Policy Statement

Version 1.0

Date                  17th May 2001

Author                Nigel Gale

1.     Purpose

The number of users of IBM's WebSphere product family is growing throughout Europe. Users are using it as a powerful and useful tool that enables Java-based applications to rapidly utilise their distributed systems. The WebSphere product family runs on a wide number of both IBM and non-IBM platforms: this coverage gives the group a unique opportunity to exchange experiences across these different platforms.  

This user group has been formed to provide a forum that allows for the free interchange of technical information on the WebSphere family of products. It enables the members to work on common problems and share experiences. It provides a mechanism that will enable members to request details on common vendor packages and applications. It will not be a marketing channel for any organisation: there will be no business involvement and there will be no reason for members to share business-sensitive information. However, there will be requests for members to give presentations on various aspect of WebSphere and these presentations will be in the public domain.

The User Group is based in the UK and it is expected that the majority of members will belong to UK companiesor organisations. It is intended that the meetings will be held in different locations throughout the UK to enable the maximum participation at minimal expense. There is currently no affiliation or connection with other user groups but, as the group grows, associations with other groups will be explored. Also there are users in other European countries who can participate in the meetings and become members if they wish.

The group is a voluntary, non-profit making organisation.                

2.     Objectives

    1. To share users' experiences of IBM's WebSphere Application Server family of products (including Visual Age for Java and other development tools) on a technical level.
    2. To exchange information with IBM and other WebSphere family related product and service suppliers.
    3. To review tools and applications that use WebSphere.
3.     Membership

Membership is at the discretion of the committee. Applications for membership should be directed  to any member of the committee. There are 2 discrete types of membership:

3.1     Installation Membership

Companies or organisation that  have installed any of IBM's WebSphere products on any of the supported platforms for the execution of their line of business applications. Companies or organisations may have multiple individual installation members but the committee reserves the right to limit attendees from any one company or organisation at each meeting if necessary.

Installation members have full voting rights.

3.2     Associate Membership

Companies or Organisations that do not qualify for installation membership. This includes suppliers of service for WebSphere or applications that use WebSphere. It also includes companies, organisations or individuals who have a reputation for professional competence within the area of distributed computer systems. They must have made, or plan to make, a contribution to the exploitation of the WebSphere products.

Associate members do not have any voting rights .

4.     Finance

The User Group will raise the funds necessary for its purpose by means of charging members a meeting fee. This will be levelled against each meeting attendee. The rate will be set to cover the cost of the venue and catering (with a mark-up to cover administration costs), and may vary from meeting to meeting.  

5.     Meetings

Meetings will normally be held 3 times a year, in Februaury, June & October. The agenda will contain, at a minimum, the following items:

    1. Committee feedback (finance and requirements as appropriate).
    2. User contact session.
    3. IBM Update.

The first meeting of the year will be considered to be the Annual General Meeting at which the accounts for the previous year will be presented and the election of the chairman and any committee members will be held.

The agenda for meetings will be issued four weeks before each meeting on the group website, and there may be themes for the day that will be established at the earlier meetings.

The committee will endeavour to ensure that meetings are held in venues throughout the UK to give members an opportunity to attend locally. This is subject to venues being volunteered and available.

Attendees must register prior to the meetings, via the user group website.

6.     Voting 
6.1     General

Policy will be determined at the Annual General Meeting. Resolutions will be submitted in writing at least 30 days before the AGM. 

Each Installation Member will have a single vote. These votes can either be by an attending individual or by a postal vote to the secretary. 

Companies or organisations which have more than 1 individual member can only vote once to represent the collective view of that company or organisation.

6.2     Committee

The committee will be comprised as indicated in the committee section in this document. 

Each committee member will be elected for a period of 1 year starting from the AGM at which they are elected. Members can stand for re-election. 

All members of the committee will be nominated for the position by the members and voted in to office at the AGM. Nominations should be submitted, duly seconded to the secretary at least 30 days before the AGM. 

No associate member may be a member of the committee. 

6.3     Requirements

Requirements will be presented at each meeting. Voting will be via the website (subject to section 6.1 above).

7.     Registration 

All members must be registered with the group: this can be achieved via the group website. Registration is not a pre-requisite for meeting attendance but all attendees are encouraged to register at the first meeting they attend so that a record of attendance can be maintained and the member company or organisation informed of subsequent activities.

The committee reserve the right to refuse admission to a meeting to anyone who has not registered on the website if there is insufficient space (e.g. for fire regulations). Failure to register may also mean that no refreshments can be provided.

8.     Code of Conduct 

Members and attendees must:

    1. Conduct themselves and their activities in a professional manner marked with integrity and the spirit of fair play.
    2. Refrain from engaging in any activities that would violate the proprietary rights of their employers, the User Group or any other person or organisation.
    3. Abide by the Statutes and Policies of the User Group.
    4. Properly register and display appropriate credentials at the Groups activities.
    5. Restrict the use of the Groups documents and other data to the defined purposes.  

Members and attendees must not:
    1. Engage in sales activities, including direct or indirect solicitation or conduct any other activity contrary to the purpose of the User Group.
    2. Distribute any materials or post displays of any kind at User Group activities without prior approval from the committee.
    3. Engage in any form of personnel recruiting or use of the User Groups facilities or resources to assist in such activities.
    4. Use the User Groups name or membership lists other than in the conduct of the groups business.
    5. Any Member or attendee who fails to observe this policy may be prevented from attending future group meetings.  

Conflict of Interest
    1. No member will hold any position of responsibility within the User Group if there is an actual, or potential, conflict of interest that would be material between the member and the User Group.  
9.     Requirements 

Requirements are a request between the User Group and IBM, as product supplier, that describe the need to change an existing product or to provide recommendations for future products. They will be a primary route for the input of information to IBM from the group. 

Requirements will be generated by members, reviewed at the meetings and members will be able to vote on them to determine their priority. 

The requirements process and administration will be the responsibility of the Requirements Secretary. The process, where possible, will follow the currently established IBM Requirements process. 

Requirements will be the property of the User Group. They will represent a key element in the dialogue between the Group and IBM.

The process for handling requirements is broadly as follows:

    1. Members submit a new requirement to the Requirements Secretary at least 6 weeks before a user group meeting.
    2. The requirement is published on the group website at least 4 weeks before the meeting.
    3. The proposer presents the requirement at the meeting and members can discuss and, if necessary, amend the requirement.
    4. The agreed requirement is then updated on the website and members have 2 weeks to vote on it (via the website).
    5. If passed, the Requirements Secretary formally submits it to IBM.

This process is designed to expedite the input of requirements to IBM and allow all members to vote, whether they attend the actual meeting or not.

10. Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

The user group also exists to support and encourage the formation of Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The purpose of SIGs is to allow our membership to explore particular areas of interest in greater detail than would be possible at the full user group meetings.

The following applies to the formation of SIGs: 

    1. The formation of a SIG may be suggested by any member of the user group.
    2. No SIG shall be formed without the approval of the WebSphere UK User group committee.
    3. Membership of the SIG may be restricted in numbers if it is felt that a large group would be disadvantageous to the effectiveness of the SIG.
    4. Membership of the SIG may be restricted to Installation or Associate members.
    5. Each SIG must produce a terms of reference document detailing the objectives, membership qualification and operational considerations before it will be publicised.
    6. SIGs may charge to cover expenses but must not exist as a profit making organisation.
    7. SIG's must be responsible for their own organisation and finances.
    8. SIGs are expected not to arrange meetings that clash with scheduled user group meetings.
11.     Committee 

The committee will be elected every year at the AGM. The current positions are:

    1. Chairman
    2. Vice-Chairman
    3. Secretary
    4. Treasurer
    5. Requirements Secretary
    6. Communications Secretary
    7. IBM Representative

Below are the names of the current committee. If you require further information do not hesitate to contact any of them. 

Chairman Nigel Gale Legal & General
Vice-Chairman Steve Crockett Legal & General
Secretary James Dilley Royal Bank of Scotland
Treasurer Chris Mason Aegon
Requirements Secretary Piotr Murasik Elsevier
Communications Secretary David Bevan John Lewis
IBM Rep Alan Chambers IBM

The next sections detail the roles of each of the committee positions. 

11.1     Chairman

The chairman's role is to lead the user group and ensure that that it continues to serve the needs of its members as an independent organisation. In particular: 

    1. To attend and chair all user group meetings.
    2. To attend and chair all committee/planning meetings.
    3. To organise and lead the Annual General Meeting including the election/re-election of committee members and changes to policy.
    4. To own and maintain the WebSphere UK User Group Policy document.
    5. To promote the user group's activities and encourage attendance at meetings.
    6. To create and distribute feedback forms for use at the meetings.
    7. To liaise with representatives of other user groups and maintain contacts with IBM and the user group membership.
    8. To produce a 'chairmans review' of the user group meetings for inclusion on the group website.
11.2     Vice Chairman 

The vice chairman's role is to support the chairman and to provide cover for the other committee positions as required. In particular:

    1. Chair user group meetings in the absence of the chairman.
    2. Chair committee meetings in the absence of the chairman.
    3. Have a working knowledge of the roles of each of the committee members.
    4. Assist the chairman in promoting the interests of the user group and its membership.

11.3     Secretary

The secretary plays a pivotal role. Their primary role is to act as the group's focus for all communications and source of information. The major functions are: 

    1. Organise the venue & logistics for each user group meeting.
    2. Take and hold the minutes of all meetings, both user group and committee meetings.
    3. Provide the focal point for external communications.
    4. Issue the invitation to the user groups meetings.
    5. Co-ordinate the responses between IBM and the committee.
    6. Ensure any feedback after the meeting is made available.
11.4     Requirements Secretary

The requirements secretary handles all aspects of the raising, voting, submission & tracking of requirements to IBM. In particular:

    1. Develop, maintain and own the process for accepting WebSphere product family change requests, from the user group.
    2. Publish the detailed process on the user group website.
    3. Maintain communication channels to IBM change teams, via the IBM Representative.
    4. Liase with submitters.
    5. Liase with the Communications secretary to publish new requirements on the website & manage voting responses.
    6. Obtain responses from IBM to previous submissions, and present status at user group meetings.
11.5     Treasurer

The treasurer is responsible for all financial aspects of the group. These include:

    1. Handle all monies and ensure that the user group remains solvent.
    2. Manage the user group bank account.
    3. Receive all meeting fees from members & issue receipts.
    4. Settle invoices promptly, including conference and catering providers and any consultancy services at user group meetings.
    5. Approve all user group expenditure.
    6. Report on user group finances at committee meetings.
    7. Provide an auditted annual account statement at each AGM.
11.6     IBM representative

The IBM Representative provides a key interface between the user group and IBM. Their role includes:

    1. To promote and support the activities and initiatives of the WebSphere UK User Group by providing a single point of contact to IBM personnel and resources.
    2. Keep the committee and members aware of WebSphere family products' trends and directions, and forthcoming announcements.
    3. Contribute proactively to the planning of user group events, in particular suggesting appropriate contributions from IBM WebSphere development and support.
    4. Identify and brief IBM speakers and contributors.
    5. Promote the user group among established and new users of WebSphere products.
    6. Offer and organise logistical support for events
11.7     Communications Secretary

The Communications secretary holds a key position in managing communications with existing and prospective members of the user group. They act as the group Webmaster and:

    1. Maintains and updates the www.websphereusergroup.org.uk website.
    2. Maintains the user group email contact list.
    3. Liaises with the web hosting service provider.
    4. Advertises and publishes the group website to other sites & search engines.
    5. Liases with committee members regarding website content.


The WebSphere UK User Group is indebted to Jon Calladine, Chairman of the UK MQSeries User Group, for permission to use their policy document as a basis for this document.

Last modified: 17 May 2001