Sean Talts is Technical Working Group Director

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The Stan Governing Body (SGB) is happy to announce that Sean Talts has been selected to be the Technical Working Group Director.

This is a paid position (US$50k/year) drawn from the Stan organization funds which are managed by NumFocus.

Some context:

Last August the Stan Governing Body was created and part of that effort also created a Technical Working Group (TWG): (Your new governing body).

Bob Carpenter resigned as TWG director because he felt the job wasn’t a good fit for him and he wanted to focus on book writing and coding. We really appreciate Bob taking this on and we did get an outline for a Stan 3.0 roadmap. Bob suggested Sean replace him.

The SGB asked Sean to do a survey of the TWG domain leads (Math, RStan etc…) for feedback on what the leads wanted in terms of leadership as well as talking to Bob.

We have tweaked the role/responsibilities for the TWG Director given the above feedback and Sean’s input. This is detailed in the actual voted resolution below:

Proposed: Sean Talts be appointed the (Technical Working Group) TWG Director with the following structure and responsibilities: The director will be a full member of the SGB and the SGB’s representation in the technical sphere, analogous to a product manager that connects the technical work with funding and user priorities. The director will operate with a set of clear but high level goals from the SGB to be drafted and voted on separately.

The TWG is organized as follows: The TWG consists of tech leads for the major components of the Stan ecosystem as determined by the SGB majority vote for both components and leadership. All positions, including TWG Director, have two year terms and no term limits. TWG Director removal requires 2/3rds majority vote, tech leads and components can be replaced with majority votes.

Technical Director powers & responsibilities

The Technical Working Group Director, has several responsibilities and powers they can use to achieve the goals set forth by the SGB.

  • "Blessing” specific projects / interfaces / libraries

  • Which interface we recommend and appear in our documentation

  • Which repositories belong on the stan-dev github organization

  • Responsible for all cross-cutting decisions

  • Setting a technical vision and roadmap by acting as the product manager and (re-)negotiating the priorities and technical direction with the TWG leads according to the mission and goals set out by the SGB.

  • Act as final judge interpreting the SGB mandate and stakeholder needs to break ties and settle disputes between tech leads.

  • Spending money allocated to technical needs

  • Release management

  • Performing releases

  • Writing release/upgrade notes

  • Notifying the community about bugs

  • Last-resort, rarely used veto power over any technical decision affecting the stan-dev github projects.

  • The director must also deliver an annual Stan-wide Roadmap representing the ideal collective project direction across all stan-dev projects by negotiation and heavy consultation with the TWG, users, and the SGB funding committee. The Technical Director will also account for money spent with quarterly reports. The TWG is also responsible for electing and ejecting developers from the stan-dev github organization, but this can be effected with a majority vote.

  • The Technical Director will be paid $50,000 a year from NumFOCUS funds.

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Stan this Month, Issue 2, February 2019