Open Source Community Health: Your Guide to Continuous (Community) Improvement

Open Source Community Health: Your Guide to Continuous (Community) Improvement

>>Hi, I’m Jessica Deen and you’re watching
the Open Source Show. I build communities
for a living and…>>Strangely, so do I.
I am Jono Bacon, so.>>Imagine that.>>Throughout the course of
our conversations previously, we’ve talked about some of
the higher level principles around how you build communities, how you get people
engaged, how you develop passion in
things such as that. One of the things I’ve
learned over the years is, how do you measure this? Because if you’re
not measuring it, then you’re not tracking it and then if you’re
not tracking it, you’re not evolving
it and growing it. What’s your thinking
about how we should think about metrics
and to do it well.>>I think the first thing
to realize is that, just because it’s community
and it’s not something that’s tangible or software, doesn’t mean that telemetry or data is therefore unnecessary.>>Right.>>We still need this data, because how else are we
going to improve, right? How else do we know
if we’re adding value to our communities?>>Yeah.>>Whether that’s communities
online and code projects, there still needs to be
some sort of insight where we can really figure out if we’re offering that value.>>Yeah, yeah.>>Like metrics when you’re
doing community projects, and on GitHub, how
many merged pull request do we have of contribution and working
with the community?>>Yeah.>>There’s some key metrics.>>Yeah, yeah.>>It’s somewhere I
use the analogy a lot where it’s a lot like
software development, right? I push this release out but, I need that telemetry
to be able to monitor if I’m even delivering
value to my end users.>>Right. It’s pretty similar. I think one of
the challenges here is that when people
think about metrics, to me there’s an action and there’s a validation
of the action.>>Yeah.>>So, a lot of people
watching this will be probably running
open source projects, or involved in
open source projects.>>Yeah.>>You’re probably
tracking things such as the number of pull requests
that’s been submitted.>>Yeah.>>That to me tracks an action. A lot of marketing people would describe this as
filling the funnel. But to me, the merging of the pull requests is in
many ways even more important, because it demonstrates that
a peer review process has been executed and is
being put in place. We can do this, like one of the things I’m a huge fan of is, is when people…there’s a forum platform called
Disqus and it’s got trust levels where as people participate more
and more they go up. But that metric is defined
for not just reading, but also posting and being liked and filling in your profile
and things like that.>>Yeah.>>This is I think
is easier in to your point about instrumentation when you can do that digitally, but I know you’ve got a lot of experience,
particularly with events. How do you track
that? For example, if you see people
watching this and they want to meetup
for a conference, how do you track if
your conference is going well?>>So, I think again,
still validation or information that’s still all
really important, right? You still need to know if your attendees are
enjoying the event. Do they find
the content valuable? Sometimes you can get
that data from surveys. Anytime I produce a video or anytime I’m on stage or anytime I’m having
a conversation, I always make sure they
have my Twitter handle. I work a lot with container
orchestration and Kubernetes. If they go deploy their container to ACR for the first time,
tag me in your deployment.>>Right.>>So, tag me on Twitter
or tweet about it and then I retweet them. It allows me to also bridge
that genuine communication. You can also get
it by using event specific hashtags and then tracking that traction
on Twitter. Twitter actually has a great analytics platform
built right in.>>Yeah.>>It not only empowers
the event organizers and the community organizers
to get that data, but it also is really
useful for the speaker. I can then also use that hashtag to track
feedback about my session, about the event, and I
can use that for perhaps, the next time I come and speak.>>There maybe situations
where you actually have a very small turnout at an event, but it adds a tremendous
amount of value.>>Yeah.>>To me the value proposition
is the most important. I think what underlines
all of this in my mind, is that we have to have a proactive, positive attitude
towards feedback. Sometimes feedback that
is constructive yet is critical or disagreeable.>>Absolutely.>>But also the fact that we
make mistakes and we fail sometimes and that’s
okay if you can fix it, if you can resolve it. To be honest with you, years ago, I didn’t track as much stuff as I should have done for that fear. I think there’s a lot of opportunity for people to wrap their heads
around that as well. So, I think to do this, you have to be
accepting of the fact that your graphs may go
in the wrong direction, your metrics actually may tell you that you’re doing
something wrong. But that’s a good
thing. I actually like to make one recommendation, is for people to check out this philosophy called Stoicism, which is fundamentally
about that. It’s about how you approach your self-awareness in the world.>>Well, I feel like the only way you’re
going to improve is, if you know where your weak links are and then you can take
that and iterate.>>Exactly. Yeah.>>If your code repo
has issues, do you just let the issues
sit there or are you going to take a look
at it, fix it, and then you can
produce something more valuable next time around.>>Yeah. Well, you should fix it.>>You should fix it,
assuming you fix, so. Well, I think that’s
all the time we have for today. So, I want to thank
everyone for joining us, for hanging out with us. If you do want to learn
more about open source or resources that can help you maybe in the space and in
the metric space, you can feel free to click
some of the links down below. You can also check out If you also want to check out Jono’s book for
The Art of Community. You can click on his head and there’ll be a link that
will be put there.>>Careful.>>Thank you everyone for joining us and have a great day.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

3 thoughts on “Open Source Community Health: Your Guide to Continuous (Community) Improvement

  1. What gave me a good start in setting up metrics, was Jono's book (The Art of Community). It describes how to take a company/project mission and vision, work that out to goals. That then makes it easy to define 'KPI's' and setup your metrics around that.

    Then continuous improvement kicks in. Constantly evaluating with every action (release, content, events), up front, if you need to adjust or add to your metrics. Especially when making changes to your community platform, for example, introducing a forum or other channel.

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