Today at the LibreOffice Conference in Berlin, I will be presenting a session titled, “Open Source Community Metrics: Tips and Techniques for Measuring Participation.” It has tools, techniques and examples of metrics from the LibreOffice project, Puppet and MeeGo to illustrate several ways to gather and interpret the metrics for your open source project.
If you are interested in watching the presentation, it will be on the LibreOffice Conference live stream starting at 18:00 CEST in Berlin or 9am Pacific time.
You can also download a copy of the presentation from SlideShare.
Do you know what people are really doing in your open source project? Having good community data and metrics for your open source project is a great way to understand what works and what needs improvement over time, and metrics can also be a nice way to highlight contributions from key project members. This session will focus on tips and techniques for collecting and analyzing metrics from tools commonly used by open source projects. It’s like people watching, but with data.
The best thing about open source projects is that you have all of your community data in the public at your fingertips. You just need to know how to gather the data about your open source community so that you can hack it all together to get something interesting that you can really use. We’ll start with some general guidance for coming up with a set of metrics that makes sense for your project and talk about the LibreOffice community metrics. The focus of the session will be on tips and techniques for collecting metrics from tools commonly used by open source projects: Bugzilla, MediaWiki, Mailman, IRC and more. It will include both general approaches and technical details about using various data collection tools, like mlstats. The final section of the presentation will talk about techniques for sharing this data with your community and highlighting contributions from key community members. For anyone who loves playing with data as much as I do, metrics can be a fun way to see what your community members are really doing in your open source project.
After being lazy and taking a nice little month and a half off of work after leaving Intel, I’m happy to announce that I have just accepted the Community Manager job at Puppet Labs. I will be spending most of my time during the first month just lurking and learning more about the community while working on things like community metrics before diving too far into the job.
I am super excited to be working at Puppet Labs. It’s a great team of people, and I’m looking forward to working at a startup in downtown Portland again!
I’ll be starting at Puppet Labs on Thursday during PuppetConf in San Francisco. James will have a session on the State of the Community at Friday at 10:45 (you can watch the live stream) if you want to learn more about the Puppet community.
If you’ll be at PuppetConf on Thursday or Friday, find me and say hello!
After over two years of leading the community efforts for the Open Source Technology Center, I have decided to leave Intel. This was a really tough decision for me, but the reality is that the job isn’t the right fit for me right now for a variety of reasons. I want to thank the management of the Open Source Technology Center for working with me during the process of trying to make the job work better for me. It’s a great team of people who continue to do really interesting work in open source.
But, it was more than just the job. I’ve worked in large companies and startups, and I’ve realized that I really want to get back into a startup again. I miss the energy of working in a startup where everything moves faster than in a large corporation.
I’ll be taking the rest of August mostly off to relax and work on a few geeky personal projects. Starting in September, I’ll either take a full-time job or do some consulting while I continue to look for the right opportunity. I’ve already starting talking to a few people, and I would like to eventually land at a startup in a Director / VP level community, evangelist or open source position. I’m willing to take my time to find the right fit, and that includes finding a job where I can live in Portland, but travel to other places as needed.
I feel very fortunate to have some flexibility and other options that allow me to make this move now. As a result, my last day at Intel will be August 7. While I will miss many of the friends and smart people I’ve worked with at Intel, I feel like this is the right decision for me at this time.
Photo by Patrick McGarvey used under a Creative Commons license. A side note: this is one of my favorite roller coasters, The Maverick, at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, and I plan to ride it on vacation next week! 🙂
Most of us get into the swing of our day to day routine and work habits, which can be good most of the time. However, occasionally, you need to take a fresh look at your community to get a new perspective on what you have. We sometimes remember to do this when we notice issues, but the best time to do this is when the community is healthy.
When was the last time you really looked at your primary landing page for your community? Take the time to really look at everything on that page, and remember that your landing pages are primarily for new and prospective community members, since active community members will just dive right into the heart of the community. Is everything still relevant? Does it focus on the right things for your community to help new community members easily find what they need?
When was the last time you looked at every page on your website or your wiki to see what information was out of date or irrelevant? This may not be practical for a very large community, but you can use your analytics programs to help you at least find the most frequently used pages to review.
Are the discussions in your community productive and appropriate? Take a hard look at what people are discussing and the tone of those discussions. If it doesn’t feel right for your community (and this varies for each community), then spend some time thinking about what you can do to make it better.
Photo by Mars Infomage used under a Creative Commons license.
This is the first post in an attempt to resurrect my Community Manager Tips series, a collection of short posts to share quick tips for community managers, to get me back into the blogging habit.
People often ask me for a list of the “best” communities that they can use as a model when building their own community, but this is fundamentally the wrong question. Each community has a different audience, different goals, and a different purpose. Building your community based on what works for another successful community can fail very quickly if that community doesn’t have the same needs as your community.
A better question is, “what type of communities are my competitors building and what does or doesn’t work for them?” Your top competitors are likely to be more similar to you than other companies, and this gives you a place to start. Spend some time lurking in your competitors communities to see how they work and try to get a feel for what works and doesn’t work for them. Look for common complaints, and come up with interesting ways to solve them in your community. Pay attention to what people enjoy or get excited about, and think about how you might get people excited about your community. You shouldn’t model your community on a competitor’s community, but this analysis along with some basic best practices will probably give you a start for how you want to build your community or improve an existing one.
Don’t copy other companies. Build something unique that will work well for your audience while also meeting your goals.
Part of a series of community manager tips blog posts.
Photo by Juliancolton2 used under a Creative Commons license.
I published the book, Companies and Communities: Participating without being sleazy, in March 2009. For some reason, people are still buying it, despite it’s increasing age! I just paged through it, and while a few sections have information that just isn’t relevant now, there is still some good stuff in it. However, there is enough outdated content that I just can’t justify the original price tag, so I decided to permanently reduce the price while I decide if I want to take the time to update and revise it for a second edition.
Here are the newly reduced prices
- Paperback book is available for $9.99.
- Kindle version from Amazon for $4.99.
- Buy the PDF eBook for $6.99.
Now, here’s the question. Would people be interested in a second edition of the book with updated content? I learned a lot about book formatting by doing this book and my more recent cookbook, so I know I could put together a more polished version. I could also add new content and the quick tips from my community manager tips series.
Every year, I like to write some kind of year in review blog post. I started writing these in 2007 as a way for people that I don’t talk to very often to keep up with what I’ve been doing, but I’ve found that it helps me see what I’ve accomplished (or not accomplished) that I can use to reflect on what I want to do in the next year. You can find the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 editions if you want to see how this year compares with previous years.
2011 in Review
In general, I stayed much more focused this year. In past years, I’ve had a tendency to become exhausted and burned out with too many side projects. This year, I focused on a couple of things and was happier and healthier as a result.
- I finally published my vegan cookbook: What Dawn Eats: Vegan Food That Isn’t Weird. I have been collecting recipes for this cookbook for 15 years, and I am really excited to have it published. It is available in paperback, Kindle edition and PDF format. Out of everything I did in 2011, this is what I am most proud to have accomplished.
- I spent a lot of time traveling in 2011, which is something I had been wanting to do for a long time. After ending a relationship of 6 years in May, I realized that this was a great opportunity to combine some of my work travel with a few fun side trips, since I didn’t need to hurry home to anyone. Aside from a few trips to San Francisco, Ohio, Seattle and Austin, most of my travel was international. I went to Vancouver (BC), Victoria, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. You can see pictures from some of my trips on Flickr, but I’ve been a little lazy about getting the set from Europe posted.
- I also had more than my share of personal turmoil this year after my father unexpectedly passed away in June. It was a sudden reminder that life is short, which also fueled my travel bug to see the world while I can. However, the silver lining in all of this is that my sister and I learned that we had another sister that we never knew about. It’s been great to spend some time getting to know her and my new adorable little niece.
- Aside from a little slacking during the holidays, I’ve been happy with my progress toward getting stronger and healthier. Over the summer, I had a few long runs of over 8 miles (~13k), which is longer than I had ever run in my entire life! I had a minor setback in an unfortunate incident with a sidewalk (sidewalk: 1, Dawn: 0), but I didn’t let it slow me down. The doctor called me an endorphin junkie as I was sitting in his office a week later looking at the follow-up x-ray of my fractured finger asking him when I could start running again, but he gave me the OK as long I as didn’t fall on my hand. During the cold and rainy winter months, I’ve been mostly a gym rat, lifting weights and doing cardio on the machines, but it keeps me in shape until the weather improves enough for me to want to run outside.
- From a work perspective, I am still leading the Community Office within Intel’s Open Source Technology Center. While it’s been a rough year with a lot of changes in some of my projects (MeeGo and now Tizen), I’m happy with the work. I get to work with amazing, smart people both on the team at Intel and in the community of open source developers, and I have the opportunity to work on interesting projects while traveling to new places.
- I’ve also presented at a bunch of conferences this year. Most of the presentations were related to my work at Intel talking about MeeGo, Tizen or community metrics at various Linux Foundation events, the MeeGo conference, AppUp Elements, OS Bridge and OSCON. However, I also did a couple of presentations about Hacking RSS at SXSW and WebVisions, just for fun 🙂
- I also somehow found time to read almost 40 books this year and am attempting to learn French.
What I Want to Accomplish in 2012
- I plan to continue to do more traveling in 2012. I really have the travel bug, and I just want to visit places that I’ve never seen before.
- Like last year, I want to continue to be even healthier this year to build endurance and strength with longer runs in the 8-13 mile range and more regularly hitting the gym to lift weights. After pigging out over the holidays, I also need to get more diligent about not eating too much and making better choices about what I eat.
- In a carryover from what I wanted to accomplish in 2011, but never quite got around to it … I still want to get back into doing some light programming for fun projects. I’ve been dabbling a bit over the past couple of years, but mostly with things like shell scripts and awk that aren’t really programming, so I’d like to do more with PHP and APIs.
- Right now, I’m at the phase in my French lessons where I know some basic vocabulary, but I want to get to a point where I can actually carry on a conversation in French that goes beyond basic greetings and travel phrases in 2012.
- I will also try to get better about blogging here after neglecting this blog for the past few months.
Here is a summary of links to my posts appearing on other blogs over the past couple of months while I was mostly neglecting all my blogging 🙂
What Dawn Eats*
Buy the cookbook (available in paperback, kindle edition or PDF)!
- Tizen: I am a full-time employee at Intel and contributing to Tizen is part of my job.
- What Dawn Eats is a Fast Wonder LLC venture
Here is a summary of links to my posts appearing on other blogs over the past couple of weeks.
What Dawn Eats*
Buy the cookbook! Get $2.00 off the cookbook using discount code: 4V76EQLR
Dave Neary and I co-presented a session about metrics at OSCON on Wednesday based on what we have learned so far from doing the MeeGo metrics.
Every community manager knows that community metrics are important, but how do you come up with a plan and figure out what you want to measure? Most community managers have their own set of hacky scripts for extracting data from various sources after they decide what metrics to track. There is no standardized Community Software Dashboard you can use to generate near-real-time stats on your community growth.
Like most open source projects, we have diverse community infrastructure for MeeGo, including Mailman, Drupal, Mediawiki, IRC, git, OpenSuse Build Service, Transifex and vBulletin. We wanted to unify these sources together, extract meaningful statistics from the data we had available to us, and present it to the user in a way that made it easy to see if the community was developing nicely or not.
Building on the work of Pentaho, Talend, MLStats, gitdm and a host of others, we built a generic and open source community dashboard for the MeeGo project, and integrated it into the website. The project was run in the open at on the MeeGo wiki and all products of the project are available for reuse.
This presentation covered the various metrics we wanted to measure, how we extracted the data from a diverse set of services to do it, and more importantly, how you can do it too.