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

Jill Rouleau jillr at redhat.com
Thu Jan 31 18:00:13 UTC 2019

+ openstack-mentoringOn Thu, 2019-01-31 at 11:45 +0100, Thierry Carrez wrote:
> 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

TIL - will start sharing this with our mentees when they sign up.

> 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.

We've got a list of folks now who have volunteered to be mentors for
various topics but we've struggled to get mentees and mentors engaged
with each other and the program.  There seems to be a hurdle between "I
need/want to help" and active participation.  A list of "this team needs
this specific help" might actually be beneficial to getting people
active, whereas I don't know that we'd gain much from another list of
people who are generally open to helping (as much as that willingness to
help is appreciated).

> 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?

Hopefully some of the folks who have signed up for the cohort mentoring
program can share their thoughts here.

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