Score Card: NetBeans Governance Board #19
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The NetBeans Governance Board exists to resolve community disputes and consists of three people--two of whom are appointed by the community in a general election, and the third, an Oracle appointee. Zoran Sevarac and Sven Reimers, along with NetBeans Senior Engineering Director John Ceccarelli have been at the helm as "Board #19" for the past year.
However, disputes to arbitrate have always been hard to come by in the NetBeans Community--everyone plays nice!--and many boards have had to expand their roles and take on other responsibilities of interest or as needed. The current board has been no exception.
"We didn't have any community issues to resolve," reports Sevarac. "So our meetings focused on sharing ideas about various parts of the NetBeans ecosystem that could be improved."
A common complaint by past board members was the lack of time in a given term to define, plan and carry out initiatives. The standard board term length was six months. Board #19 made the decision (approved by the community) to extend its own and future board terms to 12 months, allowing more time for a board to find its feet and be effective in the governance process.
The board also examined ways to enhance community involvement through trainings and plugin contributions.
"We were involved in the new version of the NetBeans Plugin Portal," says Reimers. "We discussed ideas around how to get people more involved, which led to enhancements in the usability of the Plugin Portal. We co-ordinated our efforts with the NetBeans web staff who were working on a new version of the Plugin Portal at the same time."
Sevarac also worked at trying to include NetBeans trainings within the official Oracle Academy program, to have NetBeans reach more of the academic community via Oracle channels. However, the initiative turned out to be more complex than expected for a host of reasons. One of which, according to Sevarac, was the difficulty in aligning the trainings with the Academy's roadmap.
With day jobs and other obligations calling, few boards get everything on their to-do lists done, and the work of improving the NetBeans project is a continuous process that doesn't end in a term. So, what will be on the list for Board #20 ?....
The existence of the NetBeans Governance Board matters beyond its stated objective, as it oversees multiple projects and addresses trends and issues of interest within the NetBeans community. Equally important is that the NetBeans community take an active role in maintaining the board by nominating and voting for diverse and enthusiastic candidates every year. Whatever each board accomplishes--big and small--benefits everyone. So, participate in the governance process each year and help keep the NetBeans project moving forward.