Lessons Learned from Cultivating Open Source Projects and Communities

Over the last decade, I’ve had the privilege professionally of building and cultivating some Open Source projects and communities. To start off this isn’t a tools talk, this is a talk about the soft skills you have to have to be able to succeed as a leader in an Open Source project. My journey started tending the frequently asked questions for a small Linux Distribution called CRUX, and then years later professionally moved to the OpenStack-Chef project to build OpenStack clouds. I’ve grown other projects along the way, helped build tooling and communities, some successful and still running today, others were just flashes in the pan. I’ve learned a ton on this journey; honestly still am, but I have some lessons that are hard-learned and hopefully I warn pitfalls that can cause wasted cycles and pain. I’ll be going over:

  • Outline
  • This isn’t a tools talk
  • Scoping your project
  • Personally-backed
  • Corporate-backed
  • Empathy and audience is important
  • Celebrations
  • Defeats
  • Successful traits of Open Source projects
  • Trust
  • Clear Vision
  • Have a plan to move on if needed
  • Honestly, is it even worth this hassle?"



JJ Asghar

JJ works as a Developer Advocate representing the IBM Cloud all over the world. He mainly focuses on the IBM Kubernetes Service and OpenShift trying to make companies and users have a successful ...