Care and Feeding of Volunteers
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Care and Feeding of Volunteers



Volunteers make open source projects go. This talk discusses how to attract volunteers, what to do once you have, and how to keep them happy once you've got them.

Volunteers make open source projects go. This talk discusses how to attract volunteers, what to do once you have, and how to keep them happy once you've got them.



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Care and Feeding of Volunteers Care and Feeding of Volunteers Presentation Transcript

  • The Care andFeeding of Volunteers
  • OR
  • How CanVolunteers???
  • About MeKat Toomajian (MissKat, zarhooie)Dreamwidth Studios, LLCCommunity & Volunteer SupportExperience15+ years Non-Profit5+ years Non-Profit Management4+ years OSS
  • Why This TalkGeneral Perceptions about OSS− Little diversity− Hostile community− Need to already have experience− Interview process
  • Why This TalkBreaking it down− Half the people on the planet arent male10-30% of tech professionals are femaleOnly 1.5-5% of OSS developers are female− Everyones a newcomer− Experience is a catch-22− Your vol interviews you, not the other way around
  • Your Project is Not A Special Snowflake
  • Your Project is Not A Special SnowflakeLots of projects out there− Your potential volunteers have choices− Make yourself competitive in the marketPotential volunteers look for− Culture− Environment− Other people− ???? (can be literally anything else)
  • STEP ZERO:How Do I People???Be nice.− Keep your IRC channel PG-13− Community standards, enforced adequately, willself-enforcePeer pressure works both ways− Combative vs Collaborative developmentIts ok to argue about stuffIts not ok to argue in a way that ends with peopleleaving the project
  • Four Letter WordsWoman is not a four letter word.Neither is diversity.− Dont make assumptions or jokes based aroundracism, ableism, sexism, or any other -isms− These jokes arent funny, and will drive volunteersaway from your project.If you hurt someones feelings...− Apologize. Dont tell them to get thicker skin.
  • Be WelcomingLower the entry barrierHave a welcome wagon− Links to:Jargon pageCulture wikiDevelopment wikiLower entry barrier = more developers = lesswork for you in the long run
  • Step One:Follow theYellow BrickCode
  • STEP ONE:Follow the Yellow Brick CodeWanted: awesome people!− Not everyone has experience, but...Lots of people want experienceLet them get that experience by coding for you!A → B → CGive people a job to do.Make mentors available.
  • STEP TWO:What Can You Doo-OO-oo... with aNewbie Dev?Training and mentoring your developersClear path from user to leader to management− User to developer to leadershipDeveloper development is a lifestyle choice− Takes effort, but its totally worth it− DW brought 14 devs and staff to YAPC fordevelopment. The return will justify the means.
  • Invest in Your CommunityCommon Fears of OSS Projects− They dont know enough to be useful− Im too busy to handle their question− If they have a question, theyll ask− I had to do it the hard way/thats not how I learned
  • Invest in Your CommunityRebuttals− Knowledge is an acquired thing, not innate− Mentoring is the most important thing you can do.− Technology advances. So should teachingtechniques− Dont ridicule those who ask for help
  • What is a Newbie Dev?Specific term for someone new to a project ordevelopment in generalYou dont have to go through the mentoring ifyou dont want toMany of our devs started out knowing nothingabout coding at all, let alone how to code
  • So What CAN They Do?Let them work on tiny bugs− Makes you look good− You dont have to untrain bad habits!− Can point to it and say I DID THATMotivational toolRetention tool
  • STEP THREE:?????????Every project and developer has specialrequirements− THIS IS OK.Look to your projects culture to find out whatthese needs are− Adjust accordingly.
  • Be Encouraging!Give credit where credits due− News posts− “merit badges”− Bribes can be a good motivational toolWrite referencesImpostor Syndrome 101
  • Impostor Syndrome
  • Theres a Place for (almost) EveryoneDont allow people who are violatingcommunity standards to keep doing that.Non-Development Positions− Cheerleaders− DocumentationEnd-UserProjectCulture− End-User SupportEnd-User Support is a gateway drug to development
  • STEP FOUR:Profit!Mentoring = Long-Term Project Survival− More invested = will bring their friendsNext to having dev custom built, its the bestAll your tiny stuff gets fixedNo bad habits to train outThey will learn what you want them to learnhow you want them to learn it.
  • LETS RECAP!Be Nice. Learn how to people.Lower your entry barriers.Mentor your developers.Project-specific goalsEnsure the long-term survival of your project
  • How Can I Do This In My Project?You can do them all, but start with one.− Pick one.Probably be nice/welcoming− Master it.− Move on to the next one.Learning how to newcomers takes time.− Be patient.− Ask for help.− perldoc friendlymentor (not really, I made this up)
  • Birthday Hat Hedgehog sez:THANKS FOR LISTENING!