The annual Fedora contributor conference, Flock, took place from August 8-11, 2018. Several members of the Community Operations (CommOps) team were present for the conference. We also held a half-day team sprint for team members and interested people to participate and share feedback with the team.

This blog post summarizes some of the high-level takeaways and next steps for CommOps based on the feedback we received.

What we talked about

Our team sprint was significant for planning future goals and milestones for CommOps. Our sprint was a hands-on session split between Fedora Appreciation Week planning and exploring new questions to answer in fedmsg metrics.

  • Fedora Appreciation Week
    • Revisited timeline, updated roadmap (see latest comments in #110)
    • First draft of new roadmap in Etherpad
  • Metrics, fedmsg, and data analysis
    • Grimoire dashboard delayed – but how can we start answering questions now with tools we have today?
    • Interactive activity to generate ideas on most valuable / interesting metrics to review
    • Tentative plan on how to start

Deeper into metrics and data

The metrics discussion was the longest part of our session and also the least planned for. The CommOps session was intentionally unstructured to benefit from the people in the room. A fedmsg developer joined us for the first half of the session, and along with many others, we explored possibilities for questions we can answer about Fedora with today’s data and tools.

Reviewing Grimoire

An interactive Grimoire dashboard with graphs, charts, and other visualizations is still desired, but we lost our lead developer this year. We looked to see if it is possible to salvage the plan, and decided to put it on hold until we can find development interest and support for a Perceval fedmsg ingestion plugin.

Since Grimoire is blocked, the discussion drove towards answering data questions today with the tools we have now.

Brainstorming on sticky notes

What do you do when you’re in a room full of people with different backgrounds and interests, and you don’t know how to make things less awkward? Thankfully, sticky notes are convenient to get everyone present involved and draw out unique ideas because of the diversity in the room. Next, we distributed sticky notes and asked a broad question: what questions do you want answered about Fedora?

The responses were quite interesting and we had a lot of questions to sort through and arrange. We categorized and sorted similar ideas together and created three buckets, based on the buckets we identified at the CommOps 2018 FAD.

Scratch notes from brainstorming at the Fedora Project Community Operations (CommOps) team sprint at Flock 2018 in Dresden, Germany
Scratch notes from brainstorming at the Fedora Project Community Operations (CommOps) team sprint at Flock 2018 in Dresden, Germany.

The three “buckets” identified were as follows:

  • Individual contributors
  • Teams / sub-projects
  • Overall Fedora Project community

Top metrics questions to explore

For each bucket, we identified a top question we thought was both interesting and valuable, and could also be answered with fedmsg tools we have in place today.

Question 1: Who contributes in a single, narrow place versus broadly and in many places?

Do we have many contributors in specific, narrow places versus contributors working in many different areas? If so, could we better connect the narrow places to other parts of the community that find their input valuable? An example is connecting a sub-project or team to something like the Fedora Magazine or CommBlog for improved visibility.

Question 2: What do drive-by contributors do?

Do we have many small activities (in time needed to contribute) yet they generate high levels of activity by drive-by contributors? Can we get more visibility of some of these high-interest places across the wider community?

Thinking ahead to 2019

For the rest of 2018, our hands are full with Fedora Appreciation Week and other tasks (like migrating from our mailing list to Discourse). However, we started to brainstorm high priority tasks to look at in 2019.

  • Answer identified metrics questions from session
  • Begin writing on-boarding guide for publication

Better format for next time

One suggestion for next year’s Flock conference: we had better engagement focusing on narrow, specific topics in our sub-project than having a broad, general focus of “team planning” for our session. We were better able to engage with everyone who decided to show up (since they had some sort of interest if they decided to join our session). When the scope was narrow and specific, people had several ideas and we opened an intersectionalist view on many of the things we’re doing (which is really what CommOps is all about).

We’re making progress to wrapping out 2018 on a high note, and Flock provided an opportunity for us to work together and plan for the future. All CommOps contributors as of today are remote, so the precious time a few of us get to spend together is valuable to plan ahead for huge gaps of time when we are apart and limited to IRC, mailing lists, and other text communication.

We hope to see you next year at the CommOps session at Flock!