Good morning and thank you everyone for being here today. I’m so excited to be here today. I’m here to inspire you and help you make your open source community more awesome, whether you are a leader or a contributor.
I’m sure many of you recognize these open source software logo’s. There may even be representatives here that represent some of these. There are countless open source projects out there and many of them relying on volunteers contributing their time. When your project scales and you have more people using it, you’ll need to scale out your contributors. What makes an open source project successful? Dedicated developers…...great code.....amazing contributors.... And project leaders!
Developer evangelist for cisco. Was web dev instructor. Love mentoring, speaking, and inspiring others. Generally a happy-ist Avid book reader and share my k nowledge based on experience and from books on leadership, management, and effective communication. Have a recommended book? Please tweet it at me
I’m overloaded with open source activities. I’m sure many people here are just as involved in different projects. If there are anyone who is interested in being mentored on 1) how to start contributing 2) how to start a meetup 3) how to organize a conference 4) how to build a community, I am happy to offer you an hour of my time to discuss things over coffee.
Also mention 65+ teams in the organization and 3 leadership teams.
3 leadership teams and 65 teams under these
I’m going to share with you what makes a leader different. To be a leader doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a title. Anyone can step up and take action.
Tell the story of Pete.
Story about Helen Reasons to follow through: Respect, reputation, trust, help teammates following through.
If you are not a leader and want to be, you can simply do this by taking charge or action with things. Lead an idea. Talk to others about joining in on the idea and get others involved. Doing something is better than doing nothing at all.
To be a great community member or being viewed as a leader in the community, you need to assume people always mean well. We are all here on good intentions and want to do great things for the open source project. Don’t jump to conclusions and think people are out to benefit themselves or their company. Don’t assume people are trying to “drain” the budget or do things to only help themselves. People spend many hours of their time and use up their vacation days from work to be here to make our open source projects better. Ask questions and learn to understand people.
But what happens if people are not meaning well and having a conflict?
Especially in an open source organization – keep everything open. Have liaisons in teams to help with communication in between other teams. Use public reports.
Talk about story of Ryan.
Lead by example via all forms of communication. Social media especially.
Lead by example via all forms of communication. Social media especially.
I want to share the process I’ve learned from watching other leaders and from experience over time.
The whole point of mentoring contributors is so we can set a precedent on our future contributors and leaders of the project. Some of us won’t be around forever. Let’s keep our contributors generating and make our project more successful.
Now that you have your new leaders and more contributors, you need to hold onto them. Work on preventing burnout and sharing the knowledge with others
And remember, saying thank you to others can make a significant impact. Go on social media and spend 1 minute thanking someone for their work. You’d be surprised how much more effort they’d be willing to put
So I’m going to close this with a “THANK YOU”
Leading anopensourceproject oscon2016
@tessamero OSCON May 2016
• Who Am I?
• What is this Joomla thing?
• What is a Leader?
• Effective Communication (my favorite to discuss)
(encouragement/thank you/follow through)
• *Dealing with Change
• How Can You Be a Leader?
I’m Tessa Mero
Developer Evangelist, Cisco
Teacher, Mentor, Speaker, and a Happy-ist
Me: Open Source OVERLOAD
• Joomla Contributor 4-5 years
• Joomla Leadership 2 years
• Previously Board of Directors for
• Organizer of Seattle PHP User
• Organizer of Seattle Joomla User
What is Joomla?
Free and Open Source Software1
Swahili for “All Together” (Jumla)
No paid staff. Only FOSS with 100% volunteers
5 65+ Million Downloads
Fork of Mambo CMS in 2005
Assume people mean well until
• Try resolving 1 on 1 (don’t humiliate them in public)
• Try using a mediator to resolve conflict
• Let people know if they are making you feel
uncomfortable or if they hurt you
• DON’T HOLD GRUDGES (hardest one of all, since I have
• Don’t Blame OTHERS!
• Accept fault and accept being wrong. It’s OK!
Resolve the Open Source Fight:
Dealing with Conflict
The importance of
preventing burnout, and
representing your community
• Public Reports
• Financial Reports
• Public Google Mailing Lists
• Public Announcements
• Structure Change w/ Processes
• Documentation of Processes
• Community Feedback
How Joomla! Opened Up Transparency
“Today, power is
hoarding it. - Dharmesh Shah,
HubSpot’s Culture Code
Leadership is not a popularity
contest. It’s okay for people
to disagree and not like you.
“The most powerful leadership
tool is your own personal
- John Wooden
Want to have a Successful
Open Source Project?
Create a Culture where people
Respect each other.
• Be a good representative by exhibiting
positive and good behavior internally and
externally (social media)
• Speak highly of others (and other Open
Source) and don’t put down other people
• Make newcomers feel welcome
• Don’t wait for things to happen (maybe they
are waiting on you?)
• Have fallback plans on changes (if…then..)
Representing Your Community
Hiring & Firing Effectively
What? Who made this part of the process for a
large global community?!
Hiring• Call for Volunteers
• Interview (Or Rejection Letter)
• Look for someone who is
motivated and excited to get
• Willing to read documentation
• Not afraid to ask questions
Firing• “Firing” is too strong… the real term is
“Let them Step Down”
• Remind them they haven’t contributed in
• Give them a chance to continue their
contributions (let them know it’s ok for
• Let them know there is someone (or
someone’s) willing to take over their role.
• It’s not a big deal. Tell them you
appreciate everything they’ve done
• Contributor leaving community? Make a
public thank you letter
• Train them
• Delegate your tasks
• Don’t make 1 person a single point of failure, train
multiple per roles
• Empower others
• Listen to those you mentor (what are their goals?)
Create New Leaders
Why should we train and mentor
contributors to become a leader?
Create New Leaders – Why?
Put family first1
Don’t join too many teams / commit to too many projects
Put WORK over Open Source
5 Don’t be a “Yes Man” or “Yes Mam”. Learn to say “No Thanks”
Teach Others How
Day 1: OMG WTF HUH?
Week 1: These leaders are making a huge mistake
Week 4: Okay, maybe they know what they are doing
Month 3: I have no idea why this wasn’t the process long ago!
Why didn’t we think of it then?
Process Change : TIMELINE
• Have. A. Plan!
• Implement in SMALL STEPS!
• Prevents community outrage
• Prevents resignations
• Adds Trust
• Give a chance for community involvement
Saying Thank You to others can
make a significant impact