2022-10-14 Empowering teams in the Nix ecosystem - meeting notes

Attendees: @ron @domenkozar @garbas @regnat @fricklerhandwerk @edolstra @grahamc @lheckemann
Host/Moderating: @ron
Notes: @fricklerhandwerk

Draft announcement: Post Draft - Empowering Nix Teams - Google Docs


  • brainstorming: team leads’ thoughts on empowering the Nix teams
  • brainstorming: what we can do better as the foundation to support teams?
  • brief review of goals (suggesting at the end to minimize any bias)
  • review and edit of document (probably no time for that though)


Brainstorm requirements

  • @garbas let’s try to make the most effect for the least effort
    • as a community we’re good with technical things. we don’t need help with infrastructure and such. but we need technical writers, design, …
      • no need to get fancy about it, just the bare minimum
    • @ron yes, let’s do gap analysis - recognize the needs of the team at the level of the people (design, writing, project management)
    • @fricklerhandwerk specifically also looking at project “management”, how to run things, setting goals, planning, how to go about execution
      • how to run meetings effectively!
    • sprints should happen regularly, such as @domenkozar is doing with OceanSprint
      • should be on the official calendars
      • @edolstra foundation could help with funding
      • @ron potentially add this into after NixCon
  • @lheckemann we’re not representative of the Nix community: we’re all paid to do work on Nix, that’s not the case for most other people
    • makes it much harder for those to travel or take time
    • @ron yes, have to look into how to support or incentivize volunteers
      • encouraging to get together for a few weekends, set up some structure
    • @domenkozar there are many highly motivated people, students mostly, who need financial support for transport and accomodation
      • by experience they will quickly transition into jobs around the ecosystem once they get a foot in the door
  • @fricklerhandwerk existence and proceedings of teams should be transparent so that everyone knows what’s happening. should help with working together.
    • What are key goals in places in the community so that others can work on it if they’d like?
    • Where are we going (goals) and how do we get there (roadmap)?
      • example: we want complete correct reference documentation - how do we do that? it has a lot of dependent tasks and sub-goals. getting this bigger picture is critical to get started on the work
    • @garbas this sounds like running a company. don’t think that would work, because while priorities are important, people will still work on what they think is most important
      • the group should align on the general direction first
      • @ron priorities are only ever a suggestion
        • @fricklerhandwerk yes, what I’m talking about is (providing help to) breaking down the steps needed to achieve the high-level goals
          • it should be trivial for anyone, especially volunteers, to pick up tasks on the way towards these goals. right now it takes most of the time to figure out what’s even the next step to do
  • @garbas have to formalize what a team is. to form a team, you should answer some questions:
    • what are the goals?
    • what is the scope of what you’re working on?
    • what are the available resources?
  • @garbas also some rules for accountability:
    • write meeting notes
    • @tomberek - quarterly plans that give a clearer definition of what the team is working on will be very helpful
    • @garbas teams could receive feedback from the board to help calibrating themselves
  • @tomberek some of our working groups have fallen apart due to the lack of a clear goal and then plan, it should be supported even externally to help them set it
    • Maybe what’s missing is that capability to “say no”, in order to create a reasonably accomplishable list. Less of 10 people working on 10 things and more of 10 people working on 2 things
    • @fricklerhandwerk we need to recognize what we want to achieve and then systematically identify the “blockers”, those are the things we need to prioritize and get done first
    • @edolstra There are ways to accomplish these things
    • @fricklerhandwerk should help define what’s the minimum in order to unblock progress and people
    • @garbas leading by example, give the community good ideas to steal
    • @fricklerhandwerk will work on giving an example in my NixCon talk
    • @domenkozar think about things that unlock other things
      • have to build a culture of how to do things
        • e.g. write tests before making pull request, fix errors before adding features, etc.
    • @ron creating a Nix wide knowledge base of best practices and templates to help folks kickstart
      • @fricklerhandwerk yes, this is what the foundation board could (and should) help with concretely. make a collection of things to take care of when running a team (list of resources, time required to read them)
        • how to…
          • run meetings
          • write meeting notes
          • set goals
          • make roadmaps
          • estimate effort
          • ask for or get funding
          • manage (time) budget
          • delegate work
          • solicit contributions
          • write a report
        • this can be maintained collaboratively in an incremental fashion once this is set up
          • that work is out of scope for team leads (and super boring, in a sense), this is why we need support
  • @fricklerhandwerk set up a code of conduct for the community
    • absolutely important for enabling non-white-male volunteers, and doesn’t have to be a lot of work (modulo bikeshedding)

Review announcement draft

  • @garbas response time: what to respond to?
    • @fricklerhandwerk what problem does it solve?
      • @regnat to make sure the team doesn’t disappear
      • @ron like SLAs, to assert some level of commitment
        • how to create a structure around escalation?
      • this should be more general such that each team can tailor it to their purpose
  • @garbas each team should have write access to the shared calenadar
    • improve discoverability
    • @fricklerhandwerk for all the resources actually: which priviliges do they need, which communication channels do they use?
      • all of that should be part of the team’s “data sheet” (on the website or whatever)
  • @ron let’s focus on critical teams’ responsibilities and what the board can provide them with
    • @fricklerhandwerk what defines a critical team except that when they stop working the project is endangered? what does that mean concretely? what else except infrastructure?
      • @domenkozar things like community integrity. there are communities with trade mark wars, so maybe marketing
  • @ron closing thoughts?
    • @garbas thank you very much for what you’re doing
      • @fricklerhandwerk fully agree, thanks a lot, this is invaluable for the project and community
    • @domenkozar this is a multi-year effort we’re setting up, it will take time to take shape
1 Like

FYSA, I plan on bringing styx into a shape where you can manage teams “with nix”.

No promises, no timeline. Just fysa.

But let me know if it’s worthwhile to set forth a roadmap and delegate / solicit contributions.