Status reports - why not regularly?

Robert Watson rwatson at
Tue Jan 13 10:58:34 PST 2004

On Tue, 13 Jan 2004, Jonathan T. Sage wrote:

> Hello - I have to say, I really like the idea of having a status
> message, more frequnetly than the bi-monthly.  While that is a very
> useful document, I find myself very out-of-the-loop on some things that
> I would like to know about. I have a spare machine with a very stable
> net connection right now.  What i am going to do, is subsribe it to the
> commit list, and start attempting to process the list of commits, with
> messages, and send that report to me on say, a weekly basis.  From
> there, I am going to look at the information i get purly from the
> messages provided there.  My initial thoughts are : 

Problem with generating reports too frequently is that it takes about two
weeks to trawl in all the status you're interested in, so you basically
spend half of every month with a "send status" flag waving, and everyone
starts looking at you funny, not to mention getting aclimated to the flag
waving and therefore starting to ignore it.  The most frequent the "poll" 
method would work is probably about once a month, but we found once every
two months worked pretty well from a developer perspective.  Otherwise,
also, you get a lot of "still chugging away on <x>". :-) 

The "summarize the commits" would also be an excellent approach, but it
will be a lot more labor intensive.  It will get a bit less of the "and
here it's where it's going", but a lot more of the "here is what has
happened", as well as not requiring developer involvement.  One of the
good things about the current model was "developers decide what is
important", but it can also be a bad thing :-).  If you have the time and
energy to do a mailing list, or want to round robin with others to do it,
that would be wonderful :-).   And it would complement any status reports
from developers quite well.

Robert N M Watson             FreeBSD Core Team, TrustedBSD Projects
robert at      Senior Research Scientist, McAfee Research

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