Community Leadership as Core Open Source Competency

David Eaves thinks that community leadership is *the* core, make-or-break competency of an open-source software project. I agree.

He shares a story that illustrates a pattern I’ve rarely seen in the Plone community, and hope to continue not seeing. 😉

One of the key ideas I’m interested in pushing is how “open” open
source communities are – and how they can make themselves easier to
join. I actually had an interesting experience while at FSOSS that
highlighted how subtle this challenge can be.

During one of the lunch breaks Mark Surman and I ran a Birds of a Feather
session on Community Management as the Core Competency of Open Source
Communities. In the lead up to the session, a leader of a prominent
open source community (I knew this because it said so on his name tag)
walked up to me and asked:

“Are you running this BoF?” (Birds of a Feather)

Not being hip to the lingo I replied… “What’s a BoF? I’m not super techie so I don’t know all the terms.”

To which he replied “Evidently.” and walked away.

And thus ended my first contact with this particular open source
community. With its titular leader nonetheless. Needless to say, it
didn’t leave a positive impression.

The lesson:

At some point everyone has to have a first contact with a community –
that first impression may be a strong determinant about where they
volunteer their time and contribute their free labour. Any good
open-source community will probably want to get it right.