Wikimedia Developer Summit/2017/Role of ArchCom


Session Overview[edit]

Title: Role of the Architecture Committee

Day & Time: Wed @ 10am (Greg thinks he remembers correctly), GSDD sessions

Room: Oak

Phabricator Task Link: none?

Facilitator(s): Victoria

Note-Taker(s): Brion V

Remote Moderator:


Session Summary[edit]

Detailed Summary[edit]

etherpad notes


Come to a concensus for the next steps/formulation of the Arch Committee (Greg's rephrasing)

Discussion Topics[edit]

Notable exchanges (as pulled out by Greg Grossmeier)

  • [faidon] do you also see the architecture committee formulating the architecture plans as well as just advising/checking if things match?
  • [victoria] yes absolutely -- especially where starting from scratch. community of senior people who can advise very helpful.


  • [roan] scope is unclear as to what belongs in an rfc.


  • [faidon] question earlier why managers don't go to archcom. why is that? need to be more proactive? very rarely hear folks say 'hey this is an important thing, let's go to archcom'
  • [roan] counter example cross-wiki notifications, engineer did go. but not always for sure. if ask me.... it's unclear at what level things are appropriate to go (scope)
  • [greg] example: mobile content service
  • [timo] as a simple example, if manager asks engineer to do something they just do it
  • [faidon] but we do need to discuss why managers don't go to archcom... have to figure out the cause so can fix the problem.


  • [victoria] let's think about what it can be more than what it has been... most senior technologists in the company coming together and 'holding the line' on arch, security, etc -- so that management can rely on them for advice. may not always take it! but they should seen it out and make informed decisions. need someone in the foundation to help with that...


  • [daniel] <Need help with RFC *process*, to relieve the Arch Com members to do actual review and decisions>


  • [victoria] for big things..... as making a proposal to the sloan foundation, why not go to archcom?
  • [daniel] wes & toby formulated some of the proposal and came to me as WMDE, not as archcom member... (some of it predates full archcom though)


  • [joe] <snip> one of the things feel have a problem with aside from lack of gatekeeper: seen a lot of duplication of effort. Things done by different teams that don't know about what others are doing -- do same thing in different ways. No clear path to make sure use common path. One of the things we should have is more coordination: someone with holistic view of the system, can say 'hey this is similar to that approach, let's combine them' etc. Happens a lot! would like the archcom to help with improving that...
  • [roan] are you suggesting one of the roles of the archcom is connecting people that don't know they should connect yet?
  • [joe] perhaps
  • [] should the archcom have the ability to say 'don't do that it's a waste of time?'
  • [victoria] probably not as such, but could go to manager and tell them it's not ideal. but resourcing is manager's decision ultimately.
  • [mark] duplication of services for isntance is a problemf or _other_ teams, not for the team making the work. for instance ops has to take care of two services now... that's why want someone with holistic view.


  • [brion] we need to reform our processes so that driving the RFC process is not taking up 100% of our time. We should try to free up time to discuss technical issues. Having a 1 hour RFC meeting does not work for everything -- some larger projects need an ongoing discussion.
  • [timo] irc meetings work better for when need a lot of feedback directly first, justify things widely etc. for other stuff where we really to loop in with a product team, that should probably be more direct ad-hoc meetings, then post inf oon the list.


  • [faidon] couple things: 1) document what we discussed today in the charter! if things are changing, people need to know. 2) think long and hard about who should be on the committee to be representative. if as an archcom member one is working on something but _not_ through the committee some of the value evaporates.
  • [victoria] great let's work on charter .... let's give ourselves some time to get it right. will go over notes and send out some more ideas. once we agree amonst ourselves what makes sense, i'll take it to c-levels, and we'll have some support 'from the top'. thank you all! very important, let's get this right.

Action Items[edit]

  • ArchCom will work on a Charter for the organization, will share ideas with Victoria
  • ArchCom will work on improvements to the RFC process (wikitech-l thread mentioning this from Daniel after the Dev Summit)