An Open Source Project often begins with a piece of code written by one single developer in her/his creative desire to build a common good for everyone and it slowly grows into an army of developers crossing borders and language barriers. Such projects are the foundation of human civilization where knowledge, creativity and innovation are free for all. It is never ‘I’ who builds the Open Source project, but “we the peoples” who collaborate across time zones, cultures and languages.
We begin our journey of FundImpact by thanking countless peoples of the world upon whose work we lay the foundation for this project.
This blog series is about the “Process” of establishing an Open Source project. The process here refers to the long journey of good and bad decisions we took and our learnings from them. The major emphasis would be on “how” and “why” we have taken certain decisions than “what” we did.
In this blog, I’ll talk about the some necessary steps one needs to take to lay a strong foundation for an Open Source project. We’ll talk about creating the brand of the project, choosing the right licensing option, developing strategy for building and engaging community, tools that will help in team collaboration and much more. So, let’s digg in!
Have an address so that people can reach you and know you formally
It’s good to have a dedicated website and email-ids of the team members created upfront for the project you are envisioning. It not only secures your branding but avoids any midway project name change because the domain name of your choice is not available for registration.
Creating official email-ids give team members a sense of belonging. They know they have a stake in the project and they represent it.
And needless to say, the email-ids are what you use everyday to create accounts for all the Online services. Your GitHub account, Cloud Services, Community Forums will all be registered through project email-ids. And even if a person leaves the project, you would still have the control over the account.
To-Do 1: Register Website for the project
To-Do 2: Get Email service
Have you made the list?
Mycroft would always expect his brother Sherlock Holmes to make a list when he goes into dangerous adventures. It surely makes sense to have a list of tasks so that they can be handy for others to support you. I am not referring to the ‘my personal’ to do list of things, but a project management practice of creating a list of tasks that help you better collaborate with others in the team. An Open Source project is all about collaboratively building and developing solutions. Having a good PM tool that matches your work style and promotes healthy collaboration among team members is as critical as an engineering skill set.
I have spent over a decade trying to find a perfect tool for managing teams, but have failed in my endeavours to replicate the success of the tool with the next team. The tool has to adapt to the organizational work practices, what organization measures and values and how the team responds to it.
If the organization is focusing on appraisals then the team would end up creating OKRs that might be useful for their personal growth but don’t really connect with the larger strategy of the organization. If the organization focus is on reducing workloads and calculating burndowns then team members would keep populating the task list. If the management just focuses on the end result, then hardly anyone would update the task list.
Right PM tool is right when it is supplemented with good management practices that aligns with the work habits of people. Even a simple list on a doc could do the job.
TO DO 3: Begin with a rough task list
We started creating a list on Google Sheet. And Soon realized that we need reminders, archive done tasks, and assigning people tasks, creating sub-tasks as well. Doing all these activities was bit messy on Google Sheet. However, one thing that I always like about Google Sheet is that it helps in sorting the my list. I always get a refined categories of Projec Folders, Lis Folders, Work Status, etc. that I need to create on the Project Management Tool. And it is much easier to dump your thoughts and modify list super easy on Google Sheets!
To Do 4: Get the list on a PM Tool with all the jazz
Once you are all sorted with the rough list, its time to bring your most convenient Project Management tool and start allocating tasks and set reminders.