Project Team Lead (PTL) Responsibilities

Project Team Lead (PTL) Responsibilities

So you want to be a PTL? Here is a list of items that you can expect to perform. This document is meant to serve as a general guide for current and future PTLs. It is not all encompassing, nor are all sections required, it is simply a guide that you may refer to. Each OpenStack project is different and will release, plan, and delegate differently, too.

Weekly Tasks

  1. Organize the team meeting agenda. Most teams will use a wiki or etherpad.

  2. Follow the weekly [release] guidelines email to keep track of the development cycle tasks (unless you have an appointed release liaison to follow it for you). It is also very useful to subscribe into the release calendar.

  3. Attend Technical Committee and Cross-Project meetings when possible. For more information see meetings.

  4. If the team does not have an appointed bug czar, then perform a bug triage. Ensure all new bugs that have been reported are triaged. The below is a URL to view all new bugs for keystone.
  5. If the team does not have an appointed bug czar, then remember to also tag bugs accordingly. The below is a URL to view all untagged bugs for keystone.*

Core member maintenance

This will vary greatly from team to team, but here is a general guide you may consider.

Criteria when considering new cores

A successful appointment can be made solely by the PTL, however it is encouraged to hear the opinions of the existing core team. This can be done through private messages on IRC or publicly through the openstack-discuss mailing list.

  1. Are their review numbers (quantity and disagreements) similar to those of existing core members?

  2. Does the person follow up on reviews?

  3. Are the reviews helpful, critical, and nice to authors?

  4. Does the person help in triaging bugs? (For example: reproducing the issue)

  5. Does the person provide bug fixes?

  6. Does the person create and implement new features?

  7. Does the person review specifications?

  8. Does the person participate in weekly meetings?

  9. Does the person participate in the forum discussions?

  10. Does the person participate at the mid-cycle / project-team-gathering?

  11. Does the person know the project direction and priorities?

  12. Does the person help others on IRC?

Actions to perform when adding new cores

Once a person is ready, perform the following:

  1. Announce new core member on mailing list

  2. Give them voice on IRC (if applicable):

    /msg chanserv flags <room> <irc_handle> +V
  3. Add them to the project drivers group in launchpad.

  4. Update the core team in Gerrit.

Criteria when removing new cores

  1. Is the core reviewer reviewing enough? Use data (i.e. stackalytics) to determine if the core reviewer is among the other core members in terms of overall review count.

  2. Does the core reviewer have enough time to review? Job responsibilities may have changed.

  3. Does the core reviewer no longer have knowledge of the code base and new features?

  4. Does the core reviewer still provide useful feedback, even if infrequently?

At the beginning of a new cycle

  1. Add placeholder migrations, these should be the first things to merge once the n-1 stable branch has been created. Do not merge any migrations before this is done

  2. Appoint cross project liaisons (Docs, release, QA, Oslo, etc.).

  3. Appoint FirstContact SIG liaisons (By default, the liaison will be the PTL).

  4. Check if the meeting time works for most active contributors.

  5. If you keep release liaison responsibilities, join #openstack-release and be sure to follow [release] emails from the mailing list.

  6. If necessary, squash database migrations. This is usually not necessary, but will reduce the amount of time necessary for upgrading. A sample squash can be seen by the keystone team.

  7. Track removed and deprecated features, for example using deprecated-as-of-<series> and removed-as-of-<series> blueprints.

  8. Organize the specifications page.

During the cycle

  1. Help first time contributors, they will be struggling the most.

  2. Lack of reviews? Reach out to the core team and remind them.

  3. Release libraries as necessary but don’t wait too long! Some teams will release after 4 weeks even if the changes are minor. More often is better than less often.

Before the Forum

  1. Start an etherpad to brainstorm potential session topics. For example:

  2. Based on that brainstorming, propose sessions. Create an etherpad for every session, prime the content. List these etherpads in the Wiki.

During the Forum

  1. Reach out to potential new contributors to the project, participate in project on-boarding sessions.

  2. Attend as many cross-project sessions as possible.

  3. In the discussion sessions you moderate:

    • Take notes on the etherpad (or delegate a scribe)

    • Act as a moderator rather than actively participate (or delegate a moderator)

  4. After the discussion, post a summary of the session outcome to the ML, for the benefit of those who could not be present.

At the end of the cycle

  1. Clean up release notes.

  2. Coordinate with the release management team for deliverables, unless a liaison has been appointed

  3. Expect queries from the release marketing staff to name release highlights and major features

  4. Perform a retrospective via an etherpad. Suggested sections include: What went well?, What didn’t go well.

  5. Analyze how complete each new feature is. Does it have DevStack support? Horizon support? Client bindings? CLI support? Documentation? Does the install guide need to be updated?

Before the PTG

  1. Decide if your team will hold a team meeting at the PTG, and communicate with the events organizers

  2. If your team gathers at the PTG, create an etherpad to dynamically build the room agenda, and list it on the event wiki page.

During the PTG

  1. Be flexible, attend inter-project sessions as appropriate.

  2. Keep the event schedule up to date on what the current topics of discussion in your team room is.

Collecting Feedback

Collecting feedback from users and operators is an essential step for incrementally improving software. Anyone can collect feedback, but sometimes it falls on the shoulders of the PTL to facilitate open lines of communication. The following are a few ways you can do that.

Mailing Lists

Our community has several mailing lists, though most usage, operations and development discussions take place on the openstack-discuss mailing list making it a great place to ask for feedback. An advantage of using mailing lists is that responses are logged making it easy to reference them later. You also don’t have to wait for a specific time or place to use mailing lists, making it easy to attempt to collect feedback in a pinch or when a formal setting isn’t feasible.

User Surveys

The Foundation puts together a survey for users and operators. The Foundation shares the results with PTLs, who can then disseminate the knowledge to others who may be interested.

It’s worth checking to see if your project is participating in the survey. Make sure the survey questions for your project are relevant and reflect the current status of what the team is doing. If you’re not sure what’s being asked in the survey or want to update the project-specific survey questions, reach out to someone from the Foundation.

User Committee

The User Committee is an elected body within the community that helps facilitate communication between users and developers. If there are specific things your project wants feedback on, but you’re not sure how or where to start, the User Committee can help. They hold weekly meetings on IRC, and they can help you come up with a plan for collecting feedback.

PTG Sessions

Occasionally, you might find operators or users at Project Team Gatherings. You can set up timeslots on your projects agenda, inviting them to share feedback with developers. If an official time slot doesn’t make its way into the schedule, hallway discussions are good ways to collect quick feedback.

Forum Sessions

It isn’t uncommon to find more operators and users at Summits and Forums than PTGs. You can use this as an opportunity to collect as much feedback from them as possible if you’re attending. Since everyone usually has a busy schedule, it’s better to plan ahead and socialize those sessions. There are a couple of specific ways you can collect feedback throughout the week.

First, submit a Forum session proposal to collect feedback for your project. The Foundation asks the community for session proposals, which are used to build the schedule for the Forum. Be explicit if you’re looking for feedback on specific things. By having a feedback session on the formal schedule, you’re letting operators and users know your project is open to listening to what they have to say. It’s a great way to meet users face-to-face, exchange contact information, and discuss issues they might be having.

Second, use your project update to advertise feedback sessions or that the team is interested in feedback. If you’re looking for direction on a new feature, share a little bit about it and say you’d like to hear what people think. You don’t have to spend the entire project update focusing on this, but it could result in a follow-up afterward or an interesting hallway discussion.


Alternatively, the responsibilities in this section can be delegated to a local stable maintenance czar.

  1. Ensure the stable branches gates are not broken.

  2. Co-ordinate with the stable release team to ensure releases are performed when a critical fix is backported, or sufficient smaller fixes have landed.

One offs

When necessary, the following can be performed at unscheduled times.

  1. Bug smashes

  2. API sprints

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