Andy, Chris, and I spoke earlier in the week, to talk about Andy’s concerns around the current org structure proposal; I’ll try to summarize:
(First, Chris proposes that we should consider a more traditional/familiar org structure, as a thought exercise at least. He’ll share this soon, and I won’t go into it here.)
Andy’s underlying concerns:
- Some groups won’t be willing to contribute to the community financially, if they have no direct involvement in the decision-making process. (Similar to when someone invests in a company, and wants a board seat.)
- We must clearly define how overlapping roles that are both in the Inc and the community leadership work.
Moving on to how to address these in an OpenMRS-y way, we like the principle of a “fluid org structure”:
“Execution of leadership within the community should not be stagnant based on an org structure, but rather should be driven by objectives and operational plans that have been presented to the board”
Trying to apply this more concretely to the relationship between community leadership and the Inc means that, fundamentally:
- the (community) OpenMRS Leadership Team decides on objectives (and implicitly takes on the responsibility of carrying those out).
- The Leadership Team’s primary goal is to carry out the operational plan made of objectives
- the (community) OpenMRS Leadership Team may choose to ask the Inc to support those objectives via financial resources, either paying for time of existing leads/roles, or by asking for additional personnel.
- the Inc’s board can respond by funding positions to carry out objectives, and those positions should generally be a voting members of the Leadership Team (to satisfy the board’s fiduciary responsibilities). (This is appropriate, as those positions are responsible for carrying out the OpenMRS community leadership’s stated objectives.)
Practically, applying this to our evolving Leadership Team structure, we think it means:
- Voting members of the Leadership team need to include Activity Leads (e.g. Lead of Objective 4 - Education), and not just Directors (e.g. Director of Software Engineering)
- This seems consistent with the newest version of the diagram I see from Terry
- We should be explicit about this “flow of control” between the (community) Leadership Team and the Inc.
-Darius, Andy, and Chris, pairing
[This is just Darius now; we didn’t discuss this detail together.] I think the explicit flow of control is:
- the (community) Leadership team proposes an operational plan, which is predicated on a mix of
- (a) effort from volunteer and seconded community members
- (b) activity following from formal partnerships between OpenMRS Inc and partners/funders
- © activity funded by the Inc (out of general funds +/- fundraising)
- the Inc’s board has to approve (b) and ©, so the “whole plan” must be approved by the Inc’s board. But the board has no direct authority over (a).
- In the case of (b) and © the Inc’s board may satisfy its fiduciary responsibilities by funding part/all of the time of objective/activity leads (who would be voting members of the community Leadership Team due to the fact that they are leading an objective/activity)
- Also, some objectives/activities may be proposed by the Inc to the Leadership Team, e.g. originating in conversations about partnerships and fundraising; they would still be dependent on the community Leadership Team to agree it wants to carry out the objective/activity. (This bullet doesn’t necessarily need to be explicitly called out.)