Juno nova mid-cycle meetup summary: social issues


Summarizing three days of the Nova Juno mid-cycle meetup is a pretty hard thing to do – I’m going to give it a go, but just in case I miss things, there is an etherpad with notes from the meetup at https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/juno-nova-mid-cycle-meetup. I’m also going to do it in the form of a series of posts, so as to not hold up any content at all in the wait for perfection. This post covers the mechanics of each day at the meetup, reviewer burnout, and the Juno release.

First off, some words about the mechanics of the meetup. The meetup was held in Beaverton, Oregon at an Intel campus. Many thanks to Intel for hosting the event — it is much appreciated. We discussed possible locations and attendance for future mid-cycle meetups, and the consensus is that these events should “always” be in the US because that’s where the vast majority of our developers are. We will consider other host countries when the mix of Nova developers change. Additionally, we talked about the expectations of attendance at these events. The Icehouse mid-cycle was an experiment, but now that we’ve run two of these I think they’re clearly useful events. I want to be clear that we expect nova-drivers members to attend these events at all possible, and strongly prefer to have all nova-cores at the event.

I understand that sometimes life gets in the way, but that’s the general expectation. To assist with this, I am going to work on advertising these events much earlier than we have in the past to give time for people to get travel approval. If any core needs me to go to the Foundation and ask for travel assistance, please let me know.

I think that co-locating the event with the Ironic and Containers teams helped us a lot this cycle too. We can’t co-locate with every other team working on OpenStack, but I’d like to see us pick a couple of teams — who we might be blocking — each cycle and invite them to co-locate with us. It’s easy at this point for Nova to become a blocker for other projects, and we need to be careful not to get in the way unless we absolutely need to.

The process for each of the three days: we met at Intel at 9am, and started each day by trying to cherry pick the most important topics from our grab bag of items at the top of the etherpad. I feel this worked really well for us.

Reviewer burnout

We started off talking about core reviewer burnout, and what we expect from core. We’ve previously been clear that we expect a minimum level of reviews from cores, but we are increasingly concerned about keeping cores “on the same page”. The consensus is that, at least, cores should be expected to attend summits. There is a strong preference for cores making it to the mid-cycle if at all possible. It was agreed that I will approach the OpenStack Foundation and request funding for cores who are experiencing budget constraints if needed. I was asked to communicate these thoughts on the openstack-dev mailing list. This openstack-dev mailing list thread is me completing that action item.

The conversation also covered whether it was reasonable to make trivial updates to a patch that was close to being acceptable. For example, consider a patch which is ready to merge apart from its commit message needing a trivial tweak. It was agreed that it is reasonable for the second core reviewer to fix the commit message, upload a new version of the patch, and then approve that for merge. It is a good idea to leave a note in the review history about this when these cases occur.

We expect cores to use their judgement about what is a trivial change.

I have an action item to remind cores that this is acceptable behavior. I’m going to hold off on sending that email for a little bit because there are a couple of big conversations happening about Nova on openstack-dev. I don’t want to drown people in email all at once.

Juno release

We also took at look at the Juno release, with j-3 rapidly approaching. One outcome was to try to find a way to focus reviewers on landing code that is a project priority. At the moment we signal priority with the priority field in the launchpad blueprint, which can be seen in action for j-3 here. However, high priority code often slips away because we currently let reviewers review whatever seems important to them.

There was talk about picking project sponsored “themes” for each release — with the obvious examples being “stability” and “features”. One problem here is that we haven’t had a lot of luck convincing developers and reviewers to actually work on things we’ve specified as project goals for a release. The focus needs to move past specific features important to reviewers. Contributors and reviewers need to spend time fixing bugs and reviewing priority code. The harsh reality is that this hasn’t been a glowing success.

One solution we’re going to try is using more of the Nova weekly meeting to discuss the status of important blueprints. The meeting discussion should then be turned into a reminder on openstack-dev of the current important blueprints in need of review. The side effect of rearranging the weekly meeting is that we’ll have less time for the current sub-team updates, but people seem ok with that.

A few people have also suggested various interpretations of a “review day”. One interpretation is a rotation through nova-core of reviewers who spend a week of their time reviewing blueprint work. I think these ideas have merit. An action item for me to call for volunteers to sign up for blueprint focused reviewing.


As I mentioned earlier, this is the first in a series of posts. In this post I’ve tried to cover social aspects of nova — the mechanics of the Nova Juno mid-cycle meetup, and reviewer burnout – and our current position in the Juno release cycle. There was also discussion of how to manage our workload in Kilo, but I’ll leave that for another post. It’s already been alluded to on the openstack-dev mailing list this post and the subsequent proposal in gerrit. If you’re dying to know more about what we talked about, don’t forget the relatively comprehensive notes in our etherpad.