[tc] The future of the "Help most needed" list

Thierry Carrez thierry at openstack.org
Thu Jan 31 10:45:25 UTC 2019

Hi everyone,

The "Help most needed" list[1] was created by the Technical Committee to 
clearly describe areas of the OpenStack open source project which were 
in the most need of urgent help. This was done partly to facilitate 
communications with corporate sponsors and engineering managers, and be 
able to point them to an official statement of need from "the project".

[1] https://governance.openstack.org/tc/reference/help-most-needed.html

This list encounters two issues. First it's hard to limit entries: a lot 
of projects teams, SIGs and other forms of working groups could use 
extra help. But more importantly, this list has had a very limited 
impact -- new contributors did not exactly magically show up in the 
areas we designated as in most need of help.

When we raised that topic (again) at a Board+TC meeting, a suggestion 
was made that we should turn the list more into a "job description" 
style that would make it more palatable to the corporate world. I fear 
that would not really solve the underlying issue (which is that at our 
stage of the hype curve, no organization really has spare contributors 
to throw at random hard problems).

So I wonder if we should not reframe the list and make it less "this 
team needs help" and more "I offer peer-mentoring in this team". A list 
of contributor internships offers, rather than a call for corporate help 
in the dark. I feel like that would be more of a win-win offer, and more 
likely to appeal to students, or OpenStack users trying to contribute back.

Proper 1:1 mentoring takes a lot of time, and I'm not underestimating 
that. Only people that are ready to dedicate mentoring time should show 
up on this new "list"... which is why it should really list identified 
individuals rather than anonymous teams. It should also probably be 
one-off offers -- once taken, the offer should probably go off the list.

Thoughts on that? Do you think reframing help-needed as 
mentoring-offered could help? Do you have alternate suggestions?

Thierry Carrez (ttx)

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