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No Onion In My Salad: How To Manage Emerging Communities

No Onion In My Salad: How To Manage Emerging Communities

Event: WriteTheDocs Unconference, Berlin
Venue: Wikimedia Deutschland

What does it really mean to manage a community? Are the soft skills enough or do we need to consider more?

This is a 30 minute version of an hour-long presentation that I have given countless times before. The aim was to get the documentarian community to start thinking about how their community works and how they want to expand it.

Paul Finlayson Adams

July 19, 2014

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  1. Another Questionable Presentation By Dr. Paul J. Adams No Onion

    In My Salad How To Manage Emerging Communities
  2. When My Friends Become My Other Friend’s Friends M. A.

    L. P. C. W. P. A. Emerging Community?
  3. Who Is This Dude? • 15+ year contributor to Free

    Software: • Zope, Plone, KDE, FSFE, OpenForum Academy • Focus on people and productivity • PhD: “Sustaining Productivity in Free Software Development” • Senior manager in Free Software industry: • Sirius, ZEA Partners, Kolab Systems, KDAB
  4. The Bit About Onions • Crowston and Howison, “The Structure

    of Free and Open Source Software Development”, First Monday, February 2005 • The good: easy to understand, somewhat matches reality. • The bad: static, does not show relationships. Pastel pink, yellow and turquoise really do not belong together.
  5. The Oracle Of (Jono) Bacon • Clearly communities need management

    • This dude literally wrote the book… • And runs the conference • Community Leadership Summit • And it’s all just a little bit… soft. • Is “happy” enough?
  6. Should We Care About Productivity In Volunteer Effort? • Happiness

    improves productivity. Somewhat. But… • It cannot be measured. Especially not in distributed teams. • Productivity is needed because, ultimately, we have users. ! • Modern Free Software projects are complex interactions: • Individuals (volunteer, paid), Companies, NFP, Users… • “Happy” is great. “Happy and productive” is the goal.
  7. Data: A Warning From History • Lots of data sources:

    • VCS, Bug tracker, Wiki, Email… • Some more easily measured than others! • Are my metrics meaningful? • The ballad of “Script Kiddy”
  8. Don’t Interpret: Know nce that something productive has happened. This

    means that we must be careful in how terpret their use. An example of which is provided in Figure 4.5 which shows the daily mit count for a recent release of KDE. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 550 01/0 01/0 01/1 01/1 01/1 01/0 01/0 Daily Data
  9. What Is An Emerging Community? • Let’s start with “community”:

    • A group of people, sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common; • A superset of “family” and a subset of “society”. ! • The emerging community: • Structure is not yet obvious; • Rules are there to be broken, or don’t exist; • No management to enforce the rules, grow the community formally and do that “happy” thing that community managers love.
  10. Now, Some Questions • Structure: • What is the structure

    of the documentarian community? • Is this structure suitable for purpose? • Can we somehow expose the structure to sanity check it? • Rules: • What are the rules documentarians play by? • Who sets them? • Who put them in charge? • Management: • How do we identify potentially unhappy documentarians? • What does it mean to be a productive documentarian? • Can we measure that?
  11. This Deliberately Vague Presentation Was Brought To You By… •

    On the off-chance you’d like to reach me: • [email protected] ! • Where I do social: • Facebook • Twitter (@therealpadams) • Blog (www.baggerspion.net)