Contribution training as a true community effort
OpenStack is a dynamic and still continuously growing community with members from all over the world. Finding the entry points to an environment like this is not always trivial, which is why prior to each Summit there is a two-day event that helps newcomers to learn how to participate. This Upstream Training is offered by the OpenStack Foundation as the result of pure community effort, where our motto is ‘Open Collaboration.’
During the course, experienced contributors explain the different ways of participating in the community like being part of working groups or providing code and documentation contributions. By the end of the two days the students have all the necessary tools, from communication to development to get the most out of the Summit and embed themselves in the community.
Maturing community with evolving training
The training has been run for more than two-and-a-half years now. During this time both the format and the content has been changing constantly to adapt to the latest trends and processes that are being used in OpenStack.
There is a small team dedicated to maintaining the content and encouraging people from the active technical and user community to join and help improving the material, format and running the course on site. Before the Barcelona Summit there was an influx of new mentors to support the remodeling and growth of the upstream training.
Now, the goal is to switch to a more interactive and hands-on format during the two days to teach the participants how to communicate with the community, how to solve problems by themselves and how to thrive and survive in an open environment like OpenStack. Beyond this, the focus is to improve the training experience by providing a Virtual Machine (VM) disk image with a pre-built development environment – special thanks to Mark Korondi for the idea and all the efforts. For the Barcelona upstream training, DreamHost provided public cloud access for those students who didn’t have the hardware to support the provided VM.
— Tobias Rydberg (@tobberydberg) October 24, 2016
This extra preparation made it so that student’s different versions of a variety of operating systems didn’t cause delays or headaches during the class; it took less than 45 minutes to set up the unified environment on everyone’s machines. If someone ran into issues during a hands-on exercise, even classmates were able to help them out – a true community experience!
The two-day training yielded a record number of students, around 90 people filling the whole auditorium. They left the training with an OpenStack Foundation membership, registered to mailing lists, with the knowledge of how to actively communicate on IRC, how to use the contribution workflow and tools and were prepared to get the most out of the Summit week!
The journey continues – future plans
The Upstream Training has grown to be a real project with an enthusiastic team and a governance structure that includes regular meetings to help foster collaboration, gather feedback from former students, and discuss future plans.
The survey results about how the Barcelona upstream training went has shown a balance of both supportive comments and constructive criticism. The team appreciates all the feedback and is encouraged to continue to work hard on the training by comments similar to this heart warming one: “But most of all – thank you guys so much for the time you spent to put this together and execute a successful 1.5 days!”
Recent discussion on how to make the training more available to those who are interested, but unable to attend the Summits has turned towards an abridged version being offered at the OpenStack Days events that are smaller conferences all around the globe.
As OpenStack is constantly changing, we are exploring ways to introduce newcomers to the community and help them become active participants in it. And, just like with the code, we can always use more eyes, hands and ideas in our journey forward. We had mentors in Barcelona who attended previous upstream trainings and were eager to join us and become mentors to those who are new to OpenStack.
If you would like to follow our activities please join one of our meetings here: http://eavesdrop.openstack.org/#Training-guides_Team_Meeting or reach out to Ildiko Vancsa (IRC on Freenode: ildikov, mail: [email protected]) or Kendall Nelson (IRC: diablo_rojo, mail: [email protected])
A special thanks to all the mentors who came to help:
- Ildikó Váncsa – The OpenStack Foundation
- Márk Korondi – IBM Research Zürich
- Kendall Nelson – The OpenStack Foundation
- Victoria Martinez de la Cruz – Red Hat
- Márton Kiss – Aptira
- Jay Bryant – IBM
- Patrick East – PureStorage
- Xing Yang – Dell EMC
- Ghanshyam Mann – NEC
- Gergely Csatári – Nokia
- Melvin Hillsman – OSIC
- Christian Berendt – B1 Systems GmbH
- Anne Gentle – Cisco
- Jirayut Nimsaeng- Kaidee
- Kato Tomoyuki- Fujitsu