Posted by communitymanager
on August 3, 2010 at 5:36 PM PDT
I've been writing this one in my head for two weeks now. I went to Portland for the Community Leadership Summit (CLS) and OSCON and then have been too busy playing catch up to write about it. I had an amazing time at both events and definitely came away with more new information swimming in my head than from any other conferences I've been to combined.
First, CLS was an incredibly great weekend. My job is weird enough that I went for a long time not knowing other people who really do what I do, and it's nice to know my peers and to watch the emergence of best practices come out of discussions like this. In the next few weeks we'll start rolling out the migration plans for the site, and as you might imagine I'm a little terrified of what the next few months are going to bring. CLS sessions on Change Management were quite helpful in providing me advice and resources to help get us through the process. So now I'm a little less terrified. That's a good thing.
At OSCON I attended a couple of technical tutorials, but mostly stayed on the Community Track. Highlights for me were Anna Ravenscroft on Diversity as a Dependency and Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman on Engineering Leadership . I know that the Leadership one was recorded, but haven't seen the video pop up on line yet. It's worth watching if you trip over it and are looking for project or team management advice.
The heart and soul of the conference for me were three presentations about building and maintaining communities, and with an eye toward onboarding new developers. The person that most influenced my thinking was Denise Paolucci of Dreamwidth Studios . She has really put into practice and nailed down a lot of ideas and processes for bringing new developers into the project. Mel Chua and Asheesh Laroia did a great presentation on the problem of how to make new developers who are interested in working a project aware of the bite sized bugs they can take on to get started - bug trackers are opaque at best and developing a system of tagging student level bugs and making them easy to find is a great place to start. Finally Dries Buytaert did a great presentation on the Drupal project and how they built a vibrant community that extends well beyond the developers.
I'm looking forward to distilling what I heard from these three presentations into FAQ, advice, and maybe some tools to help project owners here to bring in newer developers and students in a useful way. People ask me about it and for a long time I had vague ideas along these lines, but no real strategies. It's time to put those into practice.