Monday, June 15, 2009

Lessons From The Open Source Community For The Wave Community

Lessons on Community Management from the Open Source World, Angela ... Fostering the Drupal community is actually more important than managing the code base. ........ the success of healthy open source projects defies all logic. Scores of individuals from all over the world, all of whom have different skill levels, use cases, experience, native languages, and time zones, collaborate together in order to help make a project succeed. ........... How is it that all of this chaos comes together and creates something wonderful and useful? ........ a diverse, passionate, and vibrant global community. ......... Create a Great Community and Great Code Will Follow .......... the project's developers, but also to those who report bugs, review fixes, answer support requests, design interfaces, provide translations, help with marketing and evangelism, and write and edit documentation. ............. Many key individuals who are driving forces within open source projects got their start by fixing typos in documentation or answering other users' support questions. ......... A culture that values a well-written tutorial as much as a well-written application programming interface (API) is much more likely to attract and retain newcomers than a culture that values seasoned developers, or the marketing team, at the expense of everyone else. ............... the difficulty in managing a community of strongly independent individuals, each with their own motivations. .......... contributing can directly or indirectly lead to paid work which acts as another long-term retention tool. ............ people won't get the peer reviews they require to accomplish their goals by being arrogant, insulting, and demeaning towards others. ............ The sooner a frustrated user realizes that there is only a collective “we" where each contributes whatever they can to make the project better, the sooner the transformation into contributor can take place. Users then learn to channel their frustration into an effective force for change. ............ The same peer review process that lends itself to building a strong community and great software can be terrifying to newcomers. .......... The natural problem-solving methodology for perfectionists tends to be withdrawal from the community and working quietly in isolation until they believe they've achieved something that is immune to criticism. This brings with it a whole host of problems ........................ their work can get permanently trapped in "analysis paralysis" and never see the light of day. ........... Working in isolation eliminates transparency ........... In a worst-case scenario, the larger community has already developed a solution to a problem in parallel by the time the perfectionist is finished, leading the perfectionist to extreme frustration, particularly if coupled with a deep attachment to their own solution. ........................... vital to establish a strong culture of “release early, release often” ............ a lack of attachment to any one solution so that the best possible solution is found. ...... The key difference that separates healthy perfectionist contributors from unhealthy ones is the participation in a collaborative problem-solving process, rather than an introverted one. ................ Focus on the people, not the product. A team that enjoys working with one another will naturally be more productive. Take a "mental health" check of the people on your team. Is there animosity brewing between two or more groups that could be solved by them working more closely together? Is decision-making in the hands of a single individual, hampering the feeling of ownership by other, capable people? Resolving these kinds of issues should take precedence over anything else. ............. fight red tape in all of its forms. Remember that a frustrated person is often best poised to lead revolutionizing changes for the better as they have the motivation. Get the road blocks out of their way and empower them to get to work. ........... Put processes in place that help prevent perfectionists from getting trapped in their own heads, and get them working with others instead."
I have been part of a conversation at the Google Wave API Google Group where I have been trying to suggest community is as important as code, and so there has to be talk of the culture of the Wave developer community. Many have disagreed saying code is all that matters. Some have said community also matters but maybe you don't know enough to be talking community either. I don't know what I don't know. But vision and group dynamics are specialties all their own.

The last suggestion I made was, let's have 100 threads on purely technical issues, and I hope to develop my technical chops along the way, but let's have one thread where we talk about fluffy issues like vision and community. Code and community do belong at the same forum.

Once it is established that both code and community are important, we can then move on to studying the lessons of the open source communities past so as to distill from their best practices, because the Wave developer community, culturally speaking, has more in common with the open source communities than any of the corporate ones.

Building a community of developers is not just about code.

I am not trying to lead or follow. I am just trying to be part of the conversation, to learn from the conversation, to contribute to the conversation.

Google Wave Developer Community: Asking For A Culture?
The Google Corporate Culture
Google Wave: Organizations Will Go Topsy Turvy
Google Wave: Enormous Buzz
Possible Google Wave Applications And Innovations
Google Wave Architecture: Designed For Mass, Massive, Global Innovation
The Google Wave Architecture
Google Wave Ripples
Is Google Wave Social Enough To Challenge Facebook, Twitter?
Of Waves And Tsunamis
Google Wave: Wave Of The Future?
Google Wave: If Email Were Invented Today

From The Google Blogs

1 Wave Sandbox, 5 Hours, 17 Awesome Demos
The Making of the Sudoku Gadget
Google Wave API Office Hours
Google Wave team heads to Google Developer Days in Asia
Introducing the Google Wave APIs: what can you build?
Went Walkabout. Brought back Google Wave.

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