepted as the beginning of a working group, though they can be useful to start a conversation. For most topics that meet the bar for a new WG, it's likely that other participants in the community have ideas and opinions, and up-front conversations can help to focus the shape and scope of the solution space.
The TOC and existing WGs should enable these conversations (e.g. setting up one-off meetings, creating slack channels, etc). Once the community has identified a substantial architectural area which would benefit from long-lived, concerted and focused design, then you should consider creating a new working group. To do so, you need to:
Create a charter. This should be a few paragraphs explaining:
The mission of the working group
The goals of the working group (problems being solved)
The scope of the working group (topics, subsystems, code repos, areas of responsibility). Also include items which are out of scope. The TOC will be looking at this to make sure that there are appropriate touch-points and contracts between WGs when considering larger problems.
Here are some example charters to help indicate the expected size of the document. The main things that the TOC will be looking for are:
A typical WG charter is around 3 pages using and bulleted lists for goals, scope, and roadmap.
Nominate an initial set of leads. The leads set the agenda for the working group and serve as final arbiters on any technical decision. See below for information on the responsibilities of leads and requirements for nominating them.
Prepare a Roadmap. Create a preliminary 3 month roadmap for what the working group would focus on.
Send an Email. Write up an email with your charter, nominated leads, and roadmap, and send it to knative-tech-oversight@. The technical oversight committee will evaluate the request and decide whether the working group should be formed, whether it should be merely a subgroup of an existing working group, or whether it should be subsumed by an existing working group.
Setting up a working group
Once approval has been granted by the technical oversight committee to form a working group, the working group leads need to take a few steps to establish the working group:
Create a Google Drive Folder. Create a folder to hold your working group documents within this parent folder. Call your folder “GROUP_NAME”.
Create a Meeting Notes Document. Create a blank document in the above folder and call it “GROUP_NAME Group Meeting Notes”.
Create a Roadmap Document. Create a document in the above folder and call it “GROUP_NAME Group Roadmap”. Put your initial roadmap in the document.
Create a Wiki. Create a wiki page on GitHub titled “GROUP_NAME Design Decisions”. This page will be used to track important design decisions made by the working group.
Create a Public Google Group. Call the group “knative-group_name” (all in lowercase, dashes for spaces). This mailing list must be open to all.
Schedule a Recurring Meeting. Create a recurring meeting (weekly or bi-weekly, 30 or 60 minutes) and call the meeting GROUP_NAME Group Sync-Up”. Attach the meeting notes document to the calendar event. Generally schedule these meetings between 9:00AM to 2:59PM Pacific Time. Invite the public Google group to the meeting.
Register the Working Group. Go to WORKING-GROUPS and add your working group name, the names of the leads, the working group charter, and a link to the meeting you created.
Congratulations, you now have a fully formed working group!
Dissolving a working group
Some working groups are ephemeral or naturally reach the end of their useful life. Working group leads can petition to dissolve their working groups by emailing email@example.com. The technical oversight committee takes ownership of any artifacts created or owned by the dissolved working group. The technical oversight committee also reserves the right to dissolve or recharter working groups over time as necessary, though they will strive to first discuss this in committee meetings and open community discussion.
Each working group should have at least 2 leads, ideally 3, though young working groups may have only 1 lead initially. Working groups should strive to include representatives from multiple organizations as both leads and members. Working group leads must be Members of the Knative project (that is, have made multiple contributions to the project in the form of code, design, or documentation).
Please see the Community Roles document for a description of a lead’s role and requirements.
Running a working group
Leads are responsible for running a working group. Running the group involves a few activities:
Meetings. Prepare the agenda and run the regular working group meetings. Ensure the meetings are recorded, and properly archived.
Notes. Ensure that meeting notes are kept up to date. Provide a link to the recorded meeting in the notes. The lead may delegate note-taking duties.
Wiki. Ensure that significant design decisions are captured in the Wiki. In the Wiki, include links to useful design documents, any interesting GitHub issues or PRs, posts to the mailing lists, etc. The wiki should provide a good feel for where the mind of the working group is at and where things are headed.
Roadmap. Establish and maintain a roadmap for the working group outlining the areas of focus for the working group over the next 3 months.
Report. Report current status to the main community meeting every 6 weeks.
The community design process is done in the open. Working groups should communicate primarily through the public working group meetings, through design documents in the working group’s folder, through GitHub issues, and GitHub PRs. Avoid private emails and/or meeting when possible.
In general, working groups operate in a highly cooperative environment. Working groups discuss designs in the open and take input from the community at large when making technical choices. The working group leads are ultimately responsible for setting the direction of the working group and making the tough technical choices affecting the working group.
Subgroups are ad hoc subteams within a working group with a special focus on a set of problems or technologies. We don’t formalize processes for subgroups, each working group can decide when subgroups are needed and how they operate.
Working groups can get blocked on specific technical disagreements. Leads are expected to generally resolve such issues and allow work to progress.
Sometimes, different working groups can have conflicting goals or requirements. Leads from all affected working groups generally work together and come to an agreeable conclusion.
In all cases, remaining blocking issues can be raised to the technical oversight committee to help resolve the situation. To trigger an escalation, create an issue in the project's repo and assign it to the @knative/tech-oversight-committee team.
The Steering Committee, as a last resort, provides the final escalation path for any repository or working group issue that cannot be resolved by the TOC.
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