Open Source Sustainability/Roadmap

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Roadmap, organized by quarter, then month. I'l update this roadmap regularly.

Areas of work

My work as Project Director is organized into give (5) main areas:

  • Communication with and among projects.
  • Relationship-building w/ industry.
  • Skill building & curriculum development.
  • Metrics and reporting.
  • External outreach.

Communication with and among projects [PC] includes one-on-one communication and relationship-building between myself and individual project leads, as well as intra-project communication and resource-sharing.

Relationship-building w/ industry [RB] includes: a) collaboratively developing "marketing" materials for use in outreach to potential and current industry supporters of NumFOCUS projects, b) relationship-building activities (e.g. networking, introductions, conference participation, etc.), and c) market research (e.g. determining which industries and organizations are ideal audiences for NumFOCUS projects).

Skill-building and curriculum development [SB] will focus on on biz dev, sustainability, and other areas of concern as identified by project leads.

Metrics and reporting [MR] focus on identifying metrics related to project activity, engagement, and sustainability factors and implementing collection and reporting on those metrics so that we can track how we're doing over time.

External outreach [EO] includes summarizing and communicating sustainability program efforts and results to interested audiences external to NumFOCUS. This work is done in coordination with NumFOCUS Communications and Events directors.




Goal: Create and deliver roadmap for Q1-Q2 2017.

Metric(s): 1) Roadmap should include clear goals, at least one for each work area, as well as "success metrics" for each goal which make it clear whether the goal has been achieved, 2) Roadmap should reflect feedback from project leads, board of directors, advisory council, sustainability board, and NumFOCUS staff.

Project Communication

Goal: Establish regular, on-going, meaningful communication with and between project leads.

Metric(s): 1) Established dialog with at least one lead from each NumFOCUS sponsored project. 2) Facilitated at least one intra-project call with attendance by at least 30% of project leads. 3) Incorporated feedback from project leads in deliverables of other Q1 goals.


Goal: Create preliminary plan for developing industry-focused outreach materials and processes for use by projects.

Metric(s): 1) Plan reflects relevant and prioritized concerns of project leads (as demonstrated via feedback from those leads), 2) Plan reflects an orientation that will be of interest to target industry audiences (as determined by sustainability board and other advisors).


Goal: Create preliminary a plan for skill building and curriculum development.

Metric(s): 1) Plan reflects relevant and prioritized concerns of project leads (as demonstrated by feedback from those leads), 2) Plan identifies areas where third-party support and/or expertise is needed and indicates where and how much financial support is needed, 3) Plan makes efficient use of project and organizational resources, incorporating and leveraging existing events, materials, and infrastructure where appropriate, 4) Plan includes progress towards development of OSNAP kit.

Metrics and reporting

Goal: Identify preliminary set of relevant metrics for tracking progress towards "sustainability" overtime and deliver a plan for collecting and reporting on those metrics.

Metric(s): 1) Chosen metrics should reflect feedback from project leads, board of directors, advisory council, and sustainability board, 2) Chosen metrics should be ones that can be measured or observed without on-going, burdensome effort on the part of project leads or NumFOCUS staff, 3) Metrics and reporting mechanism should be chosen such that reporting can be completed on at least a quarterly basis and that the first reporting can be completed by the end of Q2.

External outreach

Goal: Develop, with the Communications Director, an overall external outreach program plan and calendar.

Metric(s): 1) Plan identifies priority NumFOCUS audiences and includes an effective means of reaching them, 2) Plan outlines a process for collecting relevant news and other content from projects for dissemination in an efficient and timely manner, 3) Plan utilizes existing NumFOCUS communication channels and identifies areas for improvement or expansion, 4) Plan includes a process for synthesizing and highlighting the value and impact of work across NumFOCUS projects, including that of the sustainability program.

February milestones

  • [META] On track Draft Q1-Q2 2017 roadmap, circulated for feedback and revised as needed.
  • [META] Complete Established communication with NumFOCUS board of directors, staff, advisory council, and sustainability board.
  • [META] Complete Complete usual on-boarding tasks (new hire paperwork, meet staff and stakeholders, setup accounts, etc.)
  • [PC] Complete Get to know projects. Review each NumFOCUS sponsored project and document how they work. Note similarities and differences, potential gaps, etc. Documentation
  • [PC] On track Established communication with and between project leads.

Note: I moved some milestones to March to accommodate February being a short month, the President's day holiday, and jury duty.


  • Cancelled due to illness SIAM (In person intros to some project leads, learn about existing sustainability efforts)

March milestones

  • [PC] On track One-on-one with at least one lead from each of sponsored projects.
  • [PC] On track Survey project leads about all-project meeting needs.
  • [RB] List of existing outreach channels and materials (including "talking points" about NF).
  • [SB] Preliminary list of learning objectives.
  • [MR] Preliminary plan and discussion for activity metrics and reporting.
  • [EO] Preliminary communications plan.




April milestones

  • [PC] Plan for holding all-projects meeting based on feedback from survey and project leads 1:1s.
  • [RB] Coordinate response to NSF RFI CI 2030 (Due: 5 April)
  • [RB] Documentation that identifies gaps existing outreach resources and channels and outlines a preliminary plan for closing gaps.
  • [SB] Revised list of learning objectives based on feedback from project leads and others.
  • [SB] Plan for deploying curricula to meet identified learning objectives throughout rest of 2017.
  • [MR] Revised proposal of relevant metrics and possible collection and reporting mechanisms based on feedback.
  • [EO] Revised communication plan based on feedback.
  • [EO] First public update regarding Sustainability program (form TBD).


May milestones


June milestones




July milestones


August milestones


September milestones




October milestones


November milestones


December milestones


random questions

  • current funding streams?
  • funding streams that are possible under 501(c)(3) structure?
  • funding streams that are palatable to the board? to the projects?
  • what modes of communication get through to those working in industry who control budgets and can authorize $$?

details from grant

  • skill-building among project leadership, focusing on sustainability, business development, fundraising
  • increase awareness in academic and industry about importance of supporting project efforts
  • relationship-building between projects and industry
  • improve intra-project communication and resource-sharing

"We therefore conducted an informal survey of the projects, and found that they are interested in increased communication between the projects, opportunities for training and direction on what to learn, support in building business plans and help with networking outside of academic and open source communities."

"This project aims to

1) connect the NumFOCUS Projects to each other to jointly develop and share information on sustainability strategies,

2) connect Project leads with people with relevant expertise and networks, including a Projects Director to be hired on this project and an Advisory Board,

3) provide training on business and financial planning, marketing strategies and effective communication,

4) develop and disseminate an Open Source Projects Guide to fundraising and project management and

5) support infrastructure that would help the Projects more effectively manage finances and client and business relationships. "

deliverables mentioned in grant

  • business boot camp workshop (annual)
  • online distribution of materials from workshop
  • Open Source Nurturing and Actionable Practices Kit (OSNAP kit)

Responsibilities (from job description):

  • Organize a ‘business boot camp’ workshop, coach project leads and lead an Advisory Board for these business development efforts
  • Develop business and financial plans, improve communication, build industry relationships, and broadly develop strategies for fostering these relationships.
  • Lead efforts to identify skills and perspectives that Open Source Project leads need to establish sustainability models and seek opportunities for funding
  • Using materials from workshops and other resources, develop and disseminate an Open Source Nurturing and Actionable Practices Kit (OSNAP Kit) to provide guidance to open source projects outside of NumFOCUS
  • Establish assessment strategies to measure impact and help NumFOCUS open-source projects develop industry relationships