I was in Portland last week for a work week and Michelle recommended that I try the donuts at Blue Star. The blueberry donut was really great. The inside of the bakery was interesting too—right inside the doors was a big mural that said ‘Quality over Quantity’.
That turned out to be an good summary of the work week. We were checking in on progress toward this year’s goal to grow the number of active contributors by 10x and also thinking about how we could increase the impact of our community building work next year.
One clear take-away was that community building can’t be all about growth. Some teams, like Location Service, do need large numbers of new active contributors, but many teams don’t. For instance, localization needs to develop the active contributors already in the project into core contributors that can take on a bigger role.
For me, creating a draft framework that would give us more ways to support teams and communities was the most important thing we did—in addition to taking a great team photo 🙂
Growth is part of this framework, but it includes other factors for us to look at to make sure that we’re building healthy functional and regional communities. The health measures we think we should be focusing on next year are:
- Retention (how many contributors are staying and leaving)
- Growth (how many new contributors are joining)
- Development (how many contributors are getting more deeply involved in a project)
- Sentiment (how do contributors feel about being involved)
- Capacity (how are teams increasing their ability to build communities)
Having this more nuanced approach to community building will create more value because it aligns better with the needs we’re seeing across Mozilla. The growth work we’ve done has been critical to getting us here and we should continue that along with adding more to what we offer.
There is a video that Rainer just posted that has a story Chris Hofmann told at last year’s summit about one contributor that had a huge impact on the project. This is a great example of how we should be thinking more broadly about community building.
We should be setting up participation systems that let us help teams build long-lasting relationships with contributors like Scoobidiver as well as helping teams connect with large numbers of people to focus on an issue for a short time when that is what’s needed.
Moral of this story: Eat more donuts—they help you think 🙂