Maintainers of open source projects will benefit from understanding how to improve their contributor base, handle conflicts, communicate effectively, develop roadmaps, and recruit financial sponsors.
|Article title||Maintainer Guides: Spending, Succession, and More|
|Focus||Project management and Sustainability|
Sumana Harihareswara (BSSw Honorable Mention 2020) has created a series of Open Source Maintainer Guides that are tailored to help new maintainers acquire essential skills. The guides consist of six resource documents that cover various topics such as Recruiting Financial Sponsors; Deciding How to Use Your Project's Money; Marketing, Publicity, Roadmaps, and Communications; Growing Your Contributor Base; Handling Burnout and Career Planning; and Promoting Maintainers and Handling Conflict.
The collection of guides explores particularly difficult situational examples to help new maintainers sidestep problems. The Recruiting Financial Sponsors guide stresses the need to diversify funding sources for open source projects to ensure their sustainability. This guide suggests various approaches for identifying potential corporate sponsors, including taking an inventory of current sponsors and project needs, crafting a compelling sponsorship proposal, reaching out proactively to potential sponsors, seeking organizations with aligned missions, and leveraging social media platforms. The guide on Deciding on How to Use Your Money provides open source maintainers with practical advice on budget planning that incorporates analysis of many possible future paths. The Growing Your Contributors short guide offers insights and strategies for open source maintainers to expand and diversify their contributor base by fostering an inclusive and welcoming community. The Marketing, Publicity, Roadmaps, and Communication guide provides guidance on how to think about how to talk about your project, reflect on who your audience is, and how to develop a roadmap and communicate efficiently with your audience. The Handling Burnout and Career Planning guide offers practical advice and resources to help open source maintainers manage burnout, worst-case situations when maintainers leave, how to minimize disasters, prioritize self-care, develop concrete steps towards maintainer succession, and have a sustainable career path in the context of their open source contributions.
This collection shows that the work of maintainers goes well beyond coding tasks. It is beneficial reading.