Collaborative software building has its own special challenges: globally distributed teams, stakeholders who are coming from very different perspectives, and often a mix of paid and volunteer contributors. The good news is that there are lots of ways to improve a team’s communications and collective goal-setting as well as solid and reproducible ways to set expectations and build accountability without getting lost in the wilderness. The bad news is that it rarely works the way you expect because people are complicated and sometimes there are pockets of quicksand that no one warned you about.
Drawing on their deep experience with building both internal and external teams composed of a combination of different skillsets, seniority, and goals, VM Brasseur and Deb Nicholson share a map to productive, happy teams, covering setting the tone, nuts and bolts, ideas for troubleshooting, and where to learn more. You’ll leave with immediately actionable strategies for how to orient new team members, navigate thorny situations, and surmount communication challenges.
VM (ak Vicky) spent most of her 20 years in the tech industry leading software development departments and teams, and providing technical management and leadership consulting for small and medium businesses. Now she leverages nearly 30 years of free and open source software experience and a strong business background to advise companies about free/open source, technology, community, business, and the intersections between them.
She is the author of Forge Your Future with Open Source, the first book to detail how to contribute to free and open source software projects. Think of it as the missing manual of open source contributions and community participation. The book is published by The Pragmatic Programmers and is now available at https://fossforge.com.
Vicky is the proud winner of the Perl White Camel Award (2014) and the O’Reilly Open Source Award (2016). She’s a moderator and author for opensource.com, a board member for the Open Source Initiative , and a frequent and popular speaker at free/open source conferences and events. She frequently blog about free/open source, business, and technical management at http://anonymoushash.vmbrasseur.com.
Deb Nicholson is the community outreach director for the Open Invention Network—the defensive patent pool built to protect Linux projects. She is also the community manager for GNU MediaGoblin, a brand-new federated media hosting program. Deb works at the intersection of technology and social justice. She has over 15 years of nonprofit management experience and got involved in the free software movement about five years ago when she started working for the Free Software Foundation. In her spare time, Deb serves on the board of OpenHatch, a small nonprofit dedicated to identifying and mentoring new free software contributors, with a particular interest in building a more diverse free software movement.
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