Open source project management is different than inside a typical software company. It's an example of the purest form of leadership: you’re getting a bunch of peers all moving in the same direction, despite no formal hierarchy or authority structure. It comes down to building consensus, persuasion, and setting the right examples.
The Ember Core Team was formed in 2011 because even decentralized open source communities need leadership and shared direction. As our community and core contributor group grew, there was simply too much going on to keep all the work under the direct attention of the Core Team. And so multiple other teams emerged organically; first the Ember CLI team and Ember Data, and later the Learning team.
The work that all these teams do is equally important. But the historical accident of Ember Core being the first team left Ember Core with numerous varied jobs. It became the coordination point for both technical leadership and overall community support.
As often happens, the way things naturally evolved wasn’t necessarily the best optimized. The disparate workload was hard for the Core team to manage well, because it's difficult to simultaneously optimize for the very different jobs. At times it was also unfair to other teams, who were no less important, but had less of a say in some areas. So today we’re announcing a plan to reorganize in a way that attempts to address both concerns.
Moving forward, all the official teams will be known as Core teams: Ember.js Core, Ember CLI Core, Ember Data Core, and Ember Learning Core. The intent is to make it clear that we are all peers. In some areas this was already true, and in others we will work to make it true.
All that as it is, we also can’t lose our central coordination point, so along with these reorganized teams, we’re establishing the Ember Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will take the lead on community support responsibilities that were previously under the Core Team’s purview, while the newly-refined Ember.js Core sticks with the technical leadership responsibilities.
The Steering Committee will be responsible for things including, but not limited to:
- Owning the Community Guidelines and helping people stick to them
- Serving as the public-facing ombudsman
- Organizing events and conferences
- Supporting local meetup organizers
- Managing Ember's brand and visual identity
- Facilitating cross-team coordination
- Owning meta-level work, like making improvements to the RFC process itself
- Establishing a framework and processes for each team to thoughtfully manage its own membership
- Dealing with policy/legal questions
The Ember.js Core Team will retain its traditional technical leadership responsibilities around the Core Ember.js and Glimmer projects, including but not limited to:
- Sorting out which RFCs have enough consensus to move forward
- Merging PRs
- Managing the release process
- Promoting overall ecosystem compatibility and upgradeability
- Handling security issues
The first concrete example of how the Steering Committee can serve as facilitators for community-wide projects is the EmberJS2018 road-mapping process. Everyone on Core is committed to making sure all that great feedback from the community doesn't get dropped or forgotten, and the Steering Committee is taking responsibility for making sure a clear community roadmap is synthesized. It's not the Steering Committee's job to set the items on that roadmap—that's going to emerge from work by all of the Core teams—but it's the Steering Commitee's job to make sure the work happens, by establishing helpful processes and leading the charge.
The initial membership of the Steering Committee comes from people on Ember.js Core who were already working on community support tasks: Leah Silber, Melanie Sumner, Yehuda Katz, Tom Dale, Edward Faulkner and Katie Gengler.
How will this change impact the wider community? Hopefully you’ll notice both jobs being done more effectively than before. Look for more great things coming soon, including a ton of framework features landing in the 3.x series, and a refresh of the public website and messaging.
Lastly, Ember.js would not be what it is without a huge community of leaders: addon maintainers, strike team members, RFC authors, meetup organizers, and more. And with respect to the duties now reorganized under the steering committee, especially to Leah Silber, who has been managing most of these responsibilities on her own as part of her Ember Core Team responsibilities since first organizing the very first Ember logo and website way back in 2011.
We’re so thankful to all of you for your work and for this incredible opportunity to build awesome things together.