Vision proposal 2016/Call 2

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User:Davelab6 provided the following summary:

In the period 0m-7m, you say that that there should be 2 units of analysis, for Sugar Labs and for Sugar, and therefore 2 separate sets of Vision/Mission/Goals/etc, but these should be aligned. Is this correct?

Then 8m-18m, you describe a 7 phase model of a firm:

1. Inbound logistics (capital goods, labour)

2. Operations (production, combination of capital goods and labour to produce commodities; Sugar Labs )

3. Outbound Logistics (distribution, shipping, go to market; eg each sugar release being minted, and then a distro packaging it, or OLPC taking a sugar release and combining it with some distro)

4. Marketing and Sales (managing perceptions, which for a software freedom project is often not sales as in exchange of commodities for money, but instead the success of propaganda at converting neutral people to advocates who agree with the ideology)

5. Service (Consulting, eg the process of working with schools to realise the value created in earlier stages which may be obvious to us but not to them.)

You then group phases 1-3 as 'supply side' and 4-5 as 'demand side,' and note that traditionally OLPC has taken care of the demand side while Sugar Labs has taken care of the supply side; and note that such partitioning of supply/demand often creates conflict in free software projects which have more appreciation for the left side than for the right side; and note that the demand side needs attention as it increases the value of the software created.

This all seems sage to me :) Did I miss any essential point?

Then 18m-31m you describe a 5 phase model of strategy:

1. Vision (long term) 'dream statement' of where we dream to be in a few years - the world we hope to arrive into, the big picture we are moving towards.

2. Mission (long term) what are we, what do we do, why do we do it - this should hold good for the same amount of time as the Vision; what exists today, that powers us to move towards the Vision

3. Goals (mid term) expected outcomes that are not measurable, eg "Increase adoption of Sugar by non-English-native-speaking children". These typically arise from a SWOT analysis.

4. Objectives (mid term) specific targets that are measurable, eg "Increase 8 translation locales from 80% coverage to 100% coverage before 2017/1/1"

5. Tasks (short term) actual activities that are assigned to people to get done, eg "Chris Leonard to organize volunteers to meet the translation objective."

You noted that typically the common focus of activity of free software projects is at the 4-5 level, with bon mots like "release early, release often," while 1-2-3 change slowly and typically get much less attention from free software project contributors, and the Sugar project isn't alone in this.

Again, I concur. Something I found missing from your presentation was a guide to how long (ie, in word count) these statements should be. What do you think?

You also noted that while there is no general recommendation for what duration to consider long, mid or short term - as this is relative to each given project - and the core idea is that the earlier phases change less often than the latter ones - you give some recommended durations for the lifespan of these statements for the Sugar Project.

I therefore propose the following concrete dates for these durations, that are within your recommended durations:

1. Vision (now - 2020/1/1)

2. Mission (now - 2020/1/1)

3. Goals (now - 2018/1/1)

4. Objectives (now - 2018/1/1)

5. Tasks (now - 2017/1/1)

You also note that this phase strategy is a framework for situating the SWOT analysis that Sean called for, that is, it is a method for defining Objectives. You point to the 2x2 matrix graphic on and note that Strengths/Weaknesses are internal to the project - aspects that we control - while Opportunities/Threats are external, beyond our control; and these can be combined to generate 4 categories of objectives:

1. S + O = things to pursue

2. W + O = things to convert

3. S + T = things to reduce

4. W + T = things to defend

However, since this is phase 4 of 5, and we haven't finished defining the earlier stages, I propose to postpone a SWOT analysis until those stages are wrapped up.

Finally 31m-33m you conclude that the approach to drafting a vision statement with wide consensus is not productive when done via email or an IRC board meeting, and you want SLOB and the community to understand there is a specific process you have in mind for developing these productively, and to be patient as this process can take time to wrap up; and you offer to do some other screencasts to present further details of that specific process.

This is awesome! I'm looking forward to the next screencast so we can learn how to participate in defining the vision productively :)


hello this is sameer me when I have been following a lot of the discussions on many different meaningless that we have for sugar and I AP and so on and something that stands out is that we seem to have a lot of confusion around the various terms that are you especially when it comes to the the process of creating a strategic plan so we look at terms like vision mission most of these terms are fairly standard of the occasionally there will be a minor difference here and there but it's important to understand what these terms mean across the board before we even embark on trying to define these things it's also important to define the scope in terms of the scope of the problem you're trying to look at so i figured i do a small short screencast to talk through some of these things I've got some slides here and this is fairly generic with lots of variations here done for different products but some of these things are coming from my own experience as a business school professor and working with some other nonprofits and open source projects where we've actually gone through an exercise to do something like this

so in this particular case the unit of analysis is the the thing that we're trying to work with this is the scope that i was talking about so for instance we have a lot of conversations where we see people coming up with vision statements for instance that talk about what they want sugar to be what they would like for sure their labs to be should XO ones be included in should we talk about raspberry pi what about sugar Iser and usually those email conversations and IRC conversations end up being a collection of a lot of so part of the things that we need to be very clear about here is the unit of analysis and as far as I'm concerned as a member of the sugar labs oversight board everything that I want to look at it through the lens of sugar labs so here's the point of distinction sugar labs and sugar are not the same sugar is a free and open source project which is which originally came out of the old pc effort and is now managed by a whole bunch of people contributions including code and documentation and translation and all that so that's sugar it's an entity that we've established to support the cause of sugar to foster it to facilitate it the whole bunch of different ways to support the project so for instance sugar labs is a is a project in the sense that itself it's under the software freedom Conservancy and so the the nonprofit status for instance is applicable to sugar labs so if if somebody said you know I'd like to give you a hundred dollars they they can give those hundred dollars to show their labs so sugar labs is the entity sugar is the project and the two are different and this is an important point of distinction because if you look at how sugar operates on the project it's very decentralized we do have a release manager for different relievers so somebody who simply manages a fair number of decisions but the contributions come from many different places and then we leverage infrastructure and I get get help and so on and so it allows us to decentralize the whole process and manage things in different spheres and still be able to so that's sugar but sugar land itself for instance follow the slightly different structures of for instance there is the oversight board with seven members there is legal counsel that is SF seed is accounting there is a 501 C 3 status there is a bank account with money and all of those things so it's not quite be centralized there are certain hierarchies that have to be considered because of the fiscal responsibility legal responsibility and and I think that's one of the points of conflict which is if we look at the two as one then we can't really use a specific model to apply to both and you have lots of confounding variables where they get mixed up so ideally the way they should work is that we look at sugar labs as one entity or a unit of analysis in this case and then we look at sugar as another unit of for instance because I've volunteered to be on the sugar lab door sideboard and my lens is sugar labs now somebody else who contributes to the sugar project perhaps your lens can be the sugar project and so we can think of two parallel efforts to do this kind of stuff which has come up with mission vision and so on but they need to be separate and then at some point you want to have strategic alignment between the two so because she loves was created to there needs to be strategic alignment obviously we can't have the two running supporting entirely different things so we the the one way to bring them together is to have that alignment between the vision of sugar and the vision of sugar labs the Machine sugar and the Machine sugar labs as opposed to saying that we combine the two and come up with one vision for the whole thing so that's I think it's a major source of conflict in terms of trying to determine what sugar lab should do and be versus what sugar should do and be so in this case I'm going to pick on the lens as the unit a unit of analysis as as sugar labs and so even if i look at the project called sugar I would look at it through the lens of sugar lips ok more on this a little later then come to this concert this is the value chain this is used quite several industry in fact and it's basically a combination of what is the

we see that the motivations to produce software are many but typically tends to

you know we have five or six pack is available so supply side is pretty heavy managing the demand side though is often a challenge because software is produced

so we have lots of these bits and pieces that can get weave together into a system however the demand side unless they really know how to use this is often far removed so i'll spend about five minutes maybe less on this but I wanted to bring this in because this also brings in the whole question of where marketing fits which is a very undervalued concept when it comes to many open-source projects free open source projects so this is the classic value chain this comes from michael porter way back it's got a whole bunch of things here in this inbound logistics operations are logistics so on and so forth and then you've got all these support activities so the purpose of this conversation I want to disregard the upper part that you know something we can talk about later and focus on what's here and so are we done the same thing so this is what we had this is what we have now we have five segments to this chain inbound logistics operations outbound logistics marketing and sales and service and you can think of this as something where this would be applicable to you know perhaps a product like a pair of shoes if you produce a pair of shoes you would go across through this whole thing so if you start off with involving mystic this would be the raw materials and the labor a few producing shoes this would be the the rubber the leather and of course the labor the people who come to the factory to actually build those shoes put those together in our case it would be ideas and code and documentation and all the contribution that we provide to sugar the project itself now for sugar labs it would be the kinds of things that we provided input into sugar labs again in terms of whether to the volunteer work or attend the next step is production and so looking at the sugar the project this would be where you bring in all the contributions from different people into a process where you can put it all together to make it work right so this would be the infrastructure where everything is hosted tested debugging this would be very much like the factory you would have to produce shoes then we have the next part which is the outbound logistics and this is where the so when the release manager says here the release 108 that's taking all the code that came in from here through the operations and then saying it will be basically free the bunch of things and say this is what we produce or for instance when all pc says we'll take a bunch of sugar stuff so this is the supply side process where you have raw materials and labor coming in production happening and then you do distribution and shipping so it comes out of distribution and shipping is effectively a release in our case of say sugar or an old pc image in case of all pc where they put it together and and shipping up but this is where with respect to software projects the software comes up especially with open source free and open source projects this is where the the output is the tarball perhaps or the the decatur depository and next comes the marketing and sales section so often in free and open source projects this is the part that is not focused on because a lot of the work is done on the supply site with the thinking that once the code is produced it can speak for itself and marketing and sales comes with an afterthought particularly sales because in many cases you know we're not selling anything that is no sale effectively but here the word sales is more to do with not necessarily transaction money but saying I agree with what you are saying and therefore I will you know move in the direction to adopted marketing is that link which is what helps us manage perceptions for any population or any so think of we we have these conversations about mailing lists being for developers vs teachers two very different groups and often developers are ok with email lists and IRC but teachers are not this has to do with managing perception because in the world of feature the way they manage things is software developers do teachers are not comfortable with a lot of things that software development people are and so even though the the software that is the teacher in this case is not able to see how that fits in her world and so they say you know this is not something i want to deal with it or perhaps i'll give you another example like when we start the semester let me begin with the textbook and some kind of a software package or tool that comes with the textbook for addressing certain certain problems you know in now if the software kept on changing every few weeks it becomes very hard to manage that class so there is expectation that the software essentially stays the same the the user interface doesn't change the the features essentially stay the same for the duration of a semester or so these are all very different perceptions that people have and a lot of the marketing stuff is about managing those perceptions and then that leads into sales if you manage those perceptions well then your target population will be closer to actually adopting and therefore be the sale section and eventually it is a fifth one which is service and this has to do with things like consulting and perhaps some of the consulting stuff in our case would be the process of working with educators working with principal school district people do to clarify the value proposition in a sense that there's all this good stuff that happened on the left side here the supply side but why is it important for them what role can it play in many cases it may be evident to us that match to them we may know that little there's all this good stuff and sugar that you can use kids can learn a lot of things but perhaps not evident to the other side especially the people who make decisions and so that's where this comes in which is the ability to provide some kind of a service beyond actually making the decision or making the sale where they adopt the software so there's a 50 some real well maybe come back to this later so the way this is split is you've got a supply-side on the demand side you can work on the supply side and produce a lot of software but if you do not work very few people would not what it is and so for instance the largest customer sugar is all pc but outside of all pc there are very very few people who and so until the right side of the value chain is managed and extended that is something that will not happen and that's where the details of marketing so on commit so this is this is the value chain instrument that may perhaps be useful to understand that the activities on the left side versus the right side are two very different kinds of things i often see this conflict or disagreement on email lists where marketing is something that's an afterthought it's a one-time thing you know let's go and raise some money let's do ads and those kinds of things and it's not quite that simple yeah it's a very different way of managing things and I also notice that many open-source projects will have a lot of appreciation for the left side but not so much for the right side and that's just the nature of how the projects are we spend so much time on the next site of the chain that it's kinda hard to look at the things on the right side now that on the contrary view for instance went to a business school you will see how the right side actually extends the value of the website it's not replacing it to start left versus write the value actually increases when you go from the left to the right and so to increase the value of what is produced by say sugar the fourth and the fifth blocks here have to be worried about

so this is a typical strategy crosses that you begin with vision once you have a vision statement then you look at a mission statement when you look at goals when you look at objectives and tasks and the way these are divided is typically along the lines that vision and mission is supposed to be long term and long term is a relative thing but in the in that relative scope original mission or long-term items that is that they should not change for the long duration with goals and objectives can be midterm so short and long term so there is an inherent hierarchy here and i suspect that because there is an it also doesn't lend itself relieved well too many free and open source software products because what I've seen in other products that I've worked with is that a lot of the work done in software development in these projects tend to be here and be the tasks section so lots of short iterative tasks so that whole concept of released early release often happens in this is this layer here about the tasks but as you go further up the exactly time to get slow because they don't change as much and because we tend to be close to the it's harder to them say oh there's anything worthwhile further up here so why bother but it's important to have this understanding that the strategy a tiered process with long-term mid term and short term so if i have to give examples i would say save vision and mission statements should be somewhere in the range of three to five years then you can look at goals and objectives which would be perhaps in the 18 month time frame maybe 12 month time frame and then that can be broken down into tasks of three to six months and either again to set of numbers but to give you an estimate if you're working on tasks which are in the range of three to six months it's hard to them switch and say oh there is something that does not change for five years but ideally you do want your original mission to mark change often because it's supposed to give you direction and that direction should be so if we were to for instance look at the old pc project 2007 is when they this is 2016 9 years out you know we'd want for things to stay stable for a long duration of time and then you know perhaps the nature of the problem will change as it has been the things like a whole bunch of other devices that are there in the market that did not exist back then and so you may have to them go back and revise your vision original mission and then follow the goals and objectives from that and the tasks so this is a typical strategy process the vision statement is it's a dream statement as in we dream to be this in X number of years where do we think we will be next number of years so again should reverse the sugar labs the door should be different but it would be along those lines which is maybe sugar will be used by twenty-five percent of the schools in the US are our it will be used by one-third of the the children of the world is purposefully nonspecific because it's something that is very hard to assess but you have to have something some kind of a place to be in X number of years so that becomes the vision and in our case I guess we're still working on what that vision should be so leave it at that and then the mission part is the water my mission statement is you know what are so and again i will specify that sugar levels of sugar those are two different things so then it needs to be a mission statement for sugar labs and a mission statement for sugar and they can be similar which would allude to some alignment and then questions like what is it that we do so like what sugar laps to sugar labs supports Foster's facilitates defense I don't know those are the different kinds of words to look at why is it that so what is the purpose of this and then it also holds good for the 4 X number of years where we would want the vision and mission to have approximately the same life cycle so by the time you think your vision is getting stale it would be time to devise not just a vision but also the mission so that they're both at the same for the same number of years I think this statement has multiple parts to it that may or may not qualify as the mission statement but again that's not my exercise to take on it's something that sugar Labs has to figure out so for instance the first part there sugar lapses volunteer-driven member yes and then it is part of the sfc and it originally came out of sugar lab what it is what it is that sugar labs actually does so vision is very hard to be and mission is based on what we know here and now so there is a difference of time which is mission is typically grounded with of course there are no guarantees but unless we figure out where we would like it's kind of hard to get there you can think of it as a bus where the mission the back wheels that actually push the bus and the vision is the steering column and the front wheels that actually provide direction to enable us to get there so these are the two things that are important and this is where we so this is we would begin with vision and mission and then move on to the

it is also broad-based so it's not very specific but it is a little more specific than the vision part so for instance increase the adoption of sugar in the education sector and now i'm not saying an option by what percentage or which market just sort of increase the adoption of sugar in the education sector so that's a goal to fulfill that goal for instance we would come up with specific targets and will become the objectives so specific targets that has helped achieve those so in this case for instance you will see increased translations by three percent in the next six months so that's the metric that's the number we are looking at and I can be may or may not achieve that objective but it's and so this is going further down in that hierarchy of being more specific now how do you increase translations by three percent that's where the tasks would come it and it would be like that these are the things we have to do so this is the activity part which will help execute or our help achieve those so you do this task this may help us achieve the objective which then these are also short term and so for instance it may be to sign a partnership

then comes this business of Swat strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats this is another thing we've done an exercise like this in the past i believe it's useful but where does it fit in the whole map so this is kind of where it fits we do the original mission when we start to willingly they have to come from someplace and swat is where they come so once you're done with SWAT you would pull a list of goals from SWAT and obviously you cannot go through all of those so you would prioritize and say let's take these four for these five and then build the objectives on that so let's see what happens with SWAT so it basically has about strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats again this is specific to the unit of analysis so if I did it's what i would do it for sugar laps and I would look at sugar labs as to what the strengths are off sugar labs and weaknesses and the the interesting distinction here is if you look vertically there is strength and opportunities of the plus points of those are helpful weaknesses and threats are harmful but more importantly we've got the other distinction which is this that strengths and weaknesses are internal to an organization where as opportunities and threats are external and this is an important distinction because you know what it's easy to understand what's this part has well basically the internal part is something that we can we can control because its internal to the organization so the things that we have within sugar labs are the things that we can work on external is something that's not in your control and so the most you can do is either avoid or average but you can actually change the external origin the origin items such as strengths and weaknesses so this is an important distinction in swat is that once you do so what you split and look at internal external understand that internal is what we control that the external so next and then you know in terms of doing the swot analysis we would basically say okay let's make a list of all the sprints the sugar house on the weakness of the sugar laps house all the opportunities that your labs has and all once you do that we start to prepare those and the pairing happens again internal versus external so we will do pairing likes trends and opportunities what are we good at and one of the opportunities out there you combine similarly you look at weaknesses that sugar Labs has opportunities that exist can we convert some of the weaknesses easily and intuitively easily so that we may pursue those opportunities so that becomes a conversion . strength and what are the threats that are out there what are we good at can we use our strength to actually reduce some of those threats and if not then just move on and then finally weaknesses and threats which is we know we are not very good at certain things can we actually defend ourselves from so you end up at four combinations pursue convert reduce and defend and so so you can pull out a bunch of goals and then prioritize them and say these are these levels are not so easy and you would pick the number of ones that can be actually worked out so these would be the goals from these goals will would

so these four items here would give us those goals the goals and objectives somewhat measurable so we can come back to it in six months and say what did we actually say achieve three percent chance of translations are about right and in fact that's where the reports coming in are translation would be very helpful because they have some metrics so that is the whole process I said this is very important which is the lens that we use so personally for me i'm going to focus on demand of sugar labs sugar is a project that i've used

extracting data from the journal analyzing it doing some analytics working on that stuff but at this point my position and my strength is with the organization sugar labs itself so that's the lens i'm going to use and even if i I'm going to look at it from the lens of sugar lap so this is one important point the value chain part is for your understanding of how marketing work so that's another conversation to be had but the important thing here is that the right side here the demand side is really what matters in extending the value of what sugar already produces and then finally this map here and if you vision mission is long term so even if you don't know five years that's a be 23 years vision mission will be three years goals objectives would be 12 to 18 months passed so would be three to six months and the third part would be to skip ahead SWAT to come up with some specific goals and basically do this so I may do water to other screencasts in the spain same area to to help i will also reiterate as I've done in a couple of my emails before that let me forward here that the the approach to being able to come up with a consensus-builder vision statement is not something where we threw out a bunch let me copy paste your cut yours and you know Adam glued together and come up - coming over with with a vision statement and a mission statement but it it's not something that can be done for the board meeting or just sending in fact there are lots of things that happen an email that tend to amplify the so there are different ways to do it I'm happy to suggest that support and even helped run some of those things but it is important for i think the the sugar labs oversight board and the sugar community to understand that these are things that have a specific process and they take time so i hope this helps