Tips For Organizing A Successful Sprint

DjangoCon US 2018 is almost here. If you haven’t already thought about organizing a code sprint for your favorite project, now is the time! With that in mind, we have a few reminders on how to make the most of the sprints.

  • DjangoCon US offers one of the best opportunities to expose your project to a large number of potential contributors. Be as prepared as you can to help developers of all levels get started making contributions.
    • Do you have a contributor’s guide?
    • If so, does it have a section for new contributors?
    • Does your issue tracker have labels for issues that are good for beginners, or that specify the type of help wanted? If you were new to your project, would you know where to start?
    • Do you have experience with instructing and coaching? Are there experienced folks on your project who have special skills and interest in facilitating others’ learning? Do you want to rotate responsibilities so that people get chances to focus on code for some time and to focus on coaching others for some time as well?

If you’ve answered “no” to any of the above points, now would be a good time to start working on them. The better prepared you are for new contributors, the more new contributors you’ll find.

We’d also like to put a little extra focus on the various types of beginners you’ll encounter during the sprints. These include novice developers and more experienced developers who are novice open source contributors. This year, we’re pleased to offer a Git help desk and FLOSS tutorial, to support new and aspiring contributors getting started, but we’d also like sprint organizers to keep this matter in mind.

  • Sprint Leaders and Volunteers, be sure to take extra care and be kind to beginners of all types. Making your first open source contribution can be nerve wracking, even for experienced developers. Do your best to make their early experience as positive as possible. The DjangoGirls Coaching Guidelines, Tips & Tricks are an excellent practical reference for anyone organizing or assisting with sprints.
  • Remember, onboarding beginners is the best way to grow the contributor base for your project.
  • People new to coding will have questions about development environments, code editors, GitHub, the command line, and the other tools of the trade. It may be useful to dedicate people specifically to helping new folks get up and running and get past any snags that they encounter.
  • If beginners can’t get things to work with your contributor documentation, that documentation may need improvement. Consider a sprint as a rare opportunity to test the quality of your new contributor documentation “in production.” Changes to documentation can be a great first PR for a new developer.

Details about announcing your sprints will be made available at the conference. Happy Sprinting and we look forward to seeing you at DjangoCon US!