Board/Minutes/2022-02-S2S/Mitigating bus factors

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

Notes by participants. Might be enriched.

This session took place in parallel with "Parallel session: De-bottlenecking the board". A summary was provided to the other group.

2022-02-27 13:55→14:30 CET


  • Amanda McCann (facilitating)
  • Eugene Villar
  • Roland Olbricht

Not Present

  • Mikel Maron

Officers and board

Post-meeting addition of links and formatting by Dorothea Kazazi.

Collaborative notes

Bus Factors ie places where a small number of people are in critical roles

Dorothea had suggested this topic (it was discussed in a previous screen-to-screen meeting some years ago, which led then to the discussion of hiring someone as a Senior Site Reliability Engineer)

D: based on what board mentioned a few years ago, e.g. low number of OSM sysadmins
D: we have limited number people in critical positions
E.V: This also addresses the top-voted item in the 2021 community survey of keeping the core infrastructure and services up and running, which includes the people running it
E.V: we can increase the number of people in a certain position by hiring them, which is previous topic of fundraising
A.M: Not always increases stability if N people are being paid by only 1 funding source

D (chat): OSMF could have a back-up Treasurer for example (volunteer) or a community group that volunteers to help
R.O: Suggestions identify positions where we are limited: e.g. sysadmin, treasurer
E.V: look at D's suggestion, e.g. volunteer auditor. doesn't see people who are volunteering to be sysadmins
R.O: volunteer auditor is different from (backup) treasurer.
E.V: Is Michelle (OSMF bookkeeper) suitable as a backup
R.O: she has some access to bank details, but she might not be legally able to sign contracts

  • (situation where someone's in a critical role)
    • (what can we do to make that suitable)
  • Treasurer
    • Problem: If we need to pay something and the treasurer is unavailable.
      • Solution: More people being able to make payments
        • “able” = physical access to make a payment
        • and “able” = knowledge of how to do it
    • Try to find a backup treasurer?
    • Can for the moment being mitigated by Guillaume signing and Michelle executing
    • Provide Michelle more legal power for emergencies?
    • G.R: 3 people (Guillaume, Roland (Treasurer) & Michelle have access)
    • G.R & R.O: think that's OK
    • Amanda is listed as a name on the bank account but does not have online bank access
  • Book keeper
    • Question: Is this a bus factor? How critical is this? What happens if she goes away for a while? How quickly can OSMF replace her?
    • A.M: Ask Guillaume what the situation is here?
  • Sysadmins (OSM has a small number of sysadmins)
    • We've hired one SSRE (Senior Site Reliability Engineer), this means the person has more time
    • Still the SSRE should document all actions such that we can survive is he gets unavailable
  • Admin assistant
    • Theoretically, any Board member can do anything that Dorothea does, but there are some things that we aren't sure how to do since we are so used to Dorothea doing them on our behalf (like onboarding new Corporate members)
    • Action item: Check all of the tasks that Dorothea is doing and seeing if they are all documented (steps, accounts, etc.). If there are undocumented ones, then have them documented.
  • Lawyer (currently OSMF uses a pro-bono lawyer who has often been unavailable)
    • Hire a lawyer properly, or retain a law firm
  • Some Social Media accounts are in a small amount of hands _(This might be a CWG issue)_
  • CiviCRM admin
  • Board Wiki, Foundation Wiki, Board GMail, Loomio and so on

Action items

  • Board to check all of the tasks that Dorothea is doing and seeing if they are all documented (steps, accounts, etc.). If there are undocumented ones, then have them documented.
  • Roland to make inventory of the existing accounts and survey the sysadmins who have access. (e.g. Wiki)