Clarify that late reports do not shift the reporting schedule

Board Reporting Guidelines for Project Chairs

The Board of Directors oversees the official affairs of all Apache projects by reviewing quarterly reports from each Project Management Committee (PMC) and from the Apache Incubator, which reports on the status of its Podlings. While projects are expected to manage their technical affairs independently, the Board is responsible for ensuring that projects continue to operate as healthy, community- and consensus-driven projects that support our mission.

The chair of each PMC is responsible for submitting the report for their project on a quarterly basis, one week before the relevant board meeting, according to the reporting schedule at

https://svn.apache.org/repos/private/committers/board/committee-info.txt

Reporting late, or outside of that schedule as mentioned below, does not shift this schedule: if you were supposed to report in January for example, but missed that and reported in February, your next report is still due in April.

While in most cases the chair works with other PMC members to write the report, the report is ultimately the chair's responsibility to complete and submit.

The content should be committed to the meeting agenda in the board directory in the foundation repository, trying to keep a similar format to the others. This can be found at:

  https://svn.apache.org/repos/private/foundation/board/

Each report should also be sent in plain-text format to board@apache.org with the prefix [REPORT] and the project name in the subject.

Reports submitted in addition to the regular schedule are also welcomed from any PMC, should they have something notable to report or to request feedback on. In this case, the chair may add the report as an attachment to the end of the agenda and create a corresponding comments section as needed.

These guidelines are not a template; projects should not simply copy and paste these bullets into their reports. Rather, these are the topics that the Board wants to hear about to be able to evaluate the health and status of our projects. Not all topics will be pertinent to every report; however the chair should consider all of these quesitons when writing a report.

Points To Cover In Board Reports

  • Briefly describe what your primary software product actually does. [REQUIRED]

    For example:

    The Apache Xerces XML parsing library is easily configurable 
    and compliant with current standards.
    

    Note that this description should be similar to the basic trademark description your main website uses.

    See Brand Naming and Description.

  • Any issues for the Board?

    If there are any specific issues that the Board should be aware of, or to specifically address, then please call them out.

    It can also be helpful to clarify the converse with a line, "There are no Board-level issues at this time."

  • When did the project last make any releases? [REQUIRED]

    Regular releases are a sign of a healthy project. Reports should list releases made in the past quarter, along with the release date of each.

    NOTE: If no releases were made, list the date of the most recent prior release, so that the board can determine how long it has been since the project has made a release.

  • Describe the overall activity in the project over the past quarter.

    Help the board evaluate the activity and health of the project by discussing briefly how active the user and developer lists are. Are user questions being answered? Is there new development happening, or just bugfixes? Are emails regularly read and responded to?

  • When were the last committers or PMC members elected? [REQUIRED]

    A healthy project tends to regularly add new committers and PMC members.

    The report should indicate the most recent date on which a committer was added and the most recent date on which PMC member was added to your project, whether or not these date(s) were within the last reporting period.

  • PMC and committer diversity

    A healthy project should survive the departure of any single contributor or employer of contributors. Healthy projects also serve needs of many parties. Thus the ASF prefers that projects have diverse PMCs and committerships. IF the PMC has any concerns or perceives a problem with the diversity, then the report should include information on the number of unique organizations currently represented in its PMC and committership.

  • Project branding or naming issues, either in the project or externally.

    A project's brand — or name and logo — are an important way to identify Apache projects, and a key way that new users can become contributors. Is the project using its brand consistently? Are there third parties that are using the project's name, logo, or good reputation for their own ends?

    If your project's website branding has not been completed (see the checklist), then please note this in your report.

    NOTE: basic branding issues should be brought to trademarks@apache.org rather than included in the Board report.

  • Legal issues or questions

    While the Legal Affairs Committee at legal-internal@apache.org should handle any legal issues, be sure to mention any that occur in your board report.

  • Infrastructure issues or strategic needs

    While the Infrastructure team at infrastructure@apache.org handles the detail of providing needed services to our projects, feel free to include any concerns or strategic suggestions or requests in your board reports.

Things Not To Put In Reports

  • Do not let commercial activity related to a project dominate a report.

    Apache projects are managed by the controlling PMC — not by any third party or outside organization. Project reports should be about the project, and should not discuss outside organization's efforts unless they are directly related to the health of the project.

  • Do not include private matters in a report without clearly marking them (see below)

  • Do not use non-Apache URL shorteners.

    If you have a long URL you wish to include in your report, please use (only) the https://s.apache.org/ URL shortener to provide a shorter link. The use of external URL shorteners is problematic since Apache cannot control their future longevity.

Private information

Occasionally a project may need to report something privately to the board, but will not want the information to be published in public minutes.

Such information is welcome in your report, but please include it within <private> and </private> markers so we know what to omit from the public minutes.

The next level of privacy, is information that is to be shared only privately with the board members. For that, feel free to write directly to a board member who will relay the information to the board.

Other Considerations For Reports

Project reports are the key way to let the board know about the status and health of your project. With the diversity of projects at Apache, these guidelines can't cover all situations. Feel free to include any additional information in your reports that you think is important about your project.

In particular, if there are any "trouble spots" - even potential ones - that the chair or other members of the PMC see in the project, be sure to include a note about them in your board reports.

Finally, if you find yourself with a project that doesn't seem like it has enough activity to create much of a report, then be sure to report that fact. A healthy project should be aware if they are headed for the Apache Attic. Moving to the Attic isn't failure; it's simply recognizing that the project may have matured, drifted off, or has been superceded by other technologies, and we should recognize that fact.

The Board relies on reports from project chairs to be able to understand the status and health of projects. If the Board cannot get a strong feeling about how your project is doing, then we will be contacting you for a follow-up report in the near future.