Contributor Growth Strategies for OSS Projects
03-14, 10:00–10:30 (Europe/Berlin), Stage 1

Maintaining an open source project is hard work that often extends out over several years, and maintainer burnout is common within open source projects. It can be hard for already overworked maintainers to balance the day to day work required to keep the project running while also investing in additional activity to increase future community sustainability. This includes getting help with all of the different types of contributions required to make an open source project successful: documentation, marketing, community management, and so much more. The good news is that we have best practices, resources, guides, and templates available to make it easier for maintainers and projects to build a contributor strategy that leads to a strong and growing community for an open source project over the long term. This talk will help you apply those resources in your project.

This talk will have several major sections. 1) Discussion about the major factors that impact contributor growth. 2) Developing and executing on a long-term contributor growth strategy, including governance, new contributor onboarding, and mentoring. 3) Using contributor ladders to promote contributors into leadership positions as more maintainers to share the workload can reduce maintainer burnout over time. 4) Metrics for measuring project sustainability.

The audience will walk away with a better understanding of how to grow their contributor base and build a community around their open source project.

See also: Slides (6.3 MB)

Dawn is Director of Open Source Community Strategy at VMware. She is a co-chair of CNCF TAG Contributor Strategy, Board member / maintainer for CHAOSS, Steering Committee member for the TODO Group, and OpenUK board member. She has 20+ years of experience with expertise in community building, strategy, open source software, governance, metrics, and more. She has spoken at over 100 industry events. In her spare time she enjoys reading science fiction, running, and traveling.