Combining Voice with Velocity thru the Cloud Foundry Community Advisory Board

September 8, 2013 Cloud Foundry

featured-cf-genericCloud Foundry is taking a unique approach to community that combines inclusiveness and scale with high velocity development. In this post Christopher Ferris, IBM Distinguished Engineer, shares some thoughts on how to bring this approach to life and invites the community to co-invent the Cloud Foundry Community Advisory Board.

A guest post by Christopher Ferris, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and CTO for Cloud Interoperability in IBM Software Group’s Standards and Open Source organization.

I’m really pleased with the steadily growing interest in Cloud Foundry over the past few months.

When IBM and Pivotal announced our collaboration around Cloud Foundry, including the Platform Conference and the formation of a Community Advisory Board (CAB), we envisaged the CAB as the voice of the Cloud Foundry community of developers, users and ISVs to: 1) channel feedback on a number of subjects relevant to the Cloud Foundry project and its community and 2) make recommendations that seek to improve the governance and processes of the Cloud Foundry open source project. The challenge is to distill the many voices in the community into coherent, actionable and reasonable recommendations that are designed to drive further improvement without disrupting the velocity of development of the platform.

Following the announcement, many members of the community reached out to us, expressing interest in participating in the CAB, wanting to know more about what it will do and how we intend it to function. So James Watters, Adrian Colyer and I wanted to share our thinking.


The CAB’s mission is to foster a healthy, vibrant, collaborative and innovative community and ecosystem around the Cloud Foundry platform and open source project.

This scope includes:

  • Feedback on the Cloud Foundry roadmap, along with feature advocacy.
  • Advice on the day-to-day operation of the Cloud Foundry project. For example: how to manage pull requests, select committers, track issues, manage CI, and interact with the community at large (through hangouts, IRC, email forums, etc.).
  • Feedback on the Cloud Foundry community web site ( and mechanisms for community website contributions.
  • Help in establishing agenda and format for future Platform conferences.
  • Guidance on the Cloud Foundry charter, including project scope and definition of any ‘cloud profiles’ (for example, Cloud Foundry Core).


We will bootstrap the CAB through a combination of invitation, community nominations and expressions of interest. We are looking for 8-10 initial members to help us refine the model in the first phase. IBM, Savvis, and Piston are already on board. If you are interested in joining, or have recommendations for who you’d like to see involved, please feel free to reach out to us. By the next Platform conference (in six months time), we aim to have a more formal process for the community to choose their own advocates.


The CAB will initially meet monthly, and then as frequently as the CAB feels necessary. CAB meetings may be conducted virtually. In addition, face-to-face meetings will happen at the semi-annual Platform conference with conference attendees invited to participate. The CAB may also solicit feedback from the community in-between Platform conferences using online Hangouts or web conferences.

We expect the CAB to operate with maximum transparency. Meeting minutes should be made public in a timely manner, ideally within a week. If a mailing list is established to facilitate communications amongst the CAB membership, that mailing list will be visible to the public.

With all that said, we are also hoping that one of the unconference breakouts at the Platform Conference can be dedicated to further discussion about the community processes and the role of the CAB with its initial members.

Speaking of the Platform Conference, it is really shaping up nicely! We’ve got some great talks planned, and we have more than 500 registrations when last I checked! It is amazing how much interest there is, and I am really looking forward to some great discussions about how we can grow and improve the Cloud Foundry community and platform.

About the Author: Chris currently works as an IBM Distinguished Engineer and CTO for Cloud Interoperability in IBM Software Group’s Standards and Open Source organization. He has been involved in the architecture, design, and engineering of distributed systems for most of his 33+ year career in IT and has been actively engaged in open standards and open source development since 1999. He currently provides technical leadership for IBM’s engagements in OpenStack and Cloud Foundry, as well as for IBM’s participation in open standards activities relevant to Cloud. He enjoys tennis, both as a spectator and as an avid club player.

About the Author


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