[kde-community] Vision, mission and manifesto - what is their definition and purpose?

Thomas Pfeiffer thomas.pfeiffer at kde.org
Thu Feb 11 00:22:02 UTC 2016

On Mittwoch, 10. Februar 2016 21:42:31 CET Alexander Neundorf wrote:
> > In the past, the KDE usability team (namely Björn, Heiko and I) have at
> > least twice suggested to create a common vision for KDE's products.
> > This approach has received mostly negative comments every time, with the
> > argument that there is far too much diversity among existing KDE projects
> > to define a common product vision which is still useful, and that
> > individual product visions would be much more helpful.
> I can remember having read about that somewhere...
> As you have seen, the argument that KDE is so diverse has been brought here
> too several times, but from what I know there is still very much in common.
> Maybe your KDE product vision effort should be brought into scope again when
> we are talking now here about a vision etc. ? Do you have some pointers ?

I have given up on this effort, to be honest. The community felt that such a 
thing didn't make sense for them the last two times we proposed it, I don't 
see why this would have changed now. I don't want to force anybody.
I won't keep you from suggesting it again, of course, and if it turns out that 
the community now wants that for some reason, I'm happy to throw my experience 
with creating product visions in the ring.
However, you won't see me trying the same thing a third time after it failed 

> > > Also, what do you think about the relation between vision and mission ?
> > 
> > When I joined the "vision team", my original proposal was to only define a
> > mission, because I felt that visions make more sense for products than for
> > communities.
> > However, Lydia convinced me that having a common vision for the future to
> > work towards can have more positive effect on a sense of purpose and
> > motivation than only defining a strategy, so I agreed to define a vision
> > first and then derive the mission from that.
> That's just Lydias opinion. ;-)

It was originally Lydia's opinion (based on her experience with Wikimedia's 
success), but now that she convinced me and the the other members of the team 
behind "Draft A", it is our common opinion.

> No, seriously, in the last weeks several people contacted me in private
> email and expressed that they are not exactly happy, some even seriously
> frustrated with the strong emphasis on non-technical topics in KDE in the
> last few years, and they would prefer to get some more emphasis on
> technology and products back.
> This (obviously) includes me. Maybe this also includes many of the people
> who said "vision, strategy and focus" in the evolve-survey ?
> Sorry to be blunt: for me, a catchy one-sentence-vision statement *alone*
> won't impress me, everyone has one today. It won't give me a sense of
> purpose or anything. It's just a catchy phrase. Maybe I'm too old for that.

A vision statement alone doesn't do much, either. A mission is needed to turn 
vision into strategy.

> Anyway, I think vision and mission should be defined together, otherwise
> we'll get ugly discussions once we have decided on the vision, and get into
> mission- land.

The discussions cannot be avoided (though I believe they don't have to be 
ugly!), but it seems to me that the two "camps" are much closer in their 
ultimate goal than they are in what they see as the best strategy to achieve 
So what is bad about first declaring what we agree on and then debate on the 
level where we actually disagree?

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