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Jishnu Menon and Liz Compton

Identify Community

Q: Can you identify all of the contributors on your team (both paid-staff and volunteer-staff)?

A: Yes. Paid staff is the legal team, and we have a list of our legal contributors on the intranet. There is probably a better way to keep track of them though.

Suggestion: Use the contributor directory to help. Communicate through your team's channels and encourage people to sign up and group themselves with a common team tag. If you assign a group tag to all contributors on your project, the Mozillians dashboard will track the size of that group and will also allow you to easily export the contact information for group members. You can export these contacts to ensure all your contributors are signed up.

Define Contribution Opportunities

Q: Can you point someone interested in contributing to your project to a list of available contribution opportunities?

A: So far, we've handled this by sending an email to our contributor list every so often identifying the current projects we need help with. We're exploring other possibilities, for example there's a start up at Stanford called LawGives that's purpose is to match up legal volunteers with projects needing legal help.

Suggestion: Look at what your team's needs are and what gaps you have in staffing to come up with a list of contribution opportunities. Capture those on a wiki page, in bugs, as role descriptions in Jobvite or whatever makes sense for your community.

Map Contribution Paths

Q: Are there clearly understood steps someone can follow to go from knowing nothing about your project to successfully contributing?

A: No, though lawyers are accustomed to doing pro bono work. This is something LawGives could make pretty easy.

Suggestion: In addition to just documenting these steps, look for a simple 5-minute task that someone can take to get started (for example, signing up for Bugzilla if they are interested in coding) and also figure out where in the process you can add a mentor to help people.

Establish Goals and Metrics

Q: Can you measure participation or contributors today? If so, what metrics can you track? What goal or metric would you like to achieve for Q1? Alternatively, what metrics would you like to get in place for Q1?

A: We have a small number of contributors and a small number of projects, so we can keep track of contributor participation manually. Over the next couple of quarters we'd like to get better processes in place to involve contributors.

Suggestion: Write down what you think would be helpful to track even if it isn't possible to get that data today. We'll work on implementing dashboards when we know what data we want.


Luis Villa has written a paper on this that may have helpful ideas and suggestions.