From Storming to Performing: Growing Your Project's Contributor Experience

Set your contributor community on a course to not just survive, but thrive

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The early days of a project seem so clear. Write some code, author some documentation, & post it on GitHub. Then wait for those GitHub stars! But OSS is as much about people as code. We’ll take an honest look at the contributor experience for a sustainable open source project.

We apply the form/storm/norm/perform model as a way to approach growth. With stories, examples, & our own experiences, we share practical guidance on how you can set your open source contributor community on a course to not just survive, but thrive.

Part 1: Form — Tackling first tasks together

  • Code
  • Website
  • Messaging
  • Docs

Part 2: Storm — Gaining trust & sorting things out

  • Resolving disputes
  • Code of Conduct
  • Governance
  • Coding standards
  • Contributors are not employees/coworkers

Part 3: Norm — Sharing responsibility

  • Issue management
  • Delegating work
  • Standardizing communication channels

Part 4: Perform — Optimizing for the long haul

  • Retaining maintainers
  • Maintainer turnover & recruiting
  • Emeritus status
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