I’ll focus on the technical stuff; I think I would only Peter Principle myself if I would try giving management advice.
What I’ve seen too much are community projects, companies or groups who think that the synchronization of Harmattan with Moblin or MeeGo was done well to make what is now the OS on the N9. Luckily is Jolla hiring Harmattan staff, so they understand the situation.
For me it was always clear that “MeeGo” was a more or less failed PR thing between Intel and Nokia. By the time the N9 was first released wasn’t Harmattan synchronized with Moblin or MeeGo technically very much. And after several updates of Harmattan it still isn’t.
The situation on the N9 now is an OS that has relatively few technical resemblance with “MeeGo”. For me is N9′s software Harmattan or Maemo 6. It’s the continuation of the software on the N900: Maemo 5 or Fremantle (after ~ two or three rather big rewrites, that much is true). That the rewrites happened doesn’t mean that during those rewrites Harmattan suddenly became MeeGo. MeeGo is, in other words, a different platform.
A successful project will have to work with what Harmattan is, and not try to replace it with what MeeGo is today. If they do want to end up with “MeeGo” on an N9 they will have to progressively improve Harmattan towards that goal by for example asking Nokia to open closed components, by developing fixes for softwares that are already open source (a lot are), by repackaging them and by explaining N9 owners how to add a repository and how to upgrade their phone safely.
I understand the idea isn’t to deploy on an N9, but if you want a new phone or device that resembles what the N9 is; the N9′s software is in my opinion not MeeGo but Harmattan. Rewrites have happened too often already. It’s my opinion that yet another rewrite of Harmattan isn’t a good idea at all.
For example replacing the Debian package management system with RPM doesn’t sound like a viable option to me at all. Nor is replacing any of the major middleware really doable within the timeframe you’d have to deliver to be relevant.
Instead software project per software project improve the phone’s OS. Kinda like how Ximian did Red Carpet many years ago (which also supported multiple package management systems).
No more big rewrites, no more starting from scratch. No more politics about how it should have been done. Start with the platform as it is. There are reasons why the OS is good, and among the reasons is that good middleware choices and compromises were made.
Kind regards, good luck.