Open Source Sustainability/Reports/All projects meeting survey (2017)

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Executive Summary

The goal of the All-projects Meeting survey was to determine what kind of cross-project collaboration would be most beneficial to project leads.

The survey ran from 28 February to 3 March and received responses from 13 of the 18 NumFOCUS member projects (72.2%).

Key takeaways from the survey include:

  • Project leads would find it valuable to have a quarterly online meeting, conducted over video teleconference and an annual or semiannual in-person meeting.
  • There is interest from some project leads in opening up meeting attendance to a wider audience of all interested project contributors, or perhaps even the general public. There is even greater interest in communicating the results or proceeds of meetings to a wider audience, such as all project contributors and the general public.
  • There is a general consensus that all-projects meetings should facilitate:
    • knowledge share,
    • collaboration towards shared resources, and
    • multi-way communication between and amongst NumFOCUS and member projects.
  • There is a general consensus that the meeting format should support:
    • timely, structured updates from projects and NumFOCUS staff,
    • discussion about relevant topics, and
    • decision-making as needed.
  • Top topics project leads are interested in seeing addressed are:
    • Funding (fundraising, grant writing, etc.)
    • Contributor outreach and on-boarding
    • Governance
    • Infrastructure and shared resources
    • User outreach and on-boarding
    • Building industry relationships
    • Development best practices
    • Metrics and analytics

Response details

The survey received 18 responses out of roughly 30 individual project leads who are members of projects@numfocus.org list representing 13 of the 18 member projects (72.2%).

Projects represented in the results are: FEniCS, Stan, yt project, PyMC3, matplotlib, NumPy, pandas, Software Carpentry, AstroPy, IPython/Jupyter, Data Carpentry, and rOpenSci.

How important is a having regular meeting of NumFOCUS projects to you? and What is the ideal frequency for an all-projects meeting?

Remote (online) meeting:

  • 66.7% indicated somewhat important
  • 22% indicated very important
  • strong preference for quarterly (72%)

Takeaway: Experiment with a quarterly on-line meeting.

Next steps: Christie will lead the organization of an all-projects online meeting, with the first one happening in Q2.

In-person meeting:

  • 44% indicated somewhat important
  • 39% indicated very important
  • nearly unanimous feedback that an in-person meeting should should occur annually

Note: In the comments section of the survey, two people suggested twice a year.

Takeaway: Continue with an annual in-person meeting (such as at the NumFOCUS Summit), and consider growing the meeting to be twice a year.

Next steps: Christie to coordinate with NumFOCUS staff to incorporate an all-projects gathering into this year’s NumFOCUS Summit.

What are your preferred channels for a REMOTE/ONLINE all-projects meeting?

All respondents said they preferred video as the method for online meetings. 33% indicated Skype would also work, and 22% indicated chat.

Takeaway: Video teleconference for online meetings is working for project leads. We should revisit this assessment if the meeting is open to a larger audience such as all project contributors.

To whom should all-projects meetings be open?

  • 50% indicated project leads and contributors
  • 38.9% indicated project leads only
  • 11.1 % indicated everyone

Takeaway: There's a shared desire to make cross-project collaboration open to contributors, but we need to balance that with needs of project leads who want a more private attendance.

To whom should the all-projects meeting notes and/or recordings be made available?

  • 61.1% indicated everyone
  • 22.2% indicated project leads and contributors
  • 16.7% indicated project leads only

Takeaway: Many leads want to share information about our collaborative work widely. A few are more reserved.

Next step: Explore ways to share different versions of meeting notes and outcomes, prepared with the different key audiences in mind.

What would you like to accomplish at an all-projects meeting?

Top topics (those with >50% responses):

  • 88.9% Identify areas where resources and knowledge can be shared across projects.
  • 83.3% Make decisions about building and enhancing shared resources.
  • 66.7% Learn what other projects are working on.
  • 55.6% Learn what NumFOCUS staff is working on.
  • 55.6% Provide constructive feedback to NumFOCUS staff.

Takeaway: There is a general consensus that all-projects meetings be used for knowledge share, collaboration towards shared resources, and multi-way communication between and amongst NumFOCUS and member projects.

Note: “Learning and practicing skills related to sustainability and leading of my project(s).” was also important to many project leads, coming in at 50%. There will be at least some time spent at our next in-person meeting to provide focused skill-building related to sustainability.

What format would you prefer for an all-projects meeting?

  • 72.2% indicated Round-table discussion about relevant, timely topics.
  • 72.2% indicated Brief updates from project leads about their projects.
  • 72.2% indicated Brief updates from NumFOCUS staff about their work.
  • 50% indicated Facilitated decision-making about how to build or enhance shared resources.

Takeaway: Meeting format should focus on timely, structured updates from projects and NumFOCUS staff, discussion about relevant topics, and decision-making as needed.

What topics would you like to see addressed (over time) during all-projects meetings?

Top responses (>50%):

  • 83.3% Funding (fundraising, grant writing, etc.)
  • 77.8% Contributor outreach and on-boarding
  • 72.2% Governance
  • 72.2% Infrastructure and shared resources
  • 66.7% User outreach and on-boarding
  • 61.1% Building industry relationships
  • 55.6% Development best practices
  • 55.6% Metrics and analytics

Takeaway: Prioritize these topics while developing skill-building plans.