Friday, May 17, 2013

Tea and cookies for your new team members

What does every development team want? New contributors!

I'd like to suggest a simple process that can turn visitors to your website, list or IRC channel into a successful part of the development team. When people actually contribute, they quickly feel like a valuable part of the group. New people bring fresh energy, and new ideas.

At your next sprint or meeting, start dreaming. Is your user documentation well-written and up-to-date? Do you need promotion, or video guides? How about art or diagrams for your website? Speaking of your website, when was the last time all the links were tested, and it was checked for spelling and grammar? Create a nice, friendly list of tasks for your newcomers.

Could your codebase use some grooming, for common misspellings, for instance? (EBN is a great source for these). When you run across a bit of code which needs pruning or refactoring, or normalizing signal-slot stuff, the easy thing is to fix it while it's in front of your eyes. Instead, consider which of these small tasks can be filed as a "Junior Job", created for the purpose of getting those knowledgeable people to move from faithful user, to part of the team.

The Bugsquad and Quality Control teams can likely suggest more ideas, too.

KDE Junior Jobs can be easily found: http://kde.org/jj. Teams can create their own shortcut links too, such as Amarok has done, listed in the #amarok IRC channel topic: http://tinyurl.com/amarokjjs. Other tasks can be blogged about, posted on a trello, on the Community wiki; whatever your team likes to use. For more ideas, see http://community.kde.org/Getinvolved.

The Kubuntu team has a list of tasks in Trello, which works well.

So, when you feel like not fixing a little issue, don't feel lazy. Feel responsible! File a bug, make it a JJ, and call attention to those issues when new folks show up and ask, how can I help?


PS: Thanks to the #kde-www team for suggesting this blog. Einar77, neverdingo, mamarok; you are wonderful.

PPS: How LibreOffice does it: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Development/Easy_Hacks