Volunteer coordination and outreach/ECT Feb 2013 quarterly review
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(Notes are on the talk page.)
ECT Q1 quarterly review agenda
- What BENEFITS have we already offered the organization? (where ECT has moved the needle)
- What LESSONS have we learned?
- What TIMELINE are we planning for the next 3 months?
- What INPUT are we seeking? (list)
Benefits we offer to WMF:
- The contributions of more people.
- More contributors are fixing urgent bugs (hoo, Krenair, PleaseStand).
- More maintainers are reviewing staffers' and volunteers' code (especially Krenair and IAlex). March 2012: 1 non-WMF core maintainer. Now: 11.
- 155 MediaWiki coders active in December 2012, 90% increase, year-over-year.
- Documentation and discussion: 864 active users on mediawiki.org (performed an action in last 30 days). Bug reporting and triage: about 400 active users in December in Bugzilla.
- Recruiting: of the 27 new WMF engineering contractors or staffers hired in the last year, 8 came from the Wikimedia tech community, and at least three enjoyed direct ECT nurturing or outreach.
- The infrastructure of innovation.
- Bugzilla is a cleaner place to operate; unprioritized bugs in Bugzilla down, and you don't worry there's a random urgent bug that we haven't seen.
- Clear, transparent broadcasting of WMF engineering activity.
- Gain and maintenance of social and political capital that benefits the whole engineering department & the Foundation.
- Constant fresh outsiders' view.
- Improved onramping.
- ECT maintains the materials that help new staff get started.
- The start of a formal volunteer product management practice, benefiting admin tools, Lua, & data dumps.
- The new beginning of volunteering in Ops (see Dereckson's puppetization commits and the 69 active users on labsconsole wiki in the last month.
- Participation: More contributors! (Although we've struggled to improve diversity.)
- Innovation: Prototypes (SignupAPI), training (Git), best practices (LevelUp, testing)
- We are better at helping willing volunteers contribute usefully as developers and testers than as designers, product managers, or systems administrators.
- Lack of Ops time is a blocker, as is the RT usage.
- Volunteers need to be trained in what product management is & how to do it
- WMF engineering doesn't have a consistent understanding and approach to open source development.
- It's still very difficult for volunteers to get involved in WMF-led engineering projects.
- We are more effective at nurturing the existing community of self-starters than at drawing in new members.
- Events: big ones should be rare, small ones should be easy.
- Followup, followup, followup.
- For some activities, lots of little points of contact work better for us than outreach on mailing lists.
- User groups are harder to get off the ground than we'd thought?
- Moving the needle on volunteer QA takes sustained effort.
- Toolserver community is underutilized.
- In communications, better tools and processes beat nagging for activity statuses.
- Growing more maintainers (LevelUp) is more sustainable than 20% time.
- We have 23 willing mentorships (or similar) this quarter comprising 45 people; this is far more than were eager to do 20% time.
- It's hard to balance Sumana-as-matchmaker with managers-as-drivers.
What will we achieve?
Now (late Feb) through July 2013:
- Technical communications
- Continued communications (blog posts & monthly report & activity statuses)
- Experiment with volunteer-led curation of tech news (e.g. with Signpost contributors)
- Volunteer coordination and outreach
- CRM/tracing volunteers
- More volunteers doing directed manual testing
- Formalize and build a contribution pipeline for volunteer product management
- Tools Labs product advice
- Amsterdam hackathon & prep for Wikimania talks/devdays for community benefit (skillshare & sprinting)
- Open Source Bridge for professional enrichment & ecology-building
- Mentorship programs
- Continued shepherding
- Code review trainings, with Chris Steipp?
- Bug management
- Continued bug triage & QA assistance
- Process improvement, including dealing with RT tickets
Input we're seeking
- We're trying to align the volunteer community with movement goals & WMF goals, but alignment has to be 2-way.
- Do WMF colleagues understand the community better because of ECT?
- Are we altering course in a good way to account for the community?
- Are we achieving our goals better & faster because of community collaboration?
- When should we nudge volunteers to work on movement priorities, and when should we use WMF time (frugally) to do capacity-building work to support volunteer interests? ECT tries to work with existing affordances; if a project isn't a good entry point for volunteer developers, perhaps testing, bug triage, and product management could help.
- What does WMF need to do to improve the volunteer sysadmin & product management/design pipeline?
- Can the Ops, Product and Design teams structure any of their work to allow for more volunteer engagement?
- Volunteer product management: should we do it? Who/how? What projects should engage in it?
- Alignment would be easier to build and maintain if volunteers were directly involved in the annual & monthly roadmap process. Is this conceivable?
- Ideas for activities: where is there no paid PM? What is James working on that's not VE? What about important gadgets, bots, and tools?
- Where do our community members seem to want influence? Who specifically wants influence? Perhaps we could/should reach out to them?
- Engineering communications: how is this working for everyone? What are the big holes in engineering project documentation? Would you prefer the status quo, or an alternative vision? Alternative ideas include:
- more aggressive outreach to multilingual community
- get volunteers to write blog posts about their work & to be journalists for WMF
- open up wikitech.wikimedia.org
- check what's actually being read via spot checks, "if you're reading this email me" notes
- offloading more work to Signpost or Kurier?
- Community's tone. It seems like right now there's a better attitude on wikitech-l & #mediawiki than there was 6 months ago; does that seem so to you? Why is this happening? We have some hypotheses.
- How urgent is it that we spell out the code of conduct? We don't know if the next blowup is around the corner.